It's easy to berate someone about why they should save more money. We've all heard about millennials' catastrophic rates of saving for retirement, why we need emergency funds, and how we need to think about paying down debt. It's usually framed as a matter of personal responsibility, mixed in with some deserved gripes about the economy. We've got another problem on our hands, though: Our brains are not equipped to prioritize saving.
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That's according to new research just published by Cornell University. Neuroscientists there have found that human brains have a bias toward earning that's much stronger than their bias toward saving. The short version is that our brains devote fewer resources to saving tasks and activities, because earning is a big and more immediate payoff.
The good news is that we have options for overcoming this. For one, saving is a skill that can be learned like any other, and it becomes easier and more natural the more you do it. "It's practicing attention and intention to save, to strengthen the value of it for your brain," said co-author Adam Anderson in a press release. "It's not the amount of dollars that matters."
That leads to the second good part, which is that all kinds of apps and programs have sprung up to automate the saving process and help you integrate it into your financial routines. Talk to a financial advisor if you want to get serious now about setting yourself up for success. You owe it to your brain to show it who's really boss.