Money habits: what they say about us and how they change with age


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Money habits: what they say about us and how they change with age

We spend money differently and differently. It turns out that our preferences in the field of income and expenses can tell a lot about us not only to marketers, but also to psychologists.

Each of us has our own needs, preferences and interests, therefore, we also relate to money in our own way. We have “favorite” categories of spending, and these preferences can tell a lot about our personality traits. But the most amazing thing is that with age, our money habits can change.

Typical spending

The study on the relationship between spending and character traits was attended by about 2 thousand volunteers. Psychologists at University College London studied about 2 million electronic records of participants’ expenses on debit cards and marks on online transactions. The authors also conducted a survey and determined how each participant is inclined to extraversion and introversion, how well he is able to control himself and whether he has neurotic features.

Comparing the data, the researchers revealed a correlation between the categories of expenses and the traits of the respondents. For example, those who were open to new experiences spent more on flights than others. Extroverts did not stint when it came to food. Those whom the researchers considered “pleasant people” were more likely to donate to charity.

Given our personality traits, we can pay close attention to areas where we want to spend more or less

The most conscientious participants cared more than others about their savings. People prone to a materialistic view of the world, more often than others, acquired jewelry. Researchers also found that subjects with advanced self-control spend less on bank commissions. Loan fees were much lower for those respondents who showed neurotic features.

On the one hand, this knowledge can be useful to us ourselves: taking into account our own character traits, we can redistribute funds and pay close attention to areas where we want to spend more or less.

On the other hand, the dissemination of this information can create certain ethical issues. Companies that provide financial services can use it to figure out people with certain personality traits and make them spend more on certain goals. For example, to “bomb” buyers with weak self-control by various mailings and aggressive online advertising.

Does age change everything?

Imagine that you won the lottery and now you need to get a win. What would be preferable for you: to take the lion’s share of the amount immediately or start small, and leave most of the money for later? Your answer may depend on how old you are now, gerontologists from Cornell University (USA) are sure.

Researchers interviewed 300 volunteers of different ages about how they would manage their winnings. As scientists expected, most of the study participants said that they would prefer to take most of the money right away.

However, it turned out that older people more often than young ones planned to make the largest payments in the first place. It turns out that people of age did not strive for momentary satisfaction at all costs.

In the second part of the study, participants were asked to choose between to receive money immediately, but in a smaller amount, or to wait and pick up a large amount. When it came to the “high price” for impatience, age did not affect the choice of participants.

According to scientists, in order to understand the basic mechanisms that make us at different ages treat money differently, additional research will be needed. In this case, the researchers drew attention to a variety of factors, from health to supposedly remaining life time, but none of them was decisive.

Prepared by: Maria Lavrentieva
Photo Source: Getty images

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