There are few experiments as adorable as the Marshmallow Test but it’s also telling about the part of our psyche that determines our spending habits. The children are given a marshmallow and told that if they don’t eat it until the lady comes back they can then have two marshmallows. Each child is left to grapple with their self control for three minutes. Some eat the marshmallow straight away, some smell the marshmallow and squirm miserably the entire time and others sit calmly and patiently, awaiting their double reward.
The experiment is about gratification now versus gratification in the future and it’s something that we all deal with. It has nothing to do with intelligence but can determine whether we are a “saver” or a “spender”.
In a study recently, 59 children from a Marshmallow Test performed in the 60s were tested as adults whilst being scanned by an MRi machine. Scientists found that two regions of the brain were stimulated when making a decision about having less now or more later. Impulsive people (spenders) brains were strongly stimulated in these two regions of the brain when considering the reward now but that stimulation was significantly reduced when thinking about the larger reward in the future. Whereas, the brain stimulation was the same for the savers when considering each option.
Even though the way you think is fundamentally different when choosing to save or spend that doesn’t mean spenders can’t save. Your brain isn’t hard wired that way and through a little determination you can change the way you think. There are lots of techniques you can use to help you. For example, creating a budget plan as well as deciding in advance how much money you can spend for the week and making only that much available to you.
If you would like more help on tailoring a saving plan please contact us and we can help you out!
The information in this document reflects our understanding of existing legislation, proposed legislation, rulings etc as at the date of issue. In some cases the information has been provided to us by third parties. While it is believed the information is accurate and reliable, this is not guaranteed in any way. Any advice in this publication is of a general nature only and has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. Please seek personal advice prior to acting on this information.