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Debate offshoot - The importance of delayed gratification

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  • CSARdiverCSARdiver Posts: 6,084Member Member Posts: 6,084Member Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I'm a little confused. This is a branch off another thread, but the OP here is a narrowed focus vs. all the many places the other thread went. It seems unwieldy to me to bring over other sub-threads that aren't clear in this new context. Because I'm a small woman of small mind, I'm going to stick with the OP in this thread, and see where the discussion goes from there. So:
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    As part of a separate topic discussing why marketers often mislead (whether purposefully or not) clients to focus on "shocking the system" and on the wrong solutions.

    As a core philosophy behind weight management - one eats within budget to ensure their weight is maintained over time. A sacrifice of one's present wants for a future goal.

    In speaking with other members on and off MFP I've noted a common trend, that at one point they believed a goal was impossible. It wasn't until they managed to achieve a small goal that their perception changed and the "impossible" became reality. This in turn carried over into other aspects of their lives.

    Does this core philosophy carry into other aspects of your life? Financially, professionally, academically, etc.

    For me, weight management is very much about balancing current wants with future wants or even needs. (Notice how I didn't use the word "sacrifice" in there? Probably intentional. ;) ). So, that general idea resonates with me.

    I can also relate to the idea of "budgeting" in a calorie/activity balancing situation.

    To me, neither of those is the same concept as "they believed that a goal was impossible. It wasn't until they managed to achieve a small goal that their perception changed and the "impossible" became reality. This in turn carried over into other aspects of their life."

    That part doesn't seem to (1) be the same idea as either of the other metaphors, (2) follow from them, or (3) frankly, even make sense to me.

    Is there anyone who's never achieved a goal? Um, maybe, but not many. And that was a big leap from a small goal to "the impossible" - kinda lost me.

    I do think that there are things to be learned on (for lack of better terms) both technical and psychological fronts, from goal accomplishment, especially accomplishment of complex or very long term goals.

    By "technical", I mean things like figuring out how to break a big goal (that might seem overwhelming) into smaller incremental goals, or how to identify small steps that move incrementally toward the big goal, or something along those lines. By "psychological", I mean things like figuring out out to feel rewarded and reinforced in the short run for doing things whose main or full benefits are far in the future.

    Under "psychological", at least for some people, I'd include developing (through success) a sense of mastery or agency that makes one feel like one has strengths one can bring to bear on other big goals in the future, so feel like big goals are in fact possible. (This vaguely has something to do with how I'd understand that paragraph that I said didn't make sense to me, but it's not the same thing . . . I think.)

    I do think that many of these foregoing things (the balancing of current/future wants, the attacking of complex/long-term goals, the sense of personal agency or mastery) are too often parsed in common conversation in terms of abstract trait-like things such as "discipline", "willpower", "motivation", etc., that make it easy to believe that some people have those traits (or talents), and other people don't. That's not helpful.

    Personally, I think that what's really involved are in fact more like skills. Some people may have more preinstalled "natural talent" for some of them, but they're still skills that can be learned, practiced, improved, and potentially used in various scenarios . . . if one can figure out how to practice them. (Abstractions are hard. ;) ) Practicing things improves them, makes them sharper tools. I think that applies even to rather abstract skills like "patience" and "persistence" (yes, I think those are more skills than traits, too).

    So, I think there are things that can be learned or refined in the weight management scenario, that can potentially be transferrable to financial, professional, social, familial, etc., aspects of life. Also, vice versa, that skills learned in those domains potentially transfer to weight management and fitness, and make that more achievable.

    I don't think of any of it as a "core philosophy" at all, though. I think of it as a skill set, or techniques, or practices.

    (There were things hinted at in the other thread about perceived personal power, sense of agency, etc., that I think are kind of important in all of this, too, but I don't so far see a great jumping-off point in this thread. I also don't think that has anything with "core philosophy", either.)

    I didn't mean literally never achieving a goal, but talking to people who are on "the elevator going down" they often see themselves in this state. Despite many achievements in the past the lack of current goal accomplishments feels like an insurmountable hill which causes a terminal cascade of failure, depression, more failue.

    My original thought in going down this rabbit hole is to deconstruct the misinformation/disinformation (as I believe much of this to be intentional) and dispel much of the myth around other disciplines. That despite "common knowledge" success is achievable, but you have to know and understand the roadblocks set before you.

    Apologies as I'm writing this long before the idea is fully formed - just a connection I made within the original thread with some other books I'm reading.

    Dispelling the myth of natural talent is definitely a core concept/correction to a root cause.

    I think we disagree in material ways.

    I agree that there is much misinformation/disinformation (and suspect I agree with you about the general nature of maybe 80% of it).

    I agree that success is potentially achievable, and that understanding the roadblocks and finding levers for change is very important - essential, in fact. A gut sense that one has agency is very important (and that sense can grow over time with successful goal accomplishment). But success is never guaranteed, even to people who do all the right things. Some situations are completely intractable, in ways sometimes unforseeable. Failure despite amazing, insightful effort is a thing. Certain kinds of obstacles make that failure more likely. I suspect you'd say that failure is a form of learning, and that people who fail should adjust and soldier on. I don't disagree, but I think there are limits to what we can realistically expect of people.

    Also, I don't agree that natural talent is a myth. I think that some people have abilities with a strong genetic component, and/or an early-nurture component. For best success, they still need to develop/practice the related skills, but almost any given set of skills will come more easily to some people than to others. (There are child prodigies, right? Not many, but I think it's common sense and good observation to believe that there are also people with talents short of prodigy, but in excess of average.)

    I do think that many people overestimate the value of "talent" and "luck" in some other people's life stories, and underestimate the value of work and practice. (As just one example, I see people react to excellent art/craft objects some of my friends have made with "You have such talent" when I know very well that the craftsperson started from pretty close to zilch, and has worked very hard, over a very long time, to achieve that level of skill.) Work and practice is somewhat invisible to the outside observer.

    I think that many people use the ideas of "talent" and "luck" (unbeknownst even to themselves) as a cognitive out or dodge, in thinking about why they themselves are unable to achieve the same outcomes as the "lucky" "talented" people.

    Sometimes, actual talent (genetic or early-life disposition to a skill) can be a trap for the talented: Because they easily exceed the performance of those around them early on, they don't practice enough or learn enough to reach anything like their potential. They may even be bettered, in the long term, by a similarly-situated person of mediocre talent who is more focused and persistent at skill development. People who think they're good at something can be undermotivated to improve at it.

    So, talent is a thing IMO, but so is work, and taking responsibility for doing the work. The person with both - natural talent plus hard work - has the best odds of highest success. One or the other can get a person part way there (in an ill-defined sense of "there"). I'd guess that those half-a**ed cases are where actual luck (also a thing) may improve odds of success. Privilege, narrowly or broadly defined, is IMO a form of luck in this kind of scenario.

    Backing up a little, I also don't agree that "much of the misinformation/disinformation is intentional". I think this particular class of misinformation/disinformation is often an emergent property of cognitive dodges (like the one mentioned explicitly above) added to the arm-waving of hucksterism for quick fixes (which is often intentional, but sometimes just delusion on the part of the huckster . . . but even in the latter case, the audience has to have some psychological motivation to believe and be manipulated by the huckster). To put it in more starkly oversimplified/cartoonish terms, much of the misinformation/disinformation is about simple laziness on the part of all parties to the cognitive transaction, added to self-interest (maybe misguided self-interest) all around. I think this is true even if you're only talking about misinformation/disinformation in the diet and fitness realm.

    Stepping back still further, I'm feeling like you want to try to take things back to big principles that are abstract, generalized, kind of pure and universal. I think I like variation and situational reasoning and nuance and messiness, and dislike abstractions and universal principles. (I think that's part of what makes my posts so stinkin' rambling and non-pithy. :lol: ) To be more pointed, I think root causes (of nearly anything) are more likely to be very specific, and not about something as abstract as (say) "deferred gratification).

    Enough for now.

    I realize that amongst all topics finance is of the utmost taboo, so thanks for everyone for being respectful. 20 years of financial counseling and I find people will talk about their sex life easier than about money. Yet another behavior creating disparity.

    A key talking past point is the very defition of wealth. I see this as simple as spending less than one earns and gradually increasing over time. A benchmark being - did you do as well as or better than your parents?

    I find it insteresting that even in discussing this our minds turn immediately to the unforseen circumstances that cause us to fail. I've done the same for years and quesioning my own behavior. Would you mention this when coaching someone new to MFP, or would you instead prepare them mentally for the inevitable failure and that this isn't a short term goal, but a long one. I certainly recognize the setbacks, but believe these are incredibly overstated, especially when it comes to individuals. Statistics are useful in large populations, but meaningless when it comes to individuals. It does carry a massive psychological impact if I were to continually point out to a group that x% of them will fail, especially if I target a subset within that group. Part of my thinking when I brought up deliberate misinformation/disinformation.

    I believe that largely due to the lack of education regarding finance that even when people go about setting their house in order they expend a tremendous amount of energy and resources that make things worse, much like weight management. It creates a terminal cascade where the person gets quagmired.

    Regarding the misinformation/disinformation I find in very effective in identifying the root cause to follow motivation. I think you are correct in identifying laziness on all parties in not assessing the risk. Take the housing crisis for example - willing bankers knew to make profit in massive scale utilizing incredibly risky repo markets. Government coerced the same willing lenders to create high risk vehicles selling the American dream - your home. The same is occuring with education and student loan despite the demand never being able to meet supply in specific disciplines.

    Pith is much appreciated - it enables difficult conversations. TMI - I'm in the middle of pulling and replacing my septic sump, so would love some pith.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Posts: 12,127Member Member Posts: 12,127Member Member
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I'm a little confused. This is a branch off another thread, but the OP here is a narrowed focus vs. all the many places the other thread went. It seems unwieldy to me to bring over other sub-threads that aren't clear in this new context. Because I'm a small woman of small mind, I'm going to stick with the OP in this thread, and see where the discussion goes from there. So:
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    As part of a separate topic discussing why marketers often mislead (whether purposefully or not) clients to focus on "shocking the system" and on the wrong solutions.

    As a core philosophy behind weight management - one eats within budget to ensure their weight is maintained over time. A sacrifice of one's present wants for a future goal.

    In speaking with other members on and off MFP I've noted a common trend, that at one point they believed a goal was impossible. It wasn't until they managed to achieve a small goal that their perception changed and the "impossible" became reality. This in turn carried over into other aspects of their lives.

    Does this core philosophy carry into other aspects of your life? Financially, professionally, academically, etc.

    For me, weight management is very much about balancing current wants with future wants or even needs. (Notice how I didn't use the word "sacrifice" in there? Probably intentional. ;) ). So, that general idea resonates with me.

    I can also relate to the idea of "budgeting" in a calorie/activity balancing situation.

    To me, neither of those is the same concept as "they believed that a goal was impossible. It wasn't until they managed to achieve a small goal that their perception changed and the "impossible" became reality. This in turn carried over into other aspects of their life."

    That part doesn't seem to (1) be the same idea as either of the other metaphors, (2) follow from them, or (3) frankly, even make sense to me.

    Is there anyone who's never achieved a goal? Um, maybe, but not many. And that was a big leap from a small goal to "the impossible" - kinda lost me.

    I do think that there are things to be learned on (for lack of better terms) both technical and psychological fronts, from goal accomplishment, especially accomplishment of complex or very long term goals.

    By "technical", I mean things like figuring out how to break a big goal (that might seem overwhelming) into smaller incremental goals, or how to identify small steps that move incrementally toward the big goal, or something along those lines. By "psychological", I mean things like figuring out out to feel rewarded and reinforced in the short run for doing things whose main or full benefits are far in the future.

