We have every reason to love optimism. It can help us get through the most difficult situations, not to mention keeping us happy when things go wrong. But pink glasses can cost us, and trading them can be good for you in the long run.
Researchers from the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom have just published a study on how well we think we manage our money. Overall, we tend to think we’re more financially responsible than we actually are — and why not? It makes us feel satisfied about ourselves. But more often than not, we have plenty of room for improvement. The team developed a questionnaire about “overspending” and the number of times we participated in it each year.
The short survey asked simple questions, such as how many times you went out to eat versus cooking at home, but when respondents re-examined their scores, they were often unhappy about their financial choices.
“People around the world are not saving enough money, and we suggest that one reason they’re saving too much is because they mistakenly believe that they’re financially responsible,” said Emily Garbinski, lead author of the report. [D]reducing this self-inflated view can increase savings, as people should be motivated to restore an awareness of financial responsibility.”
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We already know that living in practice is a much better path to wealth, and failure actually helps you come back stronger. Check your savings and budget, but also maintain your sense of hope. Working with actual events is important, but optimism itself is not entirely worthless.