‘That’s a future me problem’. Have you ever thought that to yourself? It’s a common thing that we all do. We tend to always care less about future you than the current you, which can lead to negative consequences.
This is a problem that affects everyone. For example, it is why 13% of Australian’s still smoke, as it is a problem for tomorrow. Also surprisingly, 40% of Australians have no idea how much money they have saved for future them in their superannuation, and 1 in 4 Raiz users have four or more Super funds, eroding away their money through extra sets of fees and maybe ineffective insurances.
Before online superannuation products came out, it would take hours to sort this all out, or cost thousands if you asked a financial planner. However, today it can be done in a few minutes. So by taking just a few minutes today to sort out your future, this can potentially save you a life changing amount for tomorrow. Yet most of us don’t and won’t do this. But why don’t we care about future us?
The most famous case is the Marshmallow experiment.
In it, researches gave children some marshmallows. The choice was simple: one treat right now or two treats later. They had the option to either eat them straight away or wait for the researcher to come back in 15 minutes and then they’d get double the marshmallows.
Only a few kids managed to wait until the researchers came back to be rewarded with two treats. Researchers have since tried to uncover the reasons behind why we care less about the future you vs. present you:
1. You see future you as a foreign person.
Several studies have revealed that we often treat our future selves like complete strangers. This is the main reason you may struggle to save money or can’t choose the healthy salad despite promising yourself to be on a diet this week.
The good news is that by getting better connected with future you, you can make better choices in the now and later, such as creating a Savings Goal or actively showing your future funds to the present you.
2. Our brains are hardwired to not think about our future you.
Studies have also found that thinking about your current self triggers different brain regions than when thinking about your future self. Thinking about future you actually activates the same areas of the brain as when we think about other people. This means our brain transmits present and future consequences to different parts of your brain. While you may know the benefits of helping future you now, you are unlikely to feel it.
One way to train yourself in changing this is by linking present goals with future ones. For example, by seeing both your short-term savings goal and superannuation in the one place, this will allow you to better link and recognise your present self with your future consequences and rewards.
3. We prefer definite over indefinite options.
Is there a guarantee there’s really going to be double the number of marshmallows if we wait? Earlier studies showed there are many situations in which children can’t be certain that they would receive the delayed outcome. However, as we develop into adults, this is a thinking pattern we can learn to be aware of. Think in certainty. For example, while the time of your retirement can feel indefinite, it is certain that sorting out your superannuation now will allow you the best possible outcome for your retirement later.
By being self-aware of how you can help future you, this will mean a better outcome for both of your selves today and tomorrow!
Feel more connected to your future now by exploring ‘Raiz Super’ in Raiz App today 🙂
Remember: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.”
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