Shout Out: ‘Think Like a Squirrel’

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When faced with the choice between enjoying the moment and planning for the future, the squirrel knows what to do. Do you?

An excerpt from Kiplinger’s “Think Like a Squirrel”:

Many of us don’t have the sense God gave a squirrel. Consider this choice: Buy refrigerator A, which costs $50 less than fridge B but uses $50 more in electricity each year, or fridge B, which saves money in the long run. Select fridge B and one year later you’ll break even, after which you’ll save $50 annually. Yet despite the future savings, one study showed that most people faced with this decision would choose to buy the cheaper but less-efficient fridge.

In this situation, as in many others — notably, neglecting to sign up for your company retirement plan — immediate financial gratification proves to be a prime motivator. That’s the case even though the short-term rush pales in comparison with the long-term savings realized from picking the more-efficient appliance. Squirrels, by contrast, stow nuts for the winter even when it means skipping an acorn or two in October.