    Under "psychological", at least for some people, I'd include developing (through success) a sense of mastery or agency that makes one feel like one has strengths one can bring to bear on other big goals in the future, so feel like big goals are in fact possible. (This vaguely has something to do with how I'd understand that paragraph that I said didn't make sense to me, but it's not the same thing . . . I think.)

    I do think that many of these foregoing things (the balancing of current/future wants, the attacking of complex/long-term goals, the sense of personal agency or mastery) are too often parsed in common conversation in terms of abstract trait-like things such as "discipline", "willpower", "motivation", etc., that make it easy to believe that some people have those traits (or talents), and other people don't. That's not helpful.

    Personally, I think that what's really involved are in fact more like skills. Some people may have more preinstalled "natural talent" for some of them, but they're still skills that can be learned, practiced, improved, and potentially used in various scenarios . . . if one can figure out how to practice them. (Abstractions are hard. ;) ) Practicing things improves them, makes them sharper tools. I think that applies even to rather abstract skills like "patience" and "persistence" (yes, I think those are more skills than traits, too).

    So, I think there are things that can be learned or refined in the weight management scenario, that can potentially be transferrable to financial, professional, social, familial, etc., aspects of life. Also, vice versa, that skills learned in those domains potentially transfer to weight management and fitness, and make that more achievable.

    I don't think of any of it as a "core philosophy" at all, though. I think of it as a skill set, or techniques, or practices.

    (There were things hinted at in the other thread about perceived personal power, sense of agency, etc., that I think are kind of important in all of this, too, but I don't so far see a great jumping-off point in this thread. I also don't think that has anything with "core philosophy", either.)

    I didn't mean literally never achieving a goal, but talking to people who are on "the elevator going down" they often see themselves in this state. Despite many achievements in the past the lack of current goal accomplishments feels like an insurmountable hill which causes a terminal cascade of failure, depression, more failue.

    My original thought in going down this rabbit hole is to deconstruct the misinformation/disinformation (as I believe much of this to be intentional) and dispel much of the myth around other disciplines. That despite "common knowledge" success is achievable, but you have to know and understand the roadblocks set before you.

    Apologies as I'm writing this long before the idea is fully formed - just a connection I made within the original thread with some other books I'm reading.

    Dispelling the myth of natural talent is definitely a core concept/correction to a root cause.

    I think we disagree in material ways.

    I agree that there is much misinformation/disinformation (and suspect I agree with you about the general nature of maybe 80% of it).

    I agree that success is potentially achievable, and that understanding the roadblocks and finding levers for change is very important - essential, in fact. A gut sense that one has agency is very important (and that sense can grow over time with successful goal accomplishment). But success is never guaranteed, even to people who do all the right things. Some situations are completely intractable, in ways sometimes unforseeable. Failure despite amazing, insightful effort is a thing. Certain kinds of obstacles make that failure more likely. I suspect you'd say that failure is a form of learning, and that people who fail should adjust and soldier on. I don't disagree, but I think there are limits to what we can realistically expect of people.

    Also, I don't agree that natural talent is a myth. I think that some people have abilities with a strong genetic component, and/or an early-nurture component. For best success, they still need to develop/practice the related skills, but almost any given set of skills will come more easily to some people than to others. (There are child prodigies, right? Not many, but I think it's common sense and good observation to believe that there are also people with talents short of prodigy, but in excess of average.)

    I do think that many people overestimate the value of "talent" and "luck" in some other people's life stories, and underestimate the value of work and practice. (As just one example, I see people react to excellent art/craft objects some of my friends have made with "You have such talent" when I know very well that the craftsperson started from pretty close to zilch, and has worked very hard, over a very long time, to achieve that level of skill.) Work and practice is somewhat invisible to the outside observer.

    I think that many people use the ideas of "talent" and "luck" (unbeknownst even to themselves) as a cognitive out or dodge, in thinking about why they themselves are unable to achieve the same outcomes as the "lucky" "talented" people.

    Sometimes, actual talent (genetic or early-life disposition to a skill) can be a trap for the talented: Because they easily exceed the performance of those around them early on, they don't practice enough or learn enough to reach anything like their potential. They may even be bettered, in the long term, by a similarly-situated person of mediocre talent who is more focused and persistent at skill development. People who think they're good at something can be undermotivated to improve at it.

    So, talent is a thing IMO, but so is work, and taking responsibility for doing the work. The person with both - natural talent plus hard work - has the best odds of highest success. One or the other can get a person part way there (in an ill-defined sense of "there"). I'd guess that those half-a**ed cases are where actual luck (also a thing) may improve odds of success. Privilege, narrowly or broadly defined, is IMO a form of luck in this kind of scenario.

    Backing up a little, I also don't agree that "much of the misinformation/disinformation is intentional". I think this particular class of misinformation/disinformation is often an emergent property of cognitive dodges (like the one mentioned explicitly above) added to the arm-waving of hucksterism for quick fixes (which is often intentional, but sometimes just delusion on the part of the huckster . . . but even in the latter case, the audience has to have some psychological motivation to believe and be manipulated by the huckster). To put it in more starkly oversimplified/cartoonish terms, much of the misinformation/disinformation is about simple laziness on the part of all parties to the cognitive transaction, added to self-interest (maybe misguided self-interest) all around. I think this is true even if you're only talking about misinformation/disinformation in the diet and fitness realm.

    Stepping back still further, I'm feeling like you want to try to take things back to big principles that are abstract, generalized, kind of pure and universal. I think I like variation and situational reasoning and nuance and messiness, and dislike abstractions and universal principles. (I think that's part of what makes my posts so stinkin' rambling and non-pithy. :lol: ) To be more pointed, I think root causes (of nearly anything) are more likely to be very specific, and not about something as abstract as (say) "deferred gratification).

    Enough for now.

    I realize that amongst all topics finance is of the utmost taboo, so thanks for everyone for being respectful. 20 years of financial counseling and I find people will talk about their sex life easier than about money. Yet another behavior creating disparity.

    A key talking past point is the very defition of wealth. I see this as simple as spending less than one earns and gradually increasing over time. A benchmark being - did you do as well as or better than your parents?

    I find it insteresting that even in discussing this our minds turn immediately to the unforseen circumstances that cause us to fail. I've done the same for years and quesioning my own behavior. Would you mention this when coaching someone new to MFP, or would you instead prepare them mentally for the inevitable failure and that this isn't a short term goal, but a long one. I certainly recognize the setbacks, but believe these are incredibly overstated, especially when it comes to individuals. Statistics are useful in large populations, but meaningless when it comes to individuals. It does carry a massive psychological impact if I were to continually point out to a group that x% of them will fail, especially if I target a subset within that group. Part of my thinking when I brought up deliberate misinformation/disinformation.

    I believe that largely due to the lack of education regarding finance that even when people go about setting their house in order they expend a tremendous amount of energy and resources that make things worse, much like weight management. It creates a terminal cascade where the person gets quagmired.

    Regarding the misinformation/disinformation I find in very effective in identifying the root cause to follow motivation. I think you are correct in identifying laziness on all parties in not assessing the risk. Take the housing crisis for example - willing bankers knew to make profit in massive scale utilizing incredibly risky repo markets. Government coerced the same willing lenders to create high risk vehicles selling the American dream - your home. The same is occuring with education and student loan despite the demand never being able to meet supply in specific disciplines.

    Pith is much appreciated - it enables difficult conversations. TMI - I'm in the middle of pulling and replacing my septic sump, so would love some pith.

    I feel like almost every time when you paraphrase me or pick out some aspect to agree with, you are misunderstanding the main thrust of what I was trying to say. This suggests that possibly I'm not writing my thoughts clearly.

    In this particular case, just to choose one example, my use of the word "laziness" was intended in a very small sense - I used it once in a sentence that started "To put it in more starkly oversimplified/cartoonish terms . . .".

    My meaning had nothing to do with assessing risk, but rather more like folks being so busy and pulled in many directions that they're not necessarily paying attention, so easy cognitive defaults take over - yeah, the thing in question (diet and fitness, or whatever) may be important, but so are lots of things. So, we can end up not thinking very critically or analytically or independently about that thing. You've seemngly picked out "laziness" as a key element . . . maybe because it's important in your conceptual scheme here, I don't know. And I'm not understanding how the housing market or education or student loans relate to this, or to "deferred gratification", exactly.

    In any case, the bottom line is that I'm failing to communicate.

    Good luck with your septic pump! :)
    edited September 20
  • CSARdiverCSARdiver Posts: 6,084Member Member Posts: 6,084Member Member
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    aokoye wrote: »
    To answer your question from the other thread - things like racism and sexism play into economic and educational disparities. If your family was not able to own property of any kind because there were laws against the books barring them from doing so, it's going to be awfully difficult to build generational wealth. Never mind biases that occur in hiring (and firing) practices. And then there's the whole segregation bit.

    The same is true for education which is also linked to where students live during their primary and secondary education. As I asked you in the previous thread, Lastly, how would you explain the fact that academia is overwhelmingly white? Is that about impulse control? If so, how so?

    And yes, I know multiple tenured and early career professors who are people of color, but they are not the norm in, among other places, the US, Canada, and Europe.
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    You've experienced this personally and this inhibited your success?

    Generational wealth is below 1% of the population, so I'm not sure what impact this has, especially considering that it is rarely maintained passed 2 generations. As wealth is an output of behavior the core principle of managing a budget still applies.

    Every discipline has challenges, both internal and external, but to only focus on challenges without offering a solution is a moot point.

    I've always found the entire concept of race fascinating, particular the obsession some have with it. I admittedly do not understand it as to obsess upon race defies all logic and rationale, unless your goal is to purposely divide and cause chaos.

    Not really the point of bringing up the relation of health and wealth, but a core theme to wealth and the common misunderstandings around it - nearly all the points you bring up and a myriad more. Just as in weight management it highlights the lack (some would say deliberate) of education around both subjects.

    I don't think we are all defining "generational wealth" the same. I believe it can be as simple as parents leaving their house to their kids. And if someone was prevented from buying a house, their descendants are disadvantaged.

    Ex: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levittown
    https://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/11/nyregion/memories-of-segregation-in-levittown.html
    ...From 1934 to 1962, less than 2 percent of the $120 billion in housing financing underwritten by the government went to minorities, while today, the net worth of the average black family is one-eighth that of its white counterpart, the film says.

    The U.S. Census Bureau recently released figures showing that the wealth disparity between black households and non-Hispanic white households as of 2015 (it takes them a while to crunch numbers, apparently) was more than 10 to 1 ($139,300 for non-Hispanic white households, $12,780 for black households -- median, not mean). That's what I would take wealth to mean -- what's on the bottom line of your household's balance sheet.

    https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2019/08/gaps-in-wealth-americans-by-household-type.html


    I don't understand attributing that disparity to a lack of impulse control rather than generations of economic discrimination, job discrimination, educational discrimination, credit redlining, and racial disparities in farm loans -- not to mention law enforcement and judicial systems that sometimes looked the other way if white people cheated, threatened, or outright stole from black people.
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I'm a little confused. This is a branch off another thread, but the OP here is a narrowed focus vs. all the many places the other thread went. It seems unwieldy to me to bring over other sub-threads that aren't clear in this new context. Because I'm a small woman of small mind, I'm going to stick with the OP in this thread, and see where the discussion goes from there. So:
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    As part of a separate topic discussing why marketers often mislead (whether purposefully or not) clients to focus on "shocking the system" and on the wrong solutions.

