What’s Your Role In Your Financial Outcomes?

If you are a consumer of personal finance content like I am, you have by now undoubtedly heard one commentator or another derisively dismiss the idea of even mentioning the long-term cost of a daily Starbucks trip. They don’t want to hear about it—it’s a trope to be ignored. And this derision is coming from otherwise competent and professional personal finance sources. This phenomenon got me thinking: what’s going on here? Surely Commentator X …
I recently had a conversation with my teenage daughter where we had reason to consider the financial situation of an elderly couple that are family friends. My daughter became aware that this family had an (undisclosed) amount of money to live on for the rest of their lives, and that was it. She made an off-hand remark that “they have that amount of money to live on, and that’s it? That would stink.” This …
Let’s Agree to Disagree Agreeableness is a personality trait that is often overlooked or misunderstood when managing our financial lives. The field of personality psychology generally recognizes five primary personality traits that are understood to form the basic foundation of individual personality (often referred to as “the Big Five” or “OCEAN model”). These include openness to experience, extroversion, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and agreeableness. Here we take a closer look at the last trait, agreeableness. We …
What is a swim meet? Maybe you’ve never been to one, but I’ll bet that you have a concept in your head for what a swim meet is like. It may not be accurate or have been created from any direct experience, but you have some idea, or schema, for what a swim meet includes and doesn’t include. You’re probably thinking of a pool, swimmers, timers, lane ropes, and cheering. Your concept of a swim …
Our latest financial psychology term describes how we can sometimes fall prey to errors in decision-making about others. The American Psychological Association defines fundamental attribution error this way: the tendency to overestimate the degree to which an individual’s behavior is determined by his or her abiding personal characteristics, attitudes, or beliefs and, correspondingly, to minimize the influence of the surrounding situation on that behavior (e.g., financial or social pressures). Your neighbor who is still unemployed …

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