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Author: Goofyhoofy Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 77003  
Subject: Your Brain Wants You To Be Poor Date: 2/22/2007 10:04 AM
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I was in the doctor's office waiting room a couple days ago thanks to an ear infection, or sinus infection, or cold, or whatever it is that has me down. Anyway, all the magazines were for "Parents" or "Your New Baby" or whatever, and the only other one was "Men's Health." So "health" is about as far from my life as I can imagine, but I picked it up and read it anyway.

One story in the March issue is "The 6 New Rules of Rich". Unfortunately I can't find an online link, but rule #1 is "Your brain wants yu to be poor." And here's why:

The opening salvo is of a 2001 study of "undersavers" who expressed an intention to "save more" during the next year. Yet less than 1 in 8 actually did so. The reason, it turns out, may have more to do with biology than with willpower.

"The rational part of our brain is the cortex, the folded tissue on top," explain David Laibson, PhD a professor of economics at Harvard and one of the study authors. "It values the delayed future just as much as it values the immediate present. But beneath the cortex is an older neural system that values the present much more. So that system basically says, "If it comes now, great. If it comes in a week, I really couldn't care less."

This neural sstem dates back to a time when staying alive - today - was the only order of business. And half-a-billion-years-old habits die hard. "As our cerebral cortex evolved, the first thing it did, as with any biological innovation, was fit in," says Read Montague, PhD, a professor of neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine. "There was no biological incentive, financially speaking, for our rational structures to contravene our biological instincts."

And so, to this day, our rational brain still defers to our basers instincts. And your savings account remains empty.

[p. 148, Men's Health, March 2007]

This biologial imperative, fighting with the newer, rational cortex drive, might explain why such a large percentage of people cannot (some will say 'will not', and I wouldn't argue) save, and why so much of the populace lives from paycheck to paycheck.

Anyway, I thought it interesting. There you go. "It's not my fault, your honor, I have this biological problem dating back 500,000,000 years."
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