    As a core philosophy behind weight management - one eats within budget to ensure their weight is maintained over time. A sacrifice of one's present wants for a future goal.

    In speaking with other members on and off MFP I've noted a common trend, that at one point they believed a goal was impossible. It wasn't until they managed to achieve a small goal that their perception changed and the "impossible" became reality. This in turn carried over into other aspects of their lives.

    Does this core philosophy carry into other aspects of your life? Financially, professionally, academically, etc.

    For me, weight management is very much about balancing current wants with future wants or even needs. (Notice how I didn't use the word "sacrifice" in there? Probably intentional. ;) ). So, that general idea resonates with me.

    I can also relate to the idea of "budgeting" in a calorie/activity balancing situation.

    To me, neither of those is the same concept as "they believed that a goal was impossible. It wasn't until they managed to achieve a small goal that their perception changed and the "impossible" became reality. This in turn carried over into other aspects of their life."

    That part doesn't seem to (1) be the same idea as either of the other metaphors, (2) follow from them, or (3) frankly, even make sense to me.

    Is there anyone who's never achieved a goal? Um, maybe, but not many. And that was a big leap from a small goal to "the impossible" - kinda lost me.

    I do think that there are things to be learned on (for lack of better terms) both technical and psychological fronts, from goal accomplishment, especially accomplishment of complex or very long term goals.

    By "technical", I mean things like figuring out how to break a big goal (that might seem overwhelming) into smaller incremental goals, or how to identify small steps that move incrementally toward the big goal, or something along those lines. By "psychological", I mean things like figuring out out to feel rewarded and reinforced in the short run for doing things whose main or full benefits are far in the future.

    Under "psychological", at least for some people, I'd include developing (through success) a sense of mastery or agency that makes one feel like one has strengths one can bring to bear on other big goals in the future, so feel like big goals are in fact possible. (This vaguely has something to do with how I'd understand that paragraph that I said didn't make sense to me, but it's not the same thing . . . I think.)

    I do think that many of these foregoing things (the balancing of current/future wants, the attacking of complex/long-term goals, the sense of personal agency or mastery) are too often parsed in common conversation in terms of abstract trait-like things such as "discipline", "willpower", "motivation", etc., that make it easy to believe that some people have those traits (or talents), and other people don't. That's not helpful.

    Personally, I think that what's really involved are in fact more like skills. Some people may have more preinstalled "natural talent" for some of them, but they're still skills that can be learned, practiced, improved, and potentially used in various scenarios . . . if one can figure out how to practice them. (Abstractions are hard. ;) ) Practicing things improves them, makes them sharper tools. I think that applies even to rather abstract skills like "patience" and "persistence" (yes, I think those are more skills than traits, too).

    So, I think there are things that can be learned or refined in the weight management scenario, that can potentially be transferrable to financial, professional, social, familial, etc., aspects of life. Also, vice versa, that skills learned in those domains potentially transfer to weight management and fitness, and make that more achievable.

    I don't think of any of it as a "core philosophy" at all, though. I think of it as a skill set, or techniques, or practices.

    (There were things hinted at in the other thread about perceived personal power, sense of agency, etc., that I think are kind of important in all of this, too, but I don't so far see a great jumping-off point in this thread. I also don't think that has anything with "core philosophy", either.)

    I didn't mean literally never achieving a goal, but talking to people who are on "the elevator going down" they often see themselves in this state. Despite many achievements in the past the lack of current goal accomplishments feels like an insurmountable hill which causes a terminal cascade of failure, depression, more failue.

    My original thought in going down this rabbit hole is to deconstruct the misinformation/disinformation (as I believe much of this to be intentional) and dispel much of the myth around other disciplines. That despite "common knowledge" success is achievable, but you have to know and understand the roadblocks set before you.

    Apologies as I'm writing this long before the idea is fully formed - just a connection I made within the original thread with some other books I'm reading.

    Dispelling the myth of natural talent is definitely a core concept/correction to a root cause.

    I think we disagree in material ways.

    I agree that there is much misinformation/disinformation (and suspect I agree with you about the general nature of maybe 80% of it).

    I agree that success is potentially achievable, and that understanding the roadblocks and finding levers for change is very important - essential, in fact. A gut sense that one has agency is very important (and that sense can grow over time with successful goal accomplishment). But success is never guaranteed, even to people who do all the right things. Some situations are completely intractable, in ways sometimes unforseeable. Failure despite amazing, insightful effort is a thing. Certain kinds of obstacles make that failure more likely. I suspect you'd say that failure is a form of learning, and that people who fail should adjust and soldier on. I don't disagree, but I think there are limits to what we can realistically expect of people.

    Also, I don't agree that natural talent is a myth. I think that some people have abilities with a strong genetic component, and/or an early-nurture component. For best success, they still need to develop/practice the related skills, but almost any given set of skills will come more easily to some people than to others. (There are child prodigies, right? Not many, but I think it's common sense and good observation to believe that there are also people with talents short of prodigy, but in excess of average.)

    I do think that many people overestimate the value of "talent" and "luck" in some other people's life stories, and underestimate the value of work and practice. (As just one example, I see people react to excellent art/craft objects some of my friends have made with "You have such talent" when I know very well that the craftsperson started from pretty close to zilch, and has worked very hard, over a very long time, to achieve that level of skill.) Work and practice is somewhat invisible to the outside observer.

    I think that many people use the ideas of "talent" and "luck" (unbeknownst even to themselves) as a cognitive out or dodge, in thinking about why they themselves are unable to achieve the same outcomes as the "lucky" "talented" people.

    Sometimes, actual talent (genetic or early-life disposition to a skill) can be a trap for the talented: Because they easily exceed the performance of those around them early on, they don't practice enough or learn enough to reach anything like their potential. They may even be bettered, in the long term, by a similarly-situated person of mediocre talent who is more focused and persistent at skill development. People who think they're good at something can be undermotivated to improve at it.

    So, talent is a thing IMO, but so is work, and taking responsibility for doing the work. The person with both - natural talent plus hard work - has the best odds of highest success. One or the other can get a person part way there (in an ill-defined sense of "there"). I'd guess that those half-a**ed cases are where actual luck (also a thing) may improve odds of success. Privilege, narrowly or broadly defined, is IMO a form of luck in this kind of scenario.

    Backing up a little, I also don't agree that "much of the misinformation/disinformation is intentional". I think this particular class of misinformation/disinformation is often an emergent property of cognitive dodges (like the one mentioned explicitly above) added to the arm-waving of hucksterism for quick fixes (which is often intentional, but sometimes just delusion on the part of the huckster . . . but even in the latter case, the audience has to have some psychological motivation to believe and be manipulated by the huckster). To put it in more starkly oversimplified/cartoonish terms, much of the misinformation/disinformation is about simple laziness on the part of all parties to the cognitive transaction, added to self-interest (maybe misguided self-interest) all around. I think this is true even if you're only talking about misinformation/disinformation in the diet and fitness realm.

    Stepping back still further, I'm feeling like you want to try to take things back to big principles that are abstract, generalized, kind of pure and universal. I think I like variation and situational reasoning and nuance and messiness, and dislike abstractions and universal principles. (I think that's part of what makes my posts so stinkin' rambling and non-pithy. :lol: ) To be more pointed, I think root causes (of nearly anything) are more likely to be very specific, and not about something as abstract as (say) "deferred gratification).

    Enough for now.

    I realize that amongst all topics finance is of the utmost taboo, so thanks for everyone for being respectful. 20 years of financial counseling and I find people will talk about their sex life easier than about money. Yet another behavior creating disparity.

    A key talking past point is the very defition of wealth. I see this as simple as spending less than one earns and gradually increasing over time. A benchmark being - did you do as well as or better than your parents?

    I find it insteresting that even in discussing this our minds turn immediately to the unforseen circumstances that cause us to fail. I've done the same for years and quesioning my own behavior. Would you mention this when coaching someone new to MFP, or would you instead prepare them mentally for the inevitable failure and that this isn't a short term goal, but a long one. I certainly recognize the setbacks, but believe these are incredibly overstated, especially when it comes to individuals. Statistics are useful in large populations, but meaningless when it comes to individuals. It does carry a massive psychological impact if I were to continually point out to a group that x% of them will fail, especially if I target a subset within that group. Part of my thinking when I brought up deliberate misinformation/disinformation.

    I believe that largely due to the lack of education regarding finance that even when people go about setting their house in order they expend a tremendous amount of energy and resources that make things worse, much like weight management. It creates a terminal cascade where the person gets quagmired.

    Regarding the misinformation/disinformation I find in very effective in identifying the root cause to follow motivation. I think you are correct in identifying laziness on all parties in not assessing the risk. Take the housing crisis for example - willing bankers knew to make profit in massive scale utilizing incredibly risky repo markets. Government coerced the same willing lenders to create high risk vehicles selling the American dream - your home. The same is occuring with education and student loan despite the demand never being able to meet supply in specific disciplines.

    Pith is much appreciated - it enables difficult conversations. TMI - I'm in the middle of pulling and replacing my septic sump, so would love some pith.

    I feel like almost every time when you paraphrase me or pick out some aspect to agree with, you are misunderstanding the main thrust of what I was trying to say. This suggests that possibly I'm not writing my thoughts clearly.

    In this particular case, just to choose one example, my use of the word "laziness" was intended in a very small sense - I used it once in a sentence that started "To put it in more starkly oversimplified/cartoonish terms . . .".

    My meaning had nothing to do with assessing risk, but rather more like folks being so busy and pulled in many directions that they're not necessarily paying attention, so easy cognitive defaults take over - yeah, the thing in question (diet and fitness, or whatever) may be important, but so are lots of things. So, we can end up not thinking very critically or analytically or independently about that thing. You've seemngly picked out "laziness" as a key element . . . maybe because it's important in your conceptual scheme here, I don't know. And I'm not understanding how the housing market or education or student loans relate to this, or to "deferred gratification", exactly.

    In any case, the bottom line is that I'm failing to communicate.

    Good luck with your septic pump! :)

    I believe I get it, but I'm doing the same and not effectively communicating either. I think the key is that we are both trying to understand one another's point of view.

    As background what prompted me to make the original post was largely due me being asked to open up a series of talks on personal finance and I've been pulling together a presentation based upon successful systems. I see several similarities between financial and caloric budget management.

    Have to admit a bit of confusion on how the base disagreement started here, but I was thinking of a person entering a sister site - "My Financial Pal" and what one would say to set them off on the best path. Delayed gratification was one of a few other characteristics I was investigating.

    In doing so I pulled data from several sites and articles and surprised that the chances of overcoming obesity are far worse than rising above/returning to poverty (which highlights the confirmation bias just being on this site). Despite this it would be incredibly demotivating to state that women have a 1 in 124 and men 1 in 210 chance of successfully losing weight and maintaining. Disturbing considering ~75% obesity in men and 60% obesity in adult women. I would love to see how MFP fares or the latest data from NWCR (I requested a data pull from both).

    Considering the same for poverty anywhere from 20% to 45% will experience poverty depending on the nuances within the US census data. On average per US census data 1 in 3 escape poverty with 2/3 returning within five years.

    If someone came to you for help would you hit them with all the statistics highlighting their chance of failure? I'm hitting a wall on the rationale behind this if the goal is to improve lives.
  • Annie_01Annie_01 Posts: 3,115Member Member Posts: 3,115Member Member
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    aokoye wrote: »
    To answer your question from the other thread - things like racism and sexism play into economic and educational disparities. If your family was not able to own property of any kind because there were laws against the books barring them from doing so, it's going to be awfully difficult to build generational wealth. Never mind biases that occur in hiring (and firing) practices. And then there's the whole segregation bit.

