May 22: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHEREMay 22, 2023
`”Hyperbolic discounting,” other mental factors block us from saving
Writing for MSNBC, Jasmin Suknanan asks why it’s so easy for most of us to think hard about tomorrow, but less so about the weeks and years that come after that.
“Psychology is often just as important in personal finance as the numbers — the way we save, spend and invest are all influenced by the way we think and feel, especially when it comes to preparing for future events like retirement,” she writes.
We know, she continues, that saving for retirement is important “because you’ll need a nest egg when you’re no longer working. The best way to guarantee an income when you’re in your golden years is to save and invest as much as you can now while you are still working.”
So, we all get it — why don’t we all get going on it? Suknanan points to a number of causes.
First, she writes, we tend not to make too many decisions with the distant future in mind. “It’s easy to feel like retirement is so far into the future and that we have plenty of time before we need to start preparing for it. As a result, many would rather treat themselves to things they can enjoy right now instead of stocking away money for a future that’s decades away,” she notes. This process is called “hyperbolic discounting.”
Simply put, we’d rather spend $5 today than save $10 for next week. Living in the now.
Next, she explains, “it’s easier to do nothing than it is to make a change.”
Even when you know you have to start your retirement savings program (this article is written for a U.S. audience, but here, let’s talk about starting a registered retirement savings plan or Tax Free Savings Account), it is easy to put off actually doing anything, the article tells us.
“’I’ll do it tomorrow’ becomes `I’ll do it this weekend,’ which then becomes `I’ll do it next weekend.’ Before you know it, you’ve gone a month or more and still haven’t opened up your… account. And this doesn’t just occur when it comes to saving for retirement; we’re certainly guilty of repeating this thought process for just about any task — returning a package for a refund, cleaning our room or even cancelling subscriptions and memberships,” she writes.
She notes that opening up a retirement savings account is not some big event that takes days — it can take minutes. As an example, here’s how to sign up for the Saskatchewan Pension Plan (SPP).
The final problem — also a perception-based one — is where we “underestimate how long it will take for us to achieve our desired savings,” Suknanan writes.
“Many people put off saving for retirement until their 30s or 40s thinking that they should be able to amass as much as they’ll need for their golden years in just two decades. But once they factor in their current expenses and financial obligations, they find that it’ll actually take a lot longer than they initially believed to build a comfortable retirement fund,” she explains.
“Saving for retirement is one of the most crucial financial steps you’ll need to take. Taking steps to save today can guarantee you an income in retirement when you’re no longer working,” she concludes.
This is a great article on many levels. Given the fact that the majority of Canadians don’t have a workplace pension plan, the onus for saving for retirement tends to be solely on your own shoulders. Fortunately, the SPP can equip you with all the tools you need to get the job done. Signing up is easy, and you decide how much to contribute. You can automate your contributions via pre-authorized payments, or set up SPP as a bill via online banking. You can even contribute via credit card.
SPP takes those contributions, invests them professionally in a pooled fund at a low cost, grows your nest egg, and helps you convert it to income in those faraway days of retirement. Check out SPP today!
Have you heard the news? Contributing to SPP is now easier than ever. You can now contribute any amount per year up to your available registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) room. And if you are transferring funds in from an RRSP to SPP, there is no longer an annual limit — you can transfer any amount into your SPP nest egg. Saving with SPP is now limitless!
Join the Wealthcare Revolution – follow SPP on Facebook!
Written by Martin Biefer
Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.