Don’t Let Your Brain Be The Boss!

Quick. Pick one. Which would you rather have: (A) Higher earnings or (B) More in savings?

I’m guessing you went for (A). Most people do. We tend to be far more concerned with increasing our income rather than growing our net worth. But hey, it’s not our fault. That’s how our brain is wired.

A recent Cornell University study discovered that our brains are biased toward earning and against saving. Perhaps it’s the immediate gratification our paychecks offer while socking away savings feels about as gratifying as watching grass grow

“Fundamentally it comes down to this,” the study reported. “Saving is less valuable to our brains, which devote less attentional resources to it. Our brains find saving more difficult to attend to.”

If ever there was a strong case for rewiring our brains, this is it. Fixating on earnings can be fool hardy. I call it the Illusion of Affluence. I see it all the time with successful women. Their significant earnings give them the illusion, but not the security, of true abundance.

It’s a fact. Wealth doesn’t come from what you earn. Wealth comes from what you save. But wait…getting rich isn’t the only reason to be a saver.

Consider the title of a 2016 study: “How Your Bank Balance Buys Happiness: The Importance of “Cash on Hand” to Life Satisfaction.” This study, as reported in What the Elle (my favorite financial newsletter), found that higher savings is a better predictor of happiness and well-being than hefty incomes.

Add to that the result of the 2018 Ellevest Census: “The #1 confidence booster for women is saving and investing (63% of women ranked it over things like salary and education).

The message is clear. Don’t let your brain be the boss. Instead, train your mind to rewire your brain to focus on savings rather than obsessing about earnings. (If you haven’t read my free ebook, The Rewire Response, you can get on this page.)

Which would you choose: (A) A big fat paycheck or (B) lots of money set aside? Leave me a comment and tell me why.

Comments & Feedback

  • Diana Walters

    Hi Barbara, great post! Definitely (B) lots of money set aside. It’s because of my money saving goals that I felt good about leaving my corporate job to run my business full-time; was able to place a large down payment on my home; and I didn’t stress too, too much (I still stressed) when the pandemic hit and my business shut down until I was able to transition my business online.

  • Susanne

    I picked B, savings.
    I feel pretty sick today and I know how quickly a good income can be gone.
    Today, I would just love to know that I have substantial savings and can take my time to recover and feel well again.
    In my home country of Germany savings have always been very high on the list.

    • barbara huson

      I hope you feel better, Susanne. The key to building substantial savings is by consistently saving very small amounts. Consistency is the key…not the size of what you sock away!

  • Hanne Hansen

    I choose B “ lots of money set aside”, because I am retired and it is a wonderful dreampicture!

    Best regards
    Hanne Hansen

  • Ginger

    Lots of savings!!!

  • Jeanne

    Savings bring SECURITY, give you OPTIONS! If you are more focused on higher earnings, while that mentality has value, you are always CHASING something, vs. enjoying your own security already created. When we choose to save, we are acting from loving self-esteem. Saving is caring for yourself; if you or a loved one are affected by hardship, you can do more with money saved. Enjoy your beautiful day! Save!

  • Kay

    Thank you Barbara!

  • Lisa

    Without overthinking about it, my gut went for savings, however both are nice to have! Fat paychecks often come with high levels off stress, not always, but most of the time !

  • Edna Brinkley, PhD

    More in savings of course. If I have a lot of savings that means I getting fat paychecks so I can save a lot.

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Meet Barbara Huson

When a devastating financial crisis rocked her world, Barbara Huson knew she had to get smart about money… and she did. Now, she wants to empower every women to take charge of their money and take charge of their lives! She’s doing just that with her best-selling books, life changing retreats and private financial coaching.

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