    The same is true for education which is also linked to where students live during their primary and secondary education. As I asked you in the previous thread, Lastly, how would you explain the fact that academia is overwhelmingly white? Is that about impulse control? If so, how so?

    And yes, I know multiple tenured and early career professors who are people of color, but they are not the norm in, among other places, the US, Canada, and Europe.
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    You've experienced this personally and this inhibited your success?

    Generational wealth is below 1% of the population, so I'm not sure what impact this has, especially considering that it is rarely maintained passed 2 generations. As wealth is an output of behavior the core principle of managing a budget still applies.

    Every discipline has challenges, both internal and external, but to only focus on challenges without offering a solution is a moot point.

    I've always found the entire concept of race fascinating, particular the obsession some have with it. I admittedly do not understand it as to obsess upon race defies all logic and rationale, unless your goal is to purposely divide and cause chaos.

    Not really the point of bringing up the relation of health and wealth, but a core theme to wealth and the common misunderstandings around it - nearly all the points you bring up and a myriad more. Just as in weight management it highlights the lack (some would say deliberate) of education around both subjects.

    I don't think we are all defining "generational wealth" the same. I believe it can be as simple as parents leaving their house to their kids. And if someone was prevented from buying a house, their descendants are disadvantaged.

    Ex: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levittown
    https://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/11/nyregion/memories-of-segregation-in-levittown.html
    ...From 1934 to 1962, less than 2 percent of the $120 billion in housing financing underwritten by the government went to minorities, while today, the net worth of the average black family is one-eighth that of its white counterpart, the film says.

    The U.S. Census Bureau recently released figures showing that the wealth disparity between black households and non-Hispanic white households as of 2015 (it takes them a while to crunch numbers, apparently) was more than 10 to 1 ($139,300 for non-Hispanic white households, $12,780 for black households -- median, not mean). That's what I would take wealth to mean -- what's on the bottom line of your household's balance sheet.

    https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2019/08/gaps-in-wealth-americans-by-household-type.html


    I don't understand attributing that disparity to a lack of impulse control rather than generations of economic discrimination, job discrimination, educational discrimination, credit redlining, and racial disparities in farm loans -- not to mention law enforcement and judicial systems that sometimes looked the other way if white people cheated, threatened, or outright stole from black people.
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I'm a little confused. This is a branch off another thread, but the OP here is a narrowed focus vs. all the many places the other thread went. It seems unwieldy to me to bring over other sub-threads that aren't clear in this new context. Because I'm a small woman of small mind, I'm going to stick with the OP in this thread, and see where the discussion goes from there. So:
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    As part of a separate topic discussing why marketers often mislead (whether purposefully or not) clients to focus on "shocking the system" and on the wrong solutions.

    As a core philosophy behind weight management - one eats within budget to ensure their weight is maintained over time. A sacrifice of one's present wants for a future goal.

    In speaking with other members on and off MFP I've noted a common trend, that at one point they believed a goal was impossible. It wasn't until they managed to achieve a small goal that their perception changed and the "impossible" became reality. This in turn carried over into other aspects of their lives.

    Does this core philosophy carry into other aspects of your life? Financially, professionally, academically, etc.

    For me, weight management is very much about balancing current wants with future wants or even needs. (Notice how I didn't use the word "sacrifice" in there? Probably intentional. ;) ). So, that general idea resonates with me.

    I can also relate to the idea of "budgeting" in a calorie/activity balancing situation.

    To me, neither of those is the same concept as "they believed that a goal was impossible. It wasn't until they managed to achieve a small goal that their perception changed and the "impossible" became reality. This in turn carried over into other aspects of their life."

    That part doesn't seem to (1) be the same idea as either of the other metaphors, (2) follow from them, or (3) frankly, even make sense to me.

    Is there anyone who's never achieved a goal? Um, maybe, but not many. And that was a big leap from a small goal to "the impossible" - kinda lost me.

    I do think that there are things to be learned on (for lack of better terms) both technical and psychological fronts, from goal accomplishment, especially accomplishment of complex or very long term goals.

    By "technical", I mean things like figuring out how to break a big goal (that might seem overwhelming) into smaller incremental goals, or how to identify small steps that move incrementally toward the big goal, or something along those lines. By "psychological", I mean things like figuring out out to feel rewarded and reinforced in the short run for doing things whose main or full benefits are far in the future.

    Under "psychological", at least for some people, I'd include developing (through success) a sense of mastery or agency that makes one feel like one has strengths one can bring to bear on other big goals in the future, so feel like big goals are in fact possible. (This vaguely has something to do with how I'd understand that paragraph that I said didn't make sense to me, but it's not the same thing . . . I think.)

    I do think that many of these foregoing things (the balancing of current/future wants, the attacking of complex/long-term goals, the sense of personal agency or mastery) are too often parsed in common conversation in terms of abstract trait-like things such as "discipline", "willpower", "motivation", etc., that make it easy to believe that some people have those traits (or talents), and other people don't. That's not helpful.

    Personally, I think that what's really involved are in fact more like skills. Some people may have more preinstalled "natural talent" for some of them, but they're still skills that can be learned, practiced, improved, and potentially used in various scenarios . . . if one can figure out how to practice them. (Abstractions are hard. ;) ) Practicing things improves them, makes them sharper tools. I think that applies even to rather abstract skills like "patience" and "persistence" (yes, I think those are more skills than traits, too).

    So, I think there are things that can be learned or refined in the weight management scenario, that can potentially be transferrable to financial, professional, social, familial, etc., aspects of life. Also, vice versa, that skills learned in those domains potentially transfer to weight management and fitness, and make that more achievable.

    I don't think of any of it as a "core philosophy" at all, though. I think of it as a skill set, or techniques, or practices.

    (There were things hinted at in the other thread about perceived personal power, sense of agency, etc., that I think are kind of important in all of this, too, but I don't so far see a great jumping-off point in this thread. I also don't think that has anything with "core philosophy", either.)

    I didn't mean literally never achieving a goal, but talking to people who are on "the elevator going down" they often see themselves in this state. Despite many achievements in the past the lack of current goal accomplishments feels like an insurmountable hill which causes a terminal cascade of failure, depression, more failue.

    My original thought in going down this rabbit hole is to deconstruct the misinformation/disinformation (as I believe much of this to be intentional) and dispel much of the myth around other disciplines. That despite "common knowledge" success is achievable, but you have to know and understand the roadblocks set before you.

    Apologies as I'm writing this long before the idea is fully formed - just a connection I made within the original thread with some other books I'm reading.

    Dispelling the myth of natural talent is definitely a core concept/correction to a root cause.

    I think we disagree in material ways.

    I agree that there is much misinformation/disinformation (and suspect I agree with you about the general nature of maybe 80% of it).

    I agree that success is potentially achievable, and that understanding the roadblocks and finding levers for change is very important - essential, in fact. A gut sense that one has agency is very important (and that sense can grow over time with successful goal accomplishment). But success is never guaranteed, even to people who do all the right things. Some situations are completely intractable, in ways sometimes unforseeable. Failure despite amazing, insightful effort is a thing. Certain kinds of obstacles make that failure more likely. I suspect you'd say that failure is a form of learning, and that people who fail should adjust and soldier on. I don't disagree, but I think there are limits to what we can realistically expect of people.

    Also, I don't agree that natural talent is a myth. I think that some people have abilities with a strong genetic component, and/or an early-nurture component. For best success, they still need to develop/practice the related skills, but almost any given set of skills will come more easily to some people than to others. (There are child prodigies, right? Not many, but I think it's common sense and good observation to believe that there are also people with talents short of prodigy, but in excess of average.)

    I do think that many people overestimate the value of "talent" and "luck" in some other people's life stories, and underestimate the value of work and practice. (As just one example, I see people react to excellent art/craft objects some of my friends have made with "You have such talent" when I know very well that the craftsperson started from pretty close to zilch, and has worked very hard, over a very long time, to achieve that level of skill.) Work and practice is somewhat invisible to the outside observer.

    I think that many people use the ideas of "talent" and "luck" (unbeknownst even to themselves) as a cognitive out or dodge, in thinking about why they themselves are unable to achieve the same outcomes as the "lucky" "talented" people.

    Sometimes, actual talent (genetic or early-life disposition to a skill) can be a trap for the talented: Because they easily exceed the performance of those around them early on, they don't practice enough or learn enough to reach anything like their potential. They may even be bettered, in the long term, by a similarly-situated person of mediocre talent who is more focused and persistent at skill development. People who think they're good at something can be undermotivated to improve at it.

    So, talent is a thing IMO, but so is work, and taking responsibility for doing the work. The person with both - natural talent plus hard work - has the best odds of highest success. One or the other can get a person part way there (in an ill-defined sense of "there"). I'd guess that those half-a**ed cases are where actual luck (also a thing) may improve odds of success. Privilege, narrowly or broadly defined, is IMO a form of luck in this kind of scenario.

    Backing up a little, I also don't agree that "much of the misinformation/disinformation is intentional". I think this particular class of misinformation/disinformation is often an emergent property of cognitive dodges (like the one mentioned explicitly above) added to the arm-waving of hucksterism for quick fixes (which is often intentional, but sometimes just delusion on the part of the huckster . . . but even in the latter case, the audience has to have some psychological motivation to believe and be manipulated by the huckster). To put it in more starkly oversimplified/cartoonish terms, much of the misinformation/disinformation is about simple laziness on the part of all parties to the cognitive transaction, added to self-interest (maybe misguided self-interest) all around. I think this is true even if you're only talking about misinformation/disinformation in the diet and fitness realm.

    Stepping back still further, I'm feeling like you want to try to take things back to big principles that are abstract, generalized, kind of pure and universal. I think I like variation and situational reasoning and nuance and messiness, and dislike abstractions and universal principles. (I think that's part of what makes my posts so stinkin' rambling and non-pithy. :lol: ) To be more pointed, I think root causes (of nearly anything) are more likely to be very specific, and not about something as abstract as (say) "deferred gratification).

    Enough for now.

    I realize that amongst all topics finance is of the utmost taboo, so thanks for everyone for being respectful. 20 years of financial counseling and I find people will talk about their sex life easier than about money. Yet another behavior creating disparity.

    A key talking past point is the very defition of wealth. I see this as simple as spending less than one earns and gradually increasing over time. A benchmark being - did you do as well as or better than your parents?

    I find it insteresting that even in discussing this our minds turn immediately to the unforseen circumstances that cause us to fail. I've done the same for years and quesioning my own behavior. Would you mention this when coaching someone new to MFP, or would you instead prepare them mentally for the inevitable failure and that this isn't a short term goal, but a long one. I certainly recognize the setbacks, but believe these are incredibly overstated, especially when it comes to individuals. Statistics are useful in large populations, but meaningless when it comes to individuals. It does carry a massive psychological impact if I were to continually point out to a group that x% of them will fail, especially if I target a subset within that group. Part of my thinking when I brought up deliberate misinformation/disinformation.

    I believe that largely due to the lack of education regarding finance that even when people go about setting their house in order they expend a tremendous amount of energy and resources that make things worse, much like weight management. It creates a terminal cascade where the person gets quagmired.

    Regarding the misinformation/disinformation I find in very effective in identifying the root cause to follow motivation. I think you are correct in identifying laziness on all parties in not assessing the risk. Take the housing crisis for example - willing bankers knew to make profit in massive scale utilizing incredibly risky repo markets. Government coerced the same willing lenders to create high risk vehicles selling the American dream - your home. The same is occuring with education and student loan despite the demand never being able to meet supply in specific disciplines.

