A new study has revealed that those people who feel more connected to their future selves make more patient choices when it comes to financial decision-making.
Professor Daniel Bartels, marketing professor at Columbia Business School, and Oleg Urminsky, marketing professor at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business conducted a series of experiments, manipulating the degree to which subjects felt connected to their future selves.
When discontinuity with the future self is anticipated, people behave more impatiently - speeding up the consumption of utility (in this case, gift cards) - than when connectedness to the future self is expected, they found.
Professor Bartels discussed the significance of the study. "Our work suggests that you can motivate people to hold onto their money, or make other, more prudent decisions by increasing their sense of connectedness to their future selves.
"Rather than trying to guilt ourselves into making prudent financial choices or creating complicated incentive schemes, we can instead look for simple, straightforward ways to foster our sense that what matters most will be preserved in our future selves, so that we can achieve goals that are important," he added.
The study has been published in the Journal of Consumer Research.