Polls / January 13, 2014

Do you find it difficult to think clearly if you make many money decisions on the same day?

About four-in-ten respondents to the eZonomics online poll say they do find it difficult to think clearly if they make many money decisions on the same day, while the rest of the respondents do not.

Am I on a roll?
You’ve renewed your contents insurance and finished your regular retirement fund review. That’s a lot of thinking.
Are you on a roll and ready to book next year’s holiday? Or is it better to take a break and come back to the task another time? This eZonomics article explains the notions of “decision fatigue” and “cognitive energy”. It details studies that find making many decisions in a row – particularly if there is time pressure – can be tiring and suggests that if you have the opportunity to take a break amid a flurry of decision making, it can be a good idea to take it.

Money’s too tight…
One reason why some of this poll’s respondents find it difficult to think clearly if they make many money decisions on the same day (and others don’t) might be due to a limited resource of a different kind – money.
Choosing between buying all the essentials on the grocery list or paying the heating bill is an undeniably tough choice.
The 2013 book Scarcity: Why having too little means so much asserts that not having enough money changes the decision making dynamic. So people with a limited budget are particularly vulnerable to decision fatigue when making decisions about money.

Ease the pressure
If thinking clearly is a problem, some simple steps might help.

  • Cultivate healthy financial habits and keep a balanced budget to reduce the need to make difficult trade-offs under pressure
  • Ask a friend or family member who’s more removed from the stresses of constantly juggling finances for a second opinion when making important decisions
  • Many contracts have a cooling off period of several days – so don’t be afraid to use them if your view changes once the pressure is off.

EmotionBudgetRetirementGoal settingPsychology

eZonomics team
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