    Pith is much appreciated - it enables difficult conversations. TMI - I'm in the middle of pulling and replacing my septic sump, so would love some pith.

    I feel like almost every time when you paraphrase me or pick out some aspect to agree with, you are misunderstanding the main thrust of what I was trying to say. This suggests that possibly I'm not writing my thoughts clearly.

    In this particular case, just to choose one example, my use of the word "laziness" was intended in a very small sense - I used it once in a sentence that started "To put it in more starkly oversimplified/cartoonish terms . . .".

    My meaning had nothing to do with assessing risk, but rather more like folks being so busy and pulled in many directions that they're not necessarily paying attention, so easy cognitive defaults take over - yeah, the thing in question (diet and fitness, or whatever) may be important, but so are lots of things. So, we can end up not thinking very critically or analytically or independently about that thing. You've seemngly picked out "laziness" as a key element . . . maybe because it's important in your conceptual scheme here, I don't know. And I'm not understanding how the housing market or education or student loans relate to this, or to "deferred gratification", exactly.

    In any case, the bottom line is that I'm failing to communicate.

    Good luck with your septic pump! :)

    I believe I get it, but I'm doing the same and not effectively communicating either. I think the key is that we are both trying to understand one another's point of view.

    As background what prompted me to make the original post was largely due me being asked to open up a series of talks on personal finance and I've been pulling together a presentation based upon successful systems. I see several similarities between financial and caloric budget management.

    Have to admit a bit of confusion on how the base disagreement started here, but I was thinking of a person entering a sister site - "My Financial Pal" and what one would say to set them off on the best path. Delayed gratification was one of a few other characteristics I was investigating.

    In doing so I pulled data from several sites and articles and surprised that the chances of overcoming obesity are far worse than rising above/returning to poverty (which highlights the confirmation bias just being on this site). Despite this it would be incredibly demotivating to state that women have a 1 in 124 and men 1 in 210 chance of successfully losing weight and maintaining. Disturbing considering ~75% obesity in men and 60% obesity in adult women. I would love to see how MFP fares or the latest data from NWCR (I requested a data pull from both).

    Considering the same for poverty anywhere from 20% to 45% will experience poverty depending on the nuances within the US census data. On average per US census data 1 in 3 escape poverty with 2/3 returning within five years.

    If someone came to you for help would you hit them with all the statistics highlighting their chance of failure? I'm hitting a wall on the rationale behind this if the goal is to improve lives.

    For me personally...my chances of success regardless of want I want to achieve is to concentrate on the positive...I need to believe that I can succeed. It is not that I want to be in the dark about obstacles that I might face but IMO attitude plays a big aspect to success. If I go into something knowing that the failure rate is high and the success rate is low then there is this doubt that creeps in my mind. That doubt becomes even more prevalent when obstacles are having to be faced.

    On the other hand...I don't want people pushing false hopes either. Some people can make you believe that a pig sty is a palace. Give me the truth but also give me the tools to help me succeed.

  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Posts: 12,127Member Member Posts: 12,127Member Member
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    aokoye wrote: »
    To answer your question from the other thread - things like racism and sexism play into economic and educational disparities. If your family was not able to own property of any kind because there were laws against the books barring them from doing so, it's going to be awfully difficult to build generational wealth. Never mind biases that occur in hiring (and firing) practices. And then there's the whole segregation bit.

    The same is true for education which is also linked to where students live during their primary and secondary education. As I asked you in the previous thread, Lastly, how would you explain the fact that academia is overwhelmingly white? Is that about impulse control? If so, how so?

    And yes, I know multiple tenured and early career professors who are people of color, but they are not the norm in, among other places, the US, Canada, and Europe.
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    You've experienced this personally and this inhibited your success?

    Generational wealth is below 1% of the population, so I'm not sure what impact this has, especially considering that it is rarely maintained passed 2 generations. As wealth is an output of behavior the core principle of managing a budget still applies.

    Every discipline has challenges, both internal and external, but to only focus on challenges without offering a solution is a moot point.

    I've always found the entire concept of race fascinating, particular the obsession some have with it. I admittedly do not understand it as to obsess upon race defies all logic and rationale, unless your goal is to purposely divide and cause chaos.

    Not really the point of bringing up the relation of health and wealth, but a core theme to wealth and the common misunderstandings around it - nearly all the points you bring up and a myriad more. Just as in weight management it highlights the lack (some would say deliberate) of education around both subjects.

    I don't think we are all defining "generational wealth" the same. I believe it can be as simple as parents leaving their house to their kids. And if someone was prevented from buying a house, their descendants are disadvantaged.

    Ex: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levittown
    https://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/11/nyregion/memories-of-segregation-in-levittown.html
    ...From 1934 to 1962, less than 2 percent of the $120 billion in housing financing underwritten by the government went to minorities, while today, the net worth of the average black family is one-eighth that of its white counterpart, the film says.

    The U.S. Census Bureau recently released figures showing that the wealth disparity between black households and non-Hispanic white households as of 2015 (it takes them a while to crunch numbers, apparently) was more than 10 to 1 ($139,300 for non-Hispanic white households, $12,780 for black households -- median, not mean). That's what I would take wealth to mean -- what's on the bottom line of your household's balance sheet.

    https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2019/08/gaps-in-wealth-americans-by-household-type.html


    I don't understand attributing that disparity to a lack of impulse control rather than generations of economic discrimination, job discrimination, educational discrimination, credit redlining, and racial disparities in farm loans -- not to mention law enforcement and judicial systems that sometimes looked the other way if white people cheated, threatened, or outright stole from black people.
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I'm a little confused. This is a branch off another thread, but the OP here is a narrowed focus vs. all the many places the other thread went. It seems unwieldy to me to bring over other sub-threads that aren't clear in this new context. Because I'm a small woman of small mind, I'm going to stick with the OP in this thread, and see where the discussion goes from there. So:
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    As part of a separate topic discussing why marketers often mislead (whether purposefully or not) clients to focus on "shocking the system" and on the wrong solutions.

    As a core philosophy behind weight management - one eats within budget to ensure their weight is maintained over time. A sacrifice of one's present wants for a future goal.

    In speaking with other members on and off MFP I've noted a common trend, that at one point they believed a goal was impossible. It wasn't until they managed to achieve a small goal that their perception changed and the "impossible" became reality. This in turn carried over into other aspects of their lives.

    Does this core philosophy carry into other aspects of your life? Financially, professionally, academically, etc.

    For me, weight management is very much about balancing current wants with future wants or even needs. (Notice how I didn't use the word "sacrifice" in there? Probably intentional. ;) ). So, that general idea resonates with me.

    I can also relate to the idea of "budgeting" in a calorie/activity balancing situation.

    To me, neither of those is the same concept as "they believed that a goal was impossible. It wasn't until they managed to achieve a small goal that their perception changed and the "impossible" became reality. This in turn carried over into other aspects of their life."

    That part doesn't seem to (1) be the same idea as either of the other metaphors, (2) follow from them, or (3) frankly, even make sense to me.

    Is there anyone who's never achieved a goal? Um, maybe, but not many. And that was a big leap from a small goal to "the impossible" - kinda lost me.

    I do think that there are things to be learned on (for lack of better terms) both technical and psychological fronts, from goal accomplishment, especially accomplishment of complex or very long term goals.

    By "technical", I mean things like figuring out how to break a big goal (that might seem overwhelming) into smaller incremental goals, or how to identify small steps that move incrementally toward the big goal, or something along those lines. By "psychological", I mean things like figuring out out to feel rewarded and reinforced in the short run for doing things whose main or full benefits are far in the future.

    Under "psychological", at least for some people, I'd include developing (through success) a sense of mastery or agency that makes one feel like one has strengths one can bring to bear on other big goals in the future, so feel like big goals are in fact possible. (This vaguely has something to do with how I'd understand that paragraph that I said didn't make sense to me, but it's not the same thing . . . I think.)

    I do think that many of these foregoing things (the balancing of current/future wants, the attacking of complex/long-term goals, the sense of personal agency or mastery) are too often parsed in common conversation in terms of abstract trait-like things such as "discipline", "willpower", "motivation", etc., that make it easy to believe that some people have those traits (or talents), and other people don't. That's not helpful.

    Personally, I think that what's really involved are in fact more like skills. Some people may have more preinstalled "natural talent" for some of them, but they're still skills that can be learned, practiced, improved, and potentially used in various scenarios . . . if one can figure out how to practice them. (Abstractions are hard. ;) ) Practicing things improves them, makes them sharper tools. I think that applies even to rather abstract skills like "patience" and "persistence" (yes, I think those are more skills than traits, too).

    So, I think there are things that can be learned or refined in the weight management scenario, that can potentially be transferrable to financial, professional, social, familial, etc., aspects of life. Also, vice versa, that skills learned in those domains potentially transfer to weight management and fitness, and make that more achievable.

    I don't think of any of it as a "core philosophy" at all, though. I think of it as a skill set, or techniques, or practices.

    (There were things hinted at in the other thread about perceived personal power, sense of agency, etc., that I think are kind of important in all of this, too, but I don't so far see a great jumping-off point in this thread. I also don't think that has anything with "core philosophy", either.)

    I didn't mean literally never achieving a goal, but talking to people who are on "the elevator going down" they often see themselves in this state. Despite many achievements in the past the lack of current goal accomplishments feels like an insurmountable hill which causes a terminal cascade of failure, depression, more failue.

    My original thought in going down this rabbit hole is to deconstruct the misinformation/disinformation (as I believe much of this to be intentional) and dispel much of the myth around other disciplines. That despite "common knowledge" success is achievable, but you have to know and understand the roadblocks set before you.

    Apologies as I'm writing this long before the idea is fully formed - just a connection I made within the original thread with some other books I'm reading.

    Dispelling the myth of natural talent is definitely a core concept/correction to a root cause.

    I think we disagree in material ways.

    I agree that there is much misinformation/disinformation (and suspect I agree with you about the general nature of maybe 80% of it).

    I agree that success is potentially achievable, and that understanding the roadblocks and finding levers for change is very important - essential, in fact. A gut sense that one has agency is very important (and that sense can grow over time with successful goal accomplishment). But success is never guaranteed, even to people who do all the right things. Some situations are completely intractable, in ways sometimes unforseeable. Failure despite amazing, insightful effort is a thing. Certain kinds of obstacles make that failure more likely. I suspect you'd say that failure is a form of learning, and that people who fail should adjust and soldier on. I don't disagree, but I think there are limits to what we can realistically expect of people.

    Also, I don't agree that natural talent is a myth. I think that some people have abilities with a strong genetic component, and/or an early-nurture component. For best success, they still need to develop/practice the related skills, but almost any given set of skills will come more easily to some people than to others. (There are child prodigies, right? Not many, but I think it's common sense and good observation to believe that there are also people with talents short of prodigy, but in excess of average.)

    I do think that many people overestimate the value of "talent" and "luck" in some other people's life stories, and underestimate the value of work and practice. (As just one example, I see people react to excellent art/craft objects some of my friends have made with "You have such talent" when I know very well that the craftsperson started from pretty close to zilch, and has worked very hard, over a very long time, to achieve that level of skill.) Work and practice is somewhat invisible to the outside observer.

    I think that many people use the ideas of "talent" and "luck" (unbeknownst even to themselves) as a cognitive out or dodge, in thinking about why they themselves are unable to achieve the same outcomes as the "lucky" "talented" people.

