For many people, saving money isn’t just difficult; it’s a foreign concept. A recent study found that 58% of Americans do not have a formal retirement plan in place.¹ Why is even thinking about saving money so daunting to so many of us?
We spoke with Dan Ariely, professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. He says that many people have difficulty saving their income because our minds and our environments are not naturally suited to thinking about money in the long term. In fact, our minds are not very good at thinking about the concept of money at all. To make it easier, he says, we need to change our environments in such a way that saving money happens automatically and we never even have to think about it.
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¹“According to Deloitte’s Retirement Survey, a majority of Americans — 58 percent — do not have a formal retirement savings and income plan in place.”