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How Gratitude Can Benefit Your Finances

We’ve reached the time of year when many of us reflect on all that we have to be grateful for. Many of us are reading social media posts from friends participating in the 30-day Thankfulness Challenge.

I enjoy ending journal entries by listing three things for which I’m grateful. I believe that act makes me more content and encourages me to be appreciative of life’s gifts—large and small.

Science proves the benefits of gratitude

Having an attitude of gratitude can improve your approach toward money, and there’s science to prove it. Researchers discovered that feelings of gratitude reduced financial impatience, according to a study published in the journal Psychological Science in 2014.

Study participants were assigned the task of writing about one of the following: a past event that made them feel grateful, happy or neutral. They also were offered a choice between receiving $54 now, or $80 in 30 days.

Those who wrote about instances that made them feel happy or neutral tended to opt for immediate payouts, and those who wrote about gratitude showed an increased willingness to wait longer to receive more money.

Expressing gratitude may benefit our saving/spending habits

What if expressing gratitude more often could help prevent you from making impulse purchases you’ll regret later? What if gratitude made it easier for you to increase your savings? The next time you feel like making an impulse purchase, take a moment to feel grateful instead, a Mint article suggests. Perhaps taking time to express appreciation for something is enough to prompt you to feel grateful for what you have, instead of hinging hope on a bit of retail therapy pulling you out of a dull mood.

During this season of Thanksgiving, I hope you find much to feel grateful for. May you always view your finances as a tool for creating the type of life you want, instead of living your life in the constant pursuit of money. Yes, we need to save money to achieve a comfortable retirement. However, taking time routinely to feel grateful for all you have may put into better perspective what you actually need in retirement.

November 2020

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