Join        Login             Stock Quote

Meditations On Marshmallows And Retirement

 May 15, 2012 01:17 PM

(By Nilus) If you want to hear scary stories related to retirement, you don't have to look very hard.

For example, a trade association for the financial services industry called LIMRA recently surveyed a couple thousand Americans on retirement matters. What they found is that about 49 percent of the respondents aren't saving for retirement at all.

Yes, you read that right — HALF of the people are literally putting nothing away for their golden years!

Why not? Well, the majority suggested that they just couldn't afford to contribute to an IRA account.

Now I realize that the current economic climate IS certainly making it much harder on a lot of Americans … but the idea that half of us have it so bad we can't put anything into our retirement accounts just doesn't ring true based on my own interactions and observations.

[Related -Initial Jobless Claims Rose Unexpectedly]

Instead, what I think a lot of our country's retirement have-nots are really saying is that, when it comes down to limited amounts of income, they'd much rather have new outfits, expensive cars, or the hottest gadgets instead of having money put away for the future.

This isn't all that surprising. After all, countless studies have demonstrated that many people struggle when it comes to delayed gratification. And they have also proven that those people who CAN plan for the future typically end up better off throughout life.

Take the infamous "Stanford marshmallow experiment."

Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s researchers took a group of kids (ages 4-6) and offered them each a single marshmallow to eat. However, they also gave them another option — wait 15 minutes without eating the marshmallow and they could have a second one.

[Related -All Quiet on the Record High Front]

All told, 653 children participated. Some kids ate the marshmallows as soon as the researchers left the room. And even out of the group who tried to wait a little longer, only one third made it long enough to get the second marshmallow.

Even more interestingly, follow-up studies with the same group of children have showed high correlations between the ability to wait for the second marshmallow and overall success in life — based on everything from parental evaluations of general competence and well being to other measures into adulthood. Heck, the kids who were able to wait the full fifteen minutes scored an average of 215 points higher on their SATs than the children who couldn't wait 30 seconds!

Of course, even if some people have a higher innate propensity for retirement saving — which is perhaps THE biggest real-world example of delayed gratification — I still believe reasonable adults can at least change their ways a bit, assuming they're given reasons to do so.

Next Page >>12
iOnTheMarket Premium


Post Comment -- Login is required to post message
Alert for new comments:
Your email:
Your Website:

rss feed

Latest Stories

article imageInitial Jobless Claims Rose Unexpectedly

Claims unexpectedly rose in the latest report through last weekend to breach 300,000 for the first time read on...

article imageAll Quiet on the Record High Front

What can we glean from the media’s lack of attention to the market’s recent record read on...

article imageThe Chip Maker Short Sellers Should Be Watching

Investing in semiconductor stocks is always tricky. Industry cycles can lead to bumps in the road for the read on...

article imageChicago Fed: US Economic Growth Slowed In October

The pace of US growth slowed more than expected in October, according to this morning’s update of the read on...

Popular Articles

Daily Sector Scan
Partner Center

Fundamental data is provided by Zacks Investment Research, and Commentary, news and Press Releases provided by YellowBrix and Quotemedia.
All information provided "as is" for informational purposes only, not intended for trading purposes or advice. iStockAnalyst.com is not an investment adviser and does not provide, endorse or review any information or data contained herein.
The blog articles are opinions by respective blogger. By using this site you are agreeing to terms and conditions posted on respective bloggers' website.
The postings/comments on the site may or may not be from reliable sources. Neither iStockAnalyst nor any of its independent providers is liable for any informational errors, incompleteness, or delays, or for any actions taken in reliance on information contained herein. You are solely responsible for the investment decisions made by you and the consequences resulting therefrom. By accessing the iStockAnalyst.com site, you agree not to redistribute the information found therein.
The sector scan is based on 15-30 minutes delayed data. The Pattern scan is based on EOD data.