Our brains don’t make it easy to live in the year 2015. In many ways, our brains are like old clunky desktops, trying to run ever more complex software operations. This isn’t a perfect analogy, because our brains have plenty of power and complexity. It’s just complexity that isn’t totally compatible with the things we have to do in our days and lives. This becomes very apparent in the ways in which we deal with our finances and insurance needs.
People find it really hard to save, especially for retirement. Prudential examines this phenomenon in one of their interesting video series on the subject of brain function. People experience the loss of money almost like real physical pain. That’s right; when we lose money or get it stolen, the brain region that registers pain lights up. That might not be that surprising. But the interesting thing is that the same brain region becomes active when we save money (instead of spending it).
Prudential’s analysts think that we do this because our brains can’t conceptualize our future selves very easily. “Us”, in the future, is a total stranger, at least as far as our brains are concerned. The verbal part of our minds has no trouble understanding this future self, but the part of the brain that registers pain still feels bad when we put away money for that self. Just understanding this process helps us make better decisions. There are a lot of funny little brain foibles that Prudential explains in this video series. But if you don’t master these brain wrinkles, they can make you a lot of trouble in the future, especially regarding finance, investments, and insurance preparation. Take some time to watch them all, and you’ll get a better understanding of your own brain, plus ways to control it better.