How to Become More Future Minded
In an earlier blog post, I cited research by Morningstar behavioral economist Sarah Newcomb that links a focus on the future with increased savings. Sounds simple enough, but the “f-word” (future) can be vague and scary to many people. It is easy to postpone action today for something that might be two or three decades down the road. For this reason, some people prefer to use the words “now” and “later” instead of “future goal.”
What to do? Use tools and techniques that develop your future-mindedness. Below are five ideas:
Experience Small Successes– Achieve success for motivation to move on to bigger goals. For example, if you complete the 30-Day $100 Savings Challenge a few times, you might ramp up the savings target to $200.
Do Backwards Thinking- Write down on a post-it note, on a board or wall, where you want to be and where you are now. Then, working backwards, insert post-its to identify all needed steps in between the two points.
Post-it Planning- Do the same thing as Backwards Thinking, but in reverse. Work forward from where you are now to where you want to be and use post-it notes to identify all needed steps in between the two points.
Listen to Powerful Stories– Google “Powerful Personal Finance Stories” and you will find inspiring stories about people like you who took small steps to turn their financial lives around.
Get a Glimpse of Your “Future Financial Self”- Research has shown that people who see themselves as an older person save more money. Web sites like Age Me and Change My Face can show you what you look like as an older person and give you a better appreciation of your “future self.