    Sometimes, actual talent (genetic or early-life disposition to a skill) can be a trap for the talented: Because they easily exceed the performance of those around them early on, they don't practice enough or learn enough to reach anything like their potential. They may even be bettered, in the long term, by a similarly-situated person of mediocre talent who is more focused and persistent at skill development. People who think they're good at something can be undermotivated to improve at it.

    So, talent is a thing IMO, but so is work, and taking responsibility for doing the work. The person with both - natural talent plus hard work - has the best odds of highest success. One or the other can get a person part way there (in an ill-defined sense of "there"). I'd guess that those half-a**ed cases are where actual luck (also a thing) may improve odds of success. Privilege, narrowly or broadly defined, is IMO a form of luck in this kind of scenario.

    Backing up a little, I also don't agree that "much of the misinformation/disinformation is intentional". I think this particular class of misinformation/disinformation is often an emergent property of cognitive dodges (like the one mentioned explicitly above) added to the arm-waving of hucksterism for quick fixes (which is often intentional, but sometimes just delusion on the part of the huckster . . . but even in the latter case, the audience has to have some psychological motivation to believe and be manipulated by the huckster). To put it in more starkly oversimplified/cartoonish terms, much of the misinformation/disinformation is about simple laziness on the part of all parties to the cognitive transaction, added to self-interest (maybe misguided self-interest) all around. I think this is true even if you're only talking about misinformation/disinformation in the diet and fitness realm.

    Stepping back still further, I'm feeling like you want to try to take things back to big principles that are abstract, generalized, kind of pure and universal. I think I like variation and situational reasoning and nuance and messiness, and dislike abstractions and universal principles. (I think that's part of what makes my posts so stinkin' rambling and non-pithy. :lol: ) To be more pointed, I think root causes (of nearly anything) are more likely to be very specific, and not about something as abstract as (say) "deferred gratification).

    Enough for now.

    I realize that amongst all topics finance is of the utmost taboo, so thanks for everyone for being respectful. 20 years of financial counseling and I find people will talk about their sex life easier than about money. Yet another behavior creating disparity.

    A key talking past point is the very defition of wealth. I see this as simple as spending less than one earns and gradually increasing over time. A benchmark being - did you do as well as or better than your parents?

    I find it insteresting that even in discussing this our minds turn immediately to the unforseen circumstances that cause us to fail. I've done the same for years and quesioning my own behavior. Would you mention this when coaching someone new to MFP, or would you instead prepare them mentally for the inevitable failure and that this isn't a short term goal, but a long one. I certainly recognize the setbacks, but believe these are incredibly overstated, especially when it comes to individuals. Statistics are useful in large populations, but meaningless when it comes to individuals. It does carry a massive psychological impact if I were to continually point out to a group that x% of them will fail, especially if I target a subset within that group. Part of my thinking when I brought up deliberate misinformation/disinformation.

    I believe that largely due to the lack of education regarding finance that even when people go about setting their house in order they expend a tremendous amount of energy and resources that make things worse, much like weight management. It creates a terminal cascade where the person gets quagmired.

    Regarding the misinformation/disinformation I find in very effective in identifying the root cause to follow motivation. I think you are correct in identifying laziness on all parties in not assessing the risk. Take the housing crisis for example - willing bankers knew to make profit in massive scale utilizing incredibly risky repo markets. Government coerced the same willing lenders to create high risk vehicles selling the American dream - your home. The same is occuring with education and student loan despite the demand never being able to meet supply in specific disciplines.

    Pith is much appreciated - it enables difficult conversations. TMI - I'm in the middle of pulling and replacing my septic sump, so would love some pith.

    I feel like almost every time when you paraphrase me or pick out some aspect to agree with, you are misunderstanding the main thrust of what I was trying to say. This suggests that possibly I'm not writing my thoughts clearly.

    In this particular case, just to choose one example, my use of the word "laziness" was intended in a very small sense - I used it once in a sentence that started "To put it in more starkly oversimplified/cartoonish terms . . .".

    My meaning had nothing to do with assessing risk, but rather more like folks being so busy and pulled in many directions that they're not necessarily paying attention, so easy cognitive defaults take over - yeah, the thing in question (diet and fitness, or whatever) may be important, but so are lots of things. So, we can end up not thinking very critically or analytically or independently about that thing. You've seemngly picked out "laziness" as a key element . . . maybe because it's important in your conceptual scheme here, I don't know. And I'm not understanding how the housing market or education or student loans relate to this, or to "deferred gratification", exactly.

    In any case, the bottom line is that I'm failing to communicate.

    Good luck with your septic pump! :)

    I believe I get it, but I'm doing the same and not effectively communicating either. I think the key is that we are both trying to understand one another's point of view.

    As background what prompted me to make the original post was largely due me being asked to open up a series of talks on personal finance and I've been pulling together a presentation based upon successful systems. I see several similarities between financial and caloric budget management.

    Have to admit a bit of confusion on how the base disagreement started here, but I was thinking of a person entering a sister site - "My Financial Pal" and what one would say to set them off on the best path. Delayed gratification was one of a few other characteristics I was investigating.

    In doing so I pulled data from several sites and articles and surprised that the chances of overcoming obesity are far worse than rising above/returning to poverty (which highlights the confirmation bias just being on this site). Despite this it would be incredibly demotivating to state that women have a 1 in 124 and men 1 in 210 chance of successfully losing weight and maintaining. Disturbing considering ~75% obesity in men and 60% obesity in adult women. I would love to see how MFP fares or the latest data from NWCR (I requested a data pull from both).

    Considering the same for poverty anywhere from 20% to 45% will experience poverty depending on the nuances within the US census data. On average per US census data 1 in 3 escape poverty with 2/3 returning within five years.

    If someone came to you for help would you hit them with all the statistics highlighting their chance of failure? I'm hitting a wall on the rationale behind this if the goal is to improve lives.

    My intention, eventually, is to try to give you a fuller and more thoughtful answer (I think you're smart, knowledgeable, analytic . . . but your cognitive style and philosophy are mega different from mine, so it's a learning opportunity for me). Right now, I'm time and cognition strapped.

    Two quick reactions: Track record suggests I can do (mostly) intuitive finance and budgeting, but can't do intuitive eating. So I think they're not the same, somehow. There is a common skillset . . . but maybe (hah!) different conveyors? (I come from genius blue collar, kinda low income money people, but they had weight struggles.)

    (Shifting topics!)

    I'd suggest sharing the failure stats, but picking at the "why" and potential counter-strategies: Try (to an extreme) to get your audience to brainstorm those, but come with some prompts in your back pocket if they come up dry after extensive silence. Silence - long silence ;) - in groups/seminars, is powerful.

    They need to beat the odds, to succeed, right? Would you play a poker game without understanding the odds?
  • CSARdiverCSARdiver Posts: 6,084Member Member Posts: 6,084Member Member
    I've been asked to present to three groups in the SE Wisconsin area - all very diverse groups, so making sure I include connecting points to everyone.

    What I've done traditionally is present the tactics - as @lynn_glenmont states with limited success. I works in the short term, but just as in weight loss if there's not some larger goal, people trend towards past habits. So presenting at several levels or order - core concept, strategies, and tactics to cover the immediate, short term, and long term. Following Maslow's Hierarchy this is tailored to the individual with teams to get people action based upon risk.

    I've collected a good deal of data on the helpful tips and how successful these were or how important individuals believed them to be. Just as in weight management - the core concept of CICO is simple, but the trick is in how it's implemented and what works for the individual.

    I wasn't going to include the larger statistical data, but having found the comparative rate between poverty and obesity I think I am, but setting this up as advanced planning for failure and that one derailment does not mean the end. @Annie_01 I agree and think the same way. I want to know all the gory details before tackling anything.

    @AnnPT77 Your comment on intuitive spending/intuitive eating resonates with me and something I refer to often. It's rather easy to intuitive spend by comparison as the numbers are real, accurate, and concrete (although less so with the increase of virtual money management and credit). I reject the notion of intuitive eating and see this as a myth, so at the core people think that there is something wrong with them when they cannot manage weight, when this is fundamentally untrue. We are simply in a period of abundance. I've been thinking of including something like this is the discussion, but it derails - perhaps an after hours observation.

    ....and love the "Why?" and long silences - great tactic to get people to think outside their normal grooves.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Posts: 12,127Member Member Posts: 12,127Member Member
    Warning: Ill-focused ramble coming. Read at your own risk. :flowerforyou:

    I feel like focusing on the term "deferred gratification" is not a good plan (even though I might've been first to use in the two threads, shorthand-wise, by bringing in the SME, which was kind of a red herring or red flag to a metaphorical bull, or something bull, anyway).

    But I do think the tradeoff between long-term and short-term goals is a meaningful thing to consider. For one, looking at it that way is less offensive (i.e., doesn't so inherently set off the negative implications that @lynn_glenmont outlined so well).

    Favoring the short-term (vivid) over the long term (distant/theoretical), and over-reacting to immediate circumstances rather than fully considering longer-term issues and trends: Those are things that humans tend to struggle with across a variety of domains, and it applies to personal finance across all income classes in one way or another.

    Examples: People who get into the stock market when indexes are all high and frothy and everyone's talking about them, drop out of it disappointed at the inevitable trough, then (burned) take their remaining bucks into money market funds or savings accounts or put it under the mattress during the historically-predictable recovery that follows. People who don't want to "fail to enjoy life because uncle Joe died before retirement" (I exaggerate slightly), so take expensive vacations every year at the 'cost' of retirement savings (even matched 401k/403b/etc.!), without ever doing the math about maybe a really nice but not top-tier vacation, combined with a bit more retirement sock-away (with employer match). BTW: I'm not blue-skying about silly rich people here. I'm talking about actual people I actually know: Friends, co-workers, relatives, regular blue-collar and white-collar middle-income working people.

    One of my co-workers even borrowed against his 403b to add rooms to his house (family size didn't change, they just wanted more room). He figured, as far as I could tell, that he'd have to keep working forever anyway because retirement was always a pipe dream, so he might as well have a comfy house to live in. This was a smart guy, good worker, but with a tendency toward conceptual myopia in some realms, one of which was (IMO) personal finance.

    Same guy, BTW, would pretty much always take his roughly day-a-month sick time as it was earned (often on a Monday ;) ) then sadly had to go on multi-week upaid leave when his newborn son tragically needed emergency surgery and extended ICU for a heart issue (we had good health bennies, fortunately, but he risked losing a month of that due to absences, if we hadn't made sure to keep him within the lines on that. (I was his immediate manager BTW.) (I'd add that we could accumulate sick time for literally our whole career if we didn't use it, plus we got a 50% payout for our balance up to some crazy-high number of hours (1100, maybe?) at retirement, at hourly equivalent of final salary. Despite taking a boatload of sick time off during that inconvenient cancer-treatment hobby I had that one year, I still got a nice check at separation.)

    Health risks through poor nutrition or overeating or overdrinking (short of addiction, which is a different animal) fall into this present-desires-centric pattern.

    I have no idea how to shift that thinking, even in myself. I'd observe that people are usually more influenced by vivid first-person stories/case-studies, and less influenced by evidence and statistics.

    This may be counter to your personal cognitive style **, but take a look at popular magazines (I'm most familiar to those aimed at female homemakers, but it's not unique to them): They often start with a vivid case study (including a person's full name, even if "changed to protect privacy" ;) , and include 'irrelevant' personal details about the person, to make them more relatable).

