Category: Research Highlights (Page 1 of 2)

The Money Moose Survey

The Money Moose Survey!

Alright, friends! The time has come! Drumroll, please….

Introducing, the Money Moose Survey!

How You Can Help Me:

  1. Go and Take the Survey. It will take 5-10 minutes. Be honest in your responses.
  2. Make all spouse/significant others/random dinner guests take the survey. Don’t discuss its contents, just set it in front of them and say: “While I whip up dessert, I have an important study I would like you to participate in.”
  3. Share with your blogger and personal audiences. If you are a blogger, share the link and say something like: “A large-scale study about money! Help a sister out!” When you post it on your personal Facebook/Twitter feed say: “My good friend Maggie [because I consider you a friend if you are here reading this blog… I mean, you know more about me than most of my Facebook friends!] is doing a large-scale research project. Please take 5-10 minutes of your time to participate.”
  4. Post the link in public bathrooms. Bribe people. Withhold Christmas cookies until they take the survey. *Ahem* I’m sorry. I got a bit carried away there… I don’t want anyone to be forced… (am I coming off as desperate?)

The link to share is:

http://www.moneymoose.space

(please note it is .space, not .com … who wouldn’t want to click on that?!) Again, please don’t discuss the survey contents. You can say it’s about money (I put it right in the title!) but please leave the rest hidden. I don’t want to skew results by having people think about the answers before they take the survey.

Challenge: Share it far. Share it wide. Can we get 500 responses before I return on January 9? I’ll let you know how many we have when I return.

HAPPY HAPPY HOLIDAYS FRIENDS! You are all the greatest. Seriously. I’m thankful for you! And I’ll see you Next Year!

Kindness

On Kindness

Did you know that the incidence of psychopathy in CEOs is 4 times that of the general population? Apparently a lack of empathy and kindness is great material for climbing the ladder all the way to the top!

I’m a firm believer that your selfish vs. altruistic mindsets are firmly cemented the more actions you make. For example, if we spend all of our working years actively chasing early retirement and choosing not to give (after all, one donation could mean 2 weeks/months/years more work!), we’re not going to one day wake up and decide the time is right to start giving. On the flip side, if we get into the habit now of charitable giving, it will become a habit and doing good with money won’t be difficult later.

Just as I think giving money is a habit, kindness is also a habit. Kindness may not make you rich, but it will definitely enrich your journey. Today, I want to make a case for being kind. There is enough rhetoric in the world about how to be cut-throat, ruthless, step on the little guy to get a leg-up, and not looking down on your way to the top. The world doesn’t need more of that. And if that’s the requirement for being successful, I’m happy to be a failure.

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retire now

The State of Retirement in the U.S. in 2016

It’s sad.

<End of post.>

Alright, alright. I’ll get into details if I must. First, the good news:

According to the 2016 Retirement Confidence Survey published by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, people are starting to move out of their recession fears. The percentage of workers “very confident” in having enough to retire, went up from 13% in 2013 to 22% in 2015. This year it went down slightly to 21%, but overall, people are feeling a bit more confident in these insane market days.

The question is: Should they feel this confident?

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Status quo coin flip

Status Quo Bias and the Coin Flip

I have had the same haircut forever (a simple, A-line bob if you really wanted to know). When I go to cut my hair, I think: “I’m going to do something different!” but then I go do the exact same thing. This is an example of status quo bias. We like things to be the same and any deviation from that point is considered a loss. What if I hate my hair? What if the guy who is running against the incumbent is going to be worse than that guy? What if I quit my job and regret it? It’s easier to stay the same. 

Flashback 12 years ago: I’m on a study abroad in London and the Vidal Sassoon Salon is offering free haircuts if you’re willing to get anything. YES! This is my chance to be crazy! I walk in. Every single person has crazy hair. My own guy has a tight Afro with ringlets hanging off of it like a disco ball. It was amazing. I wonder what I’ll get!

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Our brains think brand names taste better than generics

The Brand Name Deception

You should avoid most name brands and go straight for the generic.

There, I said it. Post over.  …If only it were that easy. The fact is, we all know that we are deceived by a name brand. We know we shouldn’t get addicted to the brand, but we do anyway!

Penny’s annual science fair was this month. As I was perusing the other boards, I came across this one:

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money and death

Breaking Research: Live Rich or Die Young

You’ve probably already seen the news about this study, but as a behavioral economics researcher by day and a personal finance blogger by night, I can’t ignore it here. Published on Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association was the paper titled The Association Between Income and Life Expectancy in the United States, 2001-2014. First off, let me address the large scale of this study. It’s amazing. I mean, how does one go about getting “tax records for every individual [with a social security number] for every year from 1999 through 2014”?! That’s crazy! The sample size: 1, 408, 287, 218 person-year observations – no that’s not a typo! They also looked at specific geographic areas and if someone moved after 63, they counted their area as the place they were living at age 61 while working (they’ve seemingly thought of everything!). So let’s get to the findings:

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How Parents and Significant Others Impact Student Finances

On Monday, we discussed how people are sometimes dumb with money and love, but it’s not all bad news. Today, we highlight research that shows love can positively influence our finances. The first study, published in December 2015, followed 693 University of Arizona students. The (mostly white, female) students were extensively surveyed toward the beginning of college (ages 18-21) and then again toward the end (ages 21-24). The 693 study participants were all included because they reported being in a serious, committed relationship at the second survey. The study was trying to figure out the impact parents and romantic partners have on the financial behaviors and attitudes of college students.

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Gratitude: An Antidote for Temporal Discounting?

GRATITUDE AND TEMPORAL DISCOUNTING

Everybody is impatient to some degree. When it comes to money, we want money now. We want to spend money now. This economic impatience is called temporal discounting. In short, temporal discounting means that we value $50 today over $50 tomorrow and it’s one of the main reasons most people don’t have enough money to retire. The ability to overcome temporal discounting would be considered an economic super power! You would be the world’s greatest saver! Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to overcome temporal discounting entirely, but there are ways to lessen its impacts.

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Feature Fatigue: Simple is Better

Technology changes overnight and with these swift advancements comes a plethora of new, useful features. Now your phone can listen to your conversations and remind you about things you mentioned. Your refrigerator can tell you that you’re out of milk. When we go to buy something, we focus on features rather than usability. When I purchased my last smart phone, I bought the one the salesman showed me that had all the neat “tricks.” I didn’t consider how I use my phone (calls, internet, work email, social media, blogging, photography). Instead, I decided it was really important to have a phone that could call someone if I yelled at it and could share a contact by bumping it against another phone (though I have never used either feature). And now my phone is barely hanging on and I wonder if it is because it’s imploding itself on all its cool features. It has so much going on, it’s dying! This phenomenon is called “Feature Fatigue.” It was defined in a 2005 study by the following statement: “Because consumers give more weight to capability and less weight to usability before use than after use, they tend to choose overly complex products that do not maximize their satisfaction when they use them.”

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“That Looks Like a Lot of Work”

As Mr. T and I have been actively DIYing our own windows, hot water heater, attic insulation, etc we’ve heard several versions of the phrase: “That looks like a lot of work.” People are so impressed that we’re willing to work so hard to save some money. As a society, we’ve become programmed to shy away from something that will be hard. The decision between spending two weeks in your crawlspace working on insulation and paying someone $1000 to do it instead seems obvious. The default answer is to spend the money and let someone else do the work. How did we get here?

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