Study: this negative quality might help your bank account

According to a new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, individuals with a penchant for saving money might have their mousy disposition to thank for it.

The research provided data derived from an ample pool of individuals from various parts of the world, that suggests the more insecure you are, the more likely you are to beef up your financial savings. “People who are insecure about their lives and the broader world save as a means of securing their future in anticipation of a possible emergency,” clarifies the study’s lead author,  Yael Steinhart, Ph.D.

Mo’ mo’ lonely

Yael Steinhart is a consumer behavior researcher at Tel-Aviv University that had some interest in exploring the psychological factors that influence healthy saving habits. Independent studies that have linked insecurity and the preservation of certain positive traits published in the past, energized the team to apply the hypothesis to financial acumen.

Steinhart and her colleagues began by evaluating the psychology of 2,401 citizens from the United States and Israel and 1,200 citizens from the Netherlands. In order to determine how insecure each participant was, the researchers presented them with a series of questions and tasks. Participants were asked to measure how good or bad they felt about themselves, how many friends they currently had, and how often they saw said friends a week. After the respondents submitted their responses, they were given a hypothetical $500 and then asked what they intended to do with the money, specifically how much of it they intended to deposit.

Several similar experiments yielded consistent results. Participants that reported threats to self-image had enhanced intentions to save money for the future and the respondents that disclosed positive social connections were much less likely to be financially prudent.

The researchers suspect that reasoning belongs to a phenomenon known as overgeneralization.  In an attempt to quiet pressing more abstract anxieties, individuals sometimes double-down on maintaining balance in the things that they can control (economic standing in this particular instance.) “Friends may substitute for money as a psychological resource and buffer individuals from anxiety about the future,” Steinhart expounded.