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If your bank account never seems to grow, it’s time to consult an expert: Your future self.
Behavioural economists from the investment research firm Morningstar recently found that the people who often think about how their lives will be 10-plus years down the road are more likely to have better financial behaviours—such as keeping an emergency savings fund and paying their bills on time.
That’s because gazing into your own crystal ball tricks your brain into thinking that the future is closer than it actually is, says study author Sarah Newcomb, Ph.D. So you make more sensible financial decisions for the present to protect yourself in the upcoming years.
Take a cue from future planners and regularly fill up your emergency fund. A financial catastrophe can come in the guise of a job loss or injury and it will wreak havoc on your savings if you don’t budget for unexpected expenses.
Do this: “Sock away 10 percent of each paycheck into a rainy-day fund,” suggests Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the National Federation for Credit Counselling. “At the end of a year, it will total more than one month’s income, enough to cover most short-term emergencies.”
Additional reporting by Yelena Moroz