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© 2018-2020 Shake Your Money Tree


I've always been a pretty avid reader. I remember as a kid waiting with bated breath to get to the mall so I could spend hours looking at all the books (Waldenbooks was my absolute fave), just hoping I'd be able to bring one of those sweet smelling blocks of pages with all the promised adventures home with me!


Well, times have changed and now, rather than picking out a book from a bookstore, I either listen to one on my phone or read on a Kindle. But that hasn't changed my love of reading and learning through books.


This past week I had to drive 3 hours to a presentation I was doing, then turn around the following day to make the drive back to the airport. Knowing this ahead of time, I had an audiobook at the ready: "Predictably Irrational" by Dan Ariely.


One of the reasons I love Ariely's books so much is because he is amazing at being able to distill down into layman's terms the research he does on human nature. And what a treat this one was! For example, I learned:

Procrastination is just one of the ways we are Predictably Irrational.

While I don't think I tend to procrastinate much, especially if I've blocked out time in my calendar to work on something (like my blog posts!), I did find this topic of interest in the context of money coaching and why people need to have concrete deadlines for accomplishing financially related tasks and goals.


Come to learn, humans are just built to delay, even when they know it's in their best interest to attack the task.


Here's a snapshot of his research on procrastination.


He segmented a class of students into three groups: 

* Group 1 was given 3 firm deadlines for submitting three papers within the semester

* Group 2 wasn't given any deadlines other than to have their papers submitted by the end of the semester, and

* Group 3 was individually allowed to pick their 3 deadlines for submission throughout the semester, but if they missed even one of their self-imposed deadlines, they would receive a 1% penalty per day on their grade for every day they were late.


Guess which group got the best grades?


I'll admit, I guessed wrong.

I thought for sure the group who was allowed to pick their own deadlines would get the highest grades because, well, didn't they know their schedules and when they did their best work? Nope.


Group 2, the group with the only deadline of submitting their work by the end of the year did the worst. The reality was that they didn’t recognize they would forget or kept procrastinating on writing the papers, and as a result, their work was rushed and badly written.


The group that did the best was Group 1 who had the dictated deadlines! Group 3 did fairly better as well, but only if they individually decided to space out their deadlines, rather than squeezing them all into the last few weeks of the semester.


What does this say about the way we manage trying to hit a money goal, or planning for retirement?


What it says is, even the best of us aren't great at assuming we can control ourselves enough to just wing it. This is why automation works incredibly well when it comes to saving money. The "set-it and forget it" style of forced savings works because we take human-nature out of the equation. We manually establish actions with deadlines for saving money, which then enables us to focus our effort and energy on the other aspects of life that require our attention.


This is also why automatic 401k enrollment increases participation in retirement plan savings accounts.


Another great way to prevent the cycle of procrastination is to enlist the help of a coach - someone who can push you to create goals with deadlines, keep you on track and accountable, and help you confront why you make the decisions you do that negatively impact your ability to be successful with managing your money.


If you're just not sure how Predictably Irrational you're being with money, book a clarity consultation call to learn how coaching could help you instead become Intentionally Rational!


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