    After setting up that story that the reader can empathize with and relate to - maybe just the "problem" part of the story - the articles start bringing in statistics/experts' quotes (personalizing the experts with names and personal details, often, too ;) ), plus probably somewhere along the way some other relateable individuals' experiences (more names, direct quotes, details), then circle back to how the initial relateable person solved his/her problem in ways that illustrate and exploit the stats and experts' ideas (vivid specifics in the solution part, as well).

    Stories! ;)

    I also would say that most people are torn in lots of directions, and modern life is very cognitively complex (too complex for even intelligent people to know basic things that it would be helpful for them to know, in all the realms they need to deal with). Therefore, many decisions people make are not really decisions at all, but rather simply the people doing things that they think are the normal, standard things to do in their circumstances, without really analyzing details (aside: these are conveyor belts, in the sense of my previous post on that point (maybe in the other thread? don't recall)). So, part of the issue is to somehow kick ourselves (or others) out of a default pattern, to turn the autopilot off and really learn about and think analytically about what we're doing.

    So, if all of our friends are buzzing about going low carb to lose weight, and all those mags in the grocery line are blasting about the magic of keto, odds are really high that a lot of us will think that's the latest and best way to lose weight, and we'll set off looking for info about how to do it (which sources will reinforce its goodness and necessity), and we're off to the races. Odds of looking into alternatives to it are much lower.

    (Since this is MFP, I'll note for other readers that I think low carb and keto are perfectly valid strategies for weight loss, literally necessary for some, helpful for some others. It just happens to be the thing that's on the tabloid covers lately. A while back, I think it was Paleo that was all trumpeted about, years back it was low fat, South Beach did a turn, I think volumetrics had a brief run, etc. It's always something that's hitting the most headlines; it isn't that the trumpeted methods are bad or wrong, just that they're not the exclusive magic the popularizers would have you think.)

    Similarly, if your parents were hesitant to use debt to pay for consumables (vs. assets) or at all, you might be likely to do that by default. Otherwise, you might be heavily influenced by advertising of credit sources, and by knowing that your neighbors are ramping up debt annually to fund vacations or whatever. (As an aside, I think one of the ways advertising really works is to create an impression that "all the happy pretty successful people do X" so we'll do X, too, kind of on autopilot. Humans, IMO, are very norm-driven, unless something kicks us out of the rut.)

    A helpful thing, I suspect, when trying to get others out of autopilot mode (and maybe ourselves, as well), is to exploit the fact that many of us also like to feel like rebels or iconoclasts, or like we have insider information that other people don't have (the popular diets do this ;) despite being talked about everywhere, which is kind of a fun trick). Some of the financial popularizers do a bit of this, I think: Dave Ramsey, Kiyosaki, some of the frugal investing advocates, etc.

    On both diet and financial fronts (and I'm sure others), I think there are also simple facts that don't sink in unless someone really highlights them, that can provide a bit of a kick, too. It's easier to give examples on the financial front. Think about the number of people who thought they saved money (overall) when they had a mortgage, because they could deduct the interest on their income taxes and get a bigger refund. (The parts of the equation are separated in time, most people don't see the total dollar net all in one place at one time, etc.). Same effect in the appeal of cash-back credit cards, where you get 1% or 2% (under fine-print conditions) cash back but pay multi-percent interest if you don't pay off your balance. Another is the part of mortgage amortization where quite a number of smart people to whom I've spoken didn't seem to realize that there was a phase where for the price of a pizza or two a month, they could avoid hundreds to thousands of dollars of future interest expense and/or cut the effective loan period much faster than month for month.

    Some of what's behind all of this is that most of us, going back to elementary school, are/were bad at "story problems" in the first place: I certainly heard peers whining about how we weren't ever going to have to figure out the closing distance between speeding trains in real life. Which is true . . . but adult life really is a huge series of story problems, on diverse topics, some of them really high stakes (investing, mortgage and other debt, calorie counting, drug/supplement side effects and benefits, behavioral health risks . . . .).

    Heading off on another tangent, have you ever read "Portfolios of the Poor" (by Collins, Morduch, Rutherford, Ruthven)? It's an analysis of year-long financial diaries of slum-dwellers world-wide who lived on <$2 a day, and their financial strategizing . . . which is often much more nuanced and suitable than strategies espoused by well-meaning "experts" who lack a clear understanding of the contingencies that surround their decision-making, and which falsely make it appear irrational or random to outside observers.

    @CSARdiver , I think the above ramble is not really on-point to the specific question in your OP on this thread, but is consistent with the larger theme about marketing, misleading, conceptual traps, etc., that bear on many people's behavior (mine, certainly) related to both diet/fitness and personal finance.

    ** It's not my cognitive style either, really, but I'm also not usually sold by pure statistics, either, so I'm not pretending "special rationality" here, just quirky irrationality. :lol:
  • CSARdiverCSARdiver Posts: 6,084Member Member Posts: 6,084Member Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Warning: Ill-focused ramble coming. Read at your own risk. :flowerforyou:

    I feel like focusing on the term "deferred gratification" is not a good plan (even though I might've been first to use in the two threads, shorthand-wise, by bringing in the SME, which was kind of a red herring or red flag to a metaphorical bull, or something bull, anyway).

    But I do think the tradeoff between long-term and short-term goals is a meaningful thing to consider. For one, looking at it that way is less offensive (i.e., doesn't so inherently set off the negative implications that @lynn_glenmont outlined so well).

    Favoring the short-term (vivid) over the long term (distant/theoretical), and over-reacting to immediate circumstances rather than fully considering longer-term issues and trends: Those are things that humans tend to struggle with across a variety of domains, and it applies to personal finance across all income classes in one way or another.

    Examples: People who get into the stock market when indexes are all high and frothy and everyone's talking about them, drop out of it disappointed at the inevitable trough, then (burned) take their remaining bucks into money market funds or savings accounts or put it under the mattress during the historically-predictable recovery that follows. People who don't want to "fail to enjoy life because uncle Joe died before retirement" (I exaggerate slightly), so take expensive vacations every year at the 'cost' of retirement savings (even matched 401k/403b/etc.!), without ever doing the math about maybe a really nice but not top-tier vacation, combined with a bit more retirement sock-away (with employer match). BTW: I'm not blue-skying about silly rich people here. I'm talking about actual people I actually know: Friends, co-workers, relatives, regular blue-collar and white-collar middle-income working people.

    One of my co-workers even borrowed against his 403b to add rooms to his house (family size didn't change, they just wanted more room). He figured, as far as I could tell, that he'd have to keep working forever anyway because retirement was always a pipe dream, so he might as well have a comfy house to live in. This was a smart guy, good worker, but with a tendency toward conceptual myopia in some realms, one of which was (IMO) personal finance.

    Same guy, BTW, would pretty much always take his roughly day-a-month sick time as it was earned (often on a Monday ;) ) then sadly had to go on multi-week upaid leave when his newborn son tragically needed emergency surgery and extended ICU for a heart issue (we had good health bennies, fortunately, but he risked losing a month of that due to absences, if we hadn't made sure to keep him within the lines on that. (I was his immediate manager BTW.) (I'd add that we could accumulate sick time for literally our whole career if we didn't use it, plus we got a 50% payout for our balance up to some crazy-high number of hours (1100, maybe?) at retirement, at hourly equivalent of final salary. Despite taking a boatload of sick time off during that inconvenient cancer-treatment hobby I had that one year, I still got a nice check at separation.)

    Health risks through poor nutrition or overeating or overdrinking (short of addiction, which is a different animal) fall into this present-desires-centric pattern.

    I have no idea how to shift that thinking, even in myself. I'd observe that people are usually more influenced by vivid first-person stories/case-studies, and less influenced by evidence and statistics.

    This may be counter to your personal cognitive style **, but take a look at popular magazines (I'm most familiar to those aimed at female homemakers, but it's not unique to them): They often start with a vivid case study (including a person's full name, even if "changed to protect privacy" ;) , and include 'irrelevant' personal details about the person, to make them more relatable).

    After setting up that story that the reader can empathize with and relate to - maybe just the "problem" part of the story - the articles start bringing in statistics/experts' quotes (personalizing the experts with names and personal details, often, too ;) ), plus probably somewhere along the way some other relateable individuals' experiences (more names, direct quotes, details), then circle back to how the initial relateable person solved his/her problem in ways that illustrate and exploit the stats and experts' ideas (vivid specifics in the solution part, as well).

    Stories! ;)

    I also would say that most people are torn in lots of directions, and modern life is very cognitively complex (too complex for even intelligent people to know basic things that it would be helpful for them to know, in all the realms they need to deal with). Therefore, many decisions people make are not really decisions at all, but rather simply the people doing things that they think are the normal, standard things to do in their circumstances, without really analyzing details (aside: these are conveyor belts, in the sense of my previous post on that point (maybe in the other thread? don't recall)). So, part of the issue is to somehow kick ourselves (or others) out of a default pattern, to turn the autopilot off and really learn about and think analytically about what we're doing.

    So, if all of our friends are buzzing about going low carb to lose weight, and all those mags in the grocery line are blasting about the magic of keto, odds are really high that a lot of us will think that's the latest and best way to lose weight, and we'll set off looking for info about how to do it (which sources will reinforce its goodness and necessity), and we're off to the races. Odds of looking into alternatives to it are much lower.

    (Since this is MFP, I'll note for other readers that I think low carb and keto are perfectly valid strategies for weight loss, literally necessary for some, helpful for some others. It just happens to be the thing that's on the tabloid covers lately. A while back, I think it was Paleo that was all trumpeted about, years back it was low fat, South Beach did a turn, I think volumetrics had a brief run, etc. It's always something that's hitting the most headlines; it isn't that the trumpeted methods are bad or wrong, just that they're not the exclusive magic the popularizers would have you think.)

    Similarly, if your parents were hesitant to use debt to pay for consumables (vs. assets) or at all, you might be likely to do that by default. Otherwise, you might be heavily influenced by advertising of credit sources, and by knowing that your neighbors are ramping up debt annually to fund vacations or whatever. (As an aside, I think one of the ways advertising really works is to create an impression that "all the happy pretty successful people do X" so we'll do X, too, kind of on autopilot. Humans, IMO, are very norm-driven, unless something kicks us out of the rut.)

    A helpful thing, I suspect, when trying to get others out of autopilot mode (and maybe ourselves, as well), is to exploit the fact that many of us also like to feel like rebels or iconoclasts, or like we have insider information that other people don't have (the popular diets do this ;) despite being talked about everywhere, which is kind of a fun trick). Some of the financial popularizers do a bit of this, I think: Dave Ramsey, Kiyosaki, some of the frugal investing advocates, etc.

    On both diet and financial fronts (and I'm sure others), I think there are also simple facts that don't sink in unless someone really highlights them, that can provide a bit of a kick, too. It's easier to give examples on the financial front. Think about the number of people who thought they saved money (overall) when they had a mortgage, because they could deduct the interest on their income taxes and get a bigger refund. (The parts of the equation are separated in time, most people don't see the total dollar net all in one place at one time, etc.). Same effect in the appeal of cash-back credit cards, where you get 1% or 2% (under fine-print conditions) cash back but pay multi-percent interest if you don't pay off your balance. Another is the part of mortgage amortization where quite a number of smart people to whom I've spoken didn't seem to realize that there was a phase where for the price of a pizza or two a month, they could avoid hundreds to thousands of dollars of future interest expense and/or cut the effective loan period much faster than month for month.

    Some of what's behind all of this is that most of us, going back to elementary school, are/were bad at "story problems" in the first place: I certainly heard peers whining about how we weren't ever going to have to figure out the closing distance between speeding trains in real life. Which is true . . . but adult life really is a huge series of story problems, on diverse topics, some of them really high stakes (investing, mortgage and other debt, calorie counting, drug/supplement side effects and benefits, behavioral health risks . . . .).

