Unconscious Spending


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Self-awareness is a Rich Habit. Lack of self-awareness is a Poor Habit.

Only through awareness can you overpower neurologically-based, instinctive urges to spend money. Self-awareness short circuits the neural hard-wiring that causes most to unconsciously spend their money.

In my Rich Habits research, I discovered certain unconscious spending Poor Habits that prevent individuals from accumulating wealth.

Want Spending

Want Spenders spend more money than they make on their wants. They surrender to instant gratification, eschewing saving in order to buy things they want now: 60 inch TVs, nice vacations, expensive cars, bigger homes and jewelry.

Want Spenders routinely gamble away part of their income. They also spend too much money at bars and restaurants. Worse, they incur debt in order to finance their standard of living.

Want Spenders create their own poverty. They are undisciplined with their money. They have been brainwashed by advertisers and a consumerist society into buying things they do not need.

When Want Spenders are no longer able to work due to old age, they live out the remainder of their lives in abject poverty. They become dependent on their children, other family members, friends, the government or the charity of others.

Emotionally-Driven Spontaneous Spending

When you allow emotions to influence your spending decisions, you can fall into the trap of Emotional Spending, eschewing it for savings.

When you are feeling overly optimistic about your future income, you can fall into the trap of spending money you have or spending future money you expect to receive by using debt.

When you feel sad or depressed, emotional purchases can act like a temporary salve, lifting you temporarily from sadness.

The remedy is to be constantly vigilant regarding your emotions. Be like Spock – control your emotions. This keeps your prefrontal cortex in control of your brain.

Decision-Fatigue-Driven Spontaneous Spending

Everyone has about 3 hours of Willpower Energy. Willpower Energy is greatest after a good night’s sleep. When willpower is high, your prefrontal cortex is in complete control of your brain. When willpower is low, you lose discipline over your spending.

This is why supermarkets place products at the checkout lines. They know that you have depleted your Willpower Reserves, and that you are suffering from Decision Fatigue. Their hope is, in your weakened state, you’ll make a spontaneous purchase. The remedy is to shop immediately upon waking up from a night’s sleep, after taking a nap or after a light meal. These three things restore your willpower reserves.

Lifestyle Creep

When you increase your spending to match your increased income, you are falling victim to Lifestyle Creep.

Lifestyle Creep is typically incremental. You incrementally increase your spending, as your income rises, without consciously realizing it.

The remedy is to fix your savings rate. Example, saving 20% of your income, always. This acts as a buffer, preventing you from spending too much and keeping you on track with growing your wealth.

Supersizing Your Life

When Connor McGregor fought Mayweather in 2018, he received a $30 million guarantee. Upon receipt of his guaranteed money, he purchased a $17 million yacht. Because he didn’t have enough money left over from the guaranteed money to pay his income taxes, he had to withdraw money from existing wealth to pay the tax man.

Supersizing Your Life is driven by excessive optimism driven by a sudden increase in income or wealth. Example: large bonus, significant raise, inheritance, etc.

The remedy? Same house, same spouse, same car. Refuse to upgrade your life when your income or wealth rises significantly. Have a plan and stick to it.

My mission is to share my unique research in order to help others realize their dreams and achieve their goals. If you find value in these articles, please share them with your inner circle and encourage them to Subscribe. Thank You!

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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  1. Lisa Schreiber says:

    Super-important post. I will read it every morning for at least the next month!

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