This post Could You Pass The Marshmallow Test? appeared first on Daily Reckoning.
We’re starting to pack for a spring break trip to El Salvador next week, where both the air and water are in the 80s.
Meanwhile, a few of the families we’re friends with are packing for a snowboard trip to Aspen.
My daughter would certainly like to be there drinking hot chocolate and toasting marshmallows with the rest of her crew, but she’ll happily forgo a couple sweets for something she likes even more – big, warm waves in a bathing suit.
As it turns out, that’s a very good trait to have.
In an experiment conducted by Stanford 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 have a second one.
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.
So if you know someone who just wants to eat all the darn marshmallows right now, here are a couple things you can tell them…
Social Security is not going to bail you out.
I have gone into great detail on the current state of our nation’s Social Security program many times before, but the upshot is that it faces ongoing shortfalls and will struggle to pay out all the benefits that have been promised.
Yet astoundingly enough, plenty of people I talk to still seem to think that they’ll be doing just fine by retiring on Uncle Sam’s dime.
What they fail to realize is that — even if Washington finally gets around to shoring up the Social Security program’s finances — those monthly checks won’t come close to covering even a modest lifestyle in retirement.
In fact, the average monthly benefit that’s going out to a retired worker right now is about $1,400.
And quite frankly, I now suspect many people will see their promised amounts get CUT – whether it’s through even more aggressive taxation of benefits or some other method.
You’ll probably need an …read more
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