Gratitude is good for growing wealth

TOM HARTMANN
Last updated 05:00 08/06/2014
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Reuters

HAPPY: Be thankful for what you have and you might just make better budget choices.

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"I have everything I need." That's quite a statement. Could you say the same?

I'm not quite there myself, but a new study shows an attitude of thankfulness may go a long way in helping us avoid rash decisions, buying impulsively or borrowing in a crisis. Being grateful, it turns out, may help you better manage your money. Who knew?

Money management is just as much about emotions as it is about figures and percentages, so the way we feel and think about money really matters. And quite often, the feeling that gets us into trouble is impatience. We want it now.

People tend to value smaller instant rewards and discount those larger ones that are far off in the future - and we all make costly, short-sighted mistakes because of it.

But if we can delay our need for instant gratification, and increase our patience, we can make better decisions and get better results. (No wonder patience has been called a virtue for centuries).

Typically, the antidote is to play down our emotions to avoid making money mistakes, like when we splurge on things we later regret. The solution has been to try to ignore our underlying feelings and keep it all under control with willpower.

This time it's different. Researchers have finally identified an emotion that actually helps and should instead be played up: Gratitude. No need to keep a lid on it.

Apparently, even when real money's at stake, gratitude reduces excessive impatience and helps prevent costly mistakes.

The more we reflect and appreciate things, the more patient we become and the better choices we make.

So what do you feel grateful for right now?

Tom Hartmann is resident blogger at Sorted.org.nz

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