If you want to save more money, you have to create stakes for why saving money matters. Visualizing what your future will look life is one proven exercise to keep you from overspending.
According to a new survey of 1,202 American adults conducted by investment management firm Capital Group, visualizing retirement can help people save up to 31% more per paycheck than those who do not think about this future.
Why seeing is believing when it comes to saving money
The survey got half of the participants to picture the life they wanted to lead in their 60s, 70s and 80s before asking them to determine what percentage of each paycheck they wanted to save in a retirement plan. Those moments of reflection proved to be a great motivator. The visualizers said they would put down 31% more per paycheck, compared to the group that was only asked how much they wanted to save for retirement. For women and Millennials, the numbers were even higher. They said they were up to 50% more per paycheck when they visualized their retirement.
We know that we need to save. The majority of Americans said they were aware they would need to self-fund their retirement. But it is easy to get caught up in the worries and obligations of the present and put off future worries around retirement for another day.
Visualizing is not just tapping into the power of positive thinking, it is how our brains are wired to learn. Imagining our future helps us mentally rehearse how we want our bodies to act when it is showtime. Building a vivid picture of your future helps your brain remember to make it a present goal.
One you prepare your body for action, you may feel less paralyzed by indecision. One survey found that people who keep vision boards of financial goals are almost twice as confident (59 percent vs. 31 percent) that they will achieve these goals than those who do not visualize.
“Images connect us more immediately and emotionally to our personal and financial goals, and to our setting and achieving them. And images help us in our thinking and moving toward these goals,” psychologist Barbara Nusbaum said about why visualization works. “I’m not surprised that people who imagine or picture their goals are better at budgeting and saving, and that these activities in themselves provide a sense of well-being.”