    Heading off on another tangent, have you ever read "Portfolios of the Poor" (by Collins, Morduch, Rutherford, Ruthven)? It's an analysis of year-long financial diaries of slum-dwellers world-wide who lived on <$2 a day, and their financial strategizing . . . which is often much more nuanced and suitable than strategies espoused by well-meaning "experts" who lack a clear understanding of the contingencies that surround their decision-making, and which falsely make it appear irrational or random to outside observers.

    @CSARdiver , I think the above ramble is not really on-point to the specific question in your OP on this thread, but is consistent with the larger theme about marketing, misleading, conceptual traps, etc., that bear on many people's behavior (mine, certainly) related to both diet/fitness and personal finance.

    ** It's not my cognitive style either, really, but I'm also not usually sold by pure statistics, either, so I'm not pretending "special rationality" here, just quirky irrationality. :lol:

    All very much appreciated.

    I tailor to the audience, but miscalculated massively here on MFP.

    My dad taught me compound interest through beer (well soda at first). That by saving a minimum 10% of your income and investing this your savings were working for you and this grew over time. This was reinforced by social interaction - do you spend your money at a bar or do you buy a six pack and drink this at home with friends? At first the savings amounts to little, but over time this equates to a free beer a month, then a six pack a month, etc.

    I've been researching Dave Ramsey more than others as I hold the utmost respect for his 7th step - Once you acquire wealth - give generously. I reached out to his team and they have a training course I'm checking out. I see Kiyosaki in the same light, but more from a sense of him being a roadblock remover and box-shaker. He lives to upset systems of control.

    Yes! I love Portfolios of the Poor. I previously read Nickel and Dimed, but found it incredibly biased and frankly insulting. Portfolios of the Poor was one of the studies which helped launch microtransaction banking endeavors in impoverished areas - finding a massive return on investment greater than that of established banks.

    Again - I will incorporate several of these ideas - thank you!

  • Annie_01Annie_01 Posts: 3,115Member Member Posts: 3,115Member Member
    I used to listen to Dave Ramsey on the car radio years ago in Nashville. I would drive my son to his tennis lessons and sit in the car and listen to him.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Posts: 12,127Member Member Posts: 12,127Member Member
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Warning: Ill-focused ramble coming. Read at your own risk. :flowerforyou:

    I feel like focusing on the term "deferred gratification" is not a good plan (even though I might've been first to use in the two threads, shorthand-wise, by bringing in the SME, which was kind of a red herring or red flag to a metaphorical bull, or something bull, anyway).

    But I do think the tradeoff between long-term and short-term goals is a meaningful thing to consider. For one, looking at it that way is less offensive (i.e., doesn't so inherently set off the negative implications that @lynn_glenmont outlined so well).

    Favoring the short-term (vivid) over the long term (distant/theoretical), and over-reacting to immediate circumstances rather than fully considering longer-term issues and trends: Those are things that humans tend to struggle with across a variety of domains, and it applies to personal finance across all income classes in one way or another.

    Examples: People who get into the stock market when indexes are all high and frothy and everyone's talking about them, drop out of it disappointed at the inevitable trough, then (burned) take their remaining bucks into money market funds or savings accounts or put it under the mattress during the historically-predictable recovery that follows. People who don't want to "fail to enjoy life because uncle Joe died before retirement" (I exaggerate slightly), so take expensive vacations every year at the 'cost' of retirement savings (even matched 401k/403b/etc.!), without ever doing the math about maybe a really nice but not top-tier vacation, combined with a bit more retirement sock-away (with employer match). BTW: I'm not blue-skying about silly rich people here. I'm talking about actual people I actually know: Friends, co-workers, relatives, regular blue-collar and white-collar middle-income working people.

    One of my co-workers even borrowed against his 403b to add rooms to his house (family size didn't change, they just wanted more room). He figured, as far as I could tell, that he'd have to keep working forever anyway because retirement was always a pipe dream, so he might as well have a comfy house to live in. This was a smart guy, good worker, but with a tendency toward conceptual myopia in some realms, one of which was (IMO) personal finance.

    Same guy, BTW, would pretty much always take his roughly day-a-month sick time as it was earned (often on a Monday ;) ) then sadly had to go on multi-week upaid leave when his newborn son tragically needed emergency surgery and extended ICU for a heart issue (we had good health bennies, fortunately, but he risked losing a month of that due to absences, if we hadn't made sure to keep him within the lines on that. (I was his immediate manager BTW.) (I'd add that we could accumulate sick time for literally our whole career if we didn't use it, plus we got a 50% payout for our balance up to some crazy-high number of hours (1100, maybe?) at retirement, at hourly equivalent of final salary. Despite taking a boatload of sick time off during that inconvenient cancer-treatment hobby I had that one year, I still got a nice check at separation.)

    Health risks through poor nutrition or overeating or overdrinking (short of addiction, which is a different animal) fall into this present-desires-centric pattern.

    I have no idea how to shift that thinking, even in myself. I'd observe that people are usually more influenced by vivid first-person stories/case-studies, and less influenced by evidence and statistics.

    This may be counter to your personal cognitive style **, but take a look at popular magazines (I'm most familiar to those aimed at female homemakers, but it's not unique to them): They often start with a vivid case study (including a person's full name, even if "changed to protect privacy" ;) , and include 'irrelevant' personal details about the person, to make them more relatable).

    After setting up that story that the reader can empathize with and relate to - maybe just the "problem" part of the story - the articles start bringing in statistics/experts' quotes (personalizing the experts with names and personal details, often, too ;) ), plus probably somewhere along the way some other relateable individuals' experiences (more names, direct quotes, details), then circle back to how the initial relateable person solved his/her problem in ways that illustrate and exploit the stats and experts' ideas (vivid specifics in the solution part, as well).

    Stories! ;)

    I also would say that most people are torn in lots of directions, and modern life is very cognitively complex (too complex for even intelligent people to know basic things that it would be helpful for them to know, in all the realms they need to deal with). Therefore, many decisions people make are not really decisions at all, but rather simply the people doing things that they think are the normal, standard things to do in their circumstances, without really analyzing details (aside: these are conveyor belts, in the sense of my previous post on that point (maybe in the other thread? don't recall)). So, part of the issue is to somehow kick ourselves (or others) out of a default pattern, to turn the autopilot off and really learn about and think analytically about what we're doing.

    So, if all of our friends are buzzing about going low carb to lose weight, and all those mags in the grocery line are blasting about the magic of keto, odds are really high that a lot of us will think that's the latest and best way to lose weight, and we'll set off looking for info about how to do it (which sources will reinforce its goodness and necessity), and we're off to the races. Odds of looking into alternatives to it are much lower.

    (Since this is MFP, I'll note for other readers that I think low carb and keto are perfectly valid strategies for weight loss, literally necessary for some, helpful for some others. It just happens to be the thing that's on the tabloid covers lately. A while back, I think it was Paleo that was all trumpeted about, years back it was low fat, South Beach did a turn, I think volumetrics had a brief run, etc. It's always something that's hitting the most headlines; it isn't that the trumpeted methods are bad or wrong, just that they're not the exclusive magic the popularizers would have you think.)

    Similarly, if your parents were hesitant to use debt to pay for consumables (vs. assets) or at all, you might be likely to do that by default. Otherwise, you might be heavily influenced by advertising of credit sources, and by knowing that your neighbors are ramping up debt annually to fund vacations or whatever. (As an aside, I think one of the ways advertising really works is to create an impression that "all the happy pretty successful people do X" so we'll do X, too, kind of on autopilot. Humans, IMO, are very norm-driven, unless something kicks us out of the rut.)

    A helpful thing, I suspect, when trying to get others out of autopilot mode (and maybe ourselves, as well), is to exploit the fact that many of us also like to feel like rebels or iconoclasts, or like we have insider information that other people don't have (the popular diets do this ;) despite being talked about everywhere, which is kind of a fun trick). Some of the financial popularizers do a bit of this, I think: Dave Ramsey, Kiyosaki, some of the frugal investing advocates, etc.

    On both diet and financial fronts (and I'm sure others), I think there are also simple facts that don't sink in unless someone really highlights them, that can provide a bit of a kick, too. It's easier to give examples on the financial front. Think about the number of people who thought they saved money (overall) when they had a mortgage, because they could deduct the interest on their income taxes and get a bigger refund. (The parts of the equation are separated in time, most people don't see the total dollar net all in one place at one time, etc.). Same effect in the appeal of cash-back credit cards, where you get 1% or 2% (under fine-print conditions) cash back but pay multi-percent interest if you don't pay off your balance. Another is the part of mortgage amortization where quite a number of smart people to whom I've spoken didn't seem to realize that there was a phase where for the price of a pizza or two a month, they could avoid hundreds to thousands of dollars of future interest expense and/or cut the effective loan period much faster than month for month.

    Some of what's behind all of this is that most of us, going back to elementary school, are/were bad at "story problems" in the first place: I certainly heard peers whining about how we weren't ever going to have to figure out the closing distance between speeding trains in real life. Which is true . . . but adult life really is a huge series of story problems, on diverse topics, some of them really high stakes (investing, mortgage and other debt, calorie counting, drug/supplement side effects and benefits, behavioral health risks . . . .).

    Heading off on another tangent, have you ever read "Portfolios of the Poor" (by Collins, Morduch, Rutherford, Ruthven)? It's an analysis of year-long financial diaries of slum-dwellers world-wide who lived on <$2 a day, and their financial strategizing . . . which is often much more nuanced and suitable than strategies espoused by well-meaning "experts" who lack a clear understanding of the contingencies that surround their decision-making, and which falsely make it appear irrational or random to outside observers.

    @CSARdiver , I think the above ramble is not really on-point to the specific question in your OP on this thread, but is consistent with the larger theme about marketing, misleading, conceptual traps, etc., that bear on many people's behavior (mine, certainly) related to both diet/fitness and personal finance.

    ** It's not my cognitive style either, really, but I'm also not usually sold by pure statistics, either, so I'm not pretending "special rationality" here, just quirky irrationality. :lol:

    All very much appreciated.

    I tailor to the audience, but miscalculated massively here on MFP.

    My dad taught me compound interest through beer (well soda at first). That by saving a minimum 10% of your income and investing this your savings were working for you and this grew over time. This was reinforced by social interaction - do you spend your money at a bar or do you buy a six pack and drink this at home with friends? At first the savings amounts to little, but over time this equates to a free beer a month, then a six pack a month, etc.

    I've been researching Dave Ramsey more than others as I hold the utmost respect for his 7th step - Once you acquire wealth - give generously. I reached out to his team and they have a training course I'm checking out. I see Kiyosaki in the same light, but more from a sense of him being a roadblock remover and box-shaker. He lives to upset systems of control.

    Yes! I love Portfolios of the Poor. I previously read Nickel and Dimed, but found it incredibly biased and frankly insulting. Portfolios of the Poor was one of the studies which helped launch microtransaction banking endeavors in impoverished areas - finding a massive return on investment greater than that of established banks.

    Again - I will incorporate several of these ideas - thank you!

    To be clear, I'm not criticizing Ramsey/Kiyosaki/FIRE advocates as to content (haven't studied any of them closely enough to consider that justifiable). I'm saying that their marketing includes some aspect of (exaggerating a tad here) "we teach the insider secrets so you can be a really cool insider/rebel/iconoclast, too". That kind of "sell" seems to work.
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