Tag Archives: Future

Saving For Retirement — As Simple As Counting in Days

A few years ago, I wrote a post about the problems with saying “I’ll be ready in 5 minutes.” It turns out, there’s now research that — in a way — supports the point I was trying to make.

In this study, the researchers attempted to draw closer the connection between our present selves and our future selves. In particular, they looked at how manipulating the unit used to convey time (days, months, and years) can have an effect on that connection between our present selves and future selves. In plain language, consider the time between now and when you retire. It may be, what, 30, 20, 15, or 10 years away? For those of you closer to 25 years from retirement, that might sound like a long ways away (actually, it’s really not). Have you started saving for retirement? Oh, right, retirement savings, yeah, I’ll start next year.

That attitude right there, the attitude that our “future selves” are far away (when in actuality, they’re not), that’s what the researchers were targeting. From the researchers [Emphasis Added]:

We found that people say they will start saving four times sooner if told how many days rather than how many years they have until their child goes to college or until they want to retire. […] Considering one’s retirement or one’s child’s college education in days rather than years leads people to experience more connection between their present and future selves, which makes the identities linked to these future selves (e.g., “retiree”) feel more congruent with their current self. This reduces the extent that people discount future over current rewards. Less discounting means that saving for the future may feel less painful.

So, when we think about future events in a unit that is more relevant to us (days vs. years), we’re more likely to feel a connection to those future events and by extension, our future selves.

~

Let’s circle back to my post from a few years ago about 300 seconds:

As a way around this — sometimes — I like to use the term “300 seconds.” Why 300 seconds? Well, 300 seconds is the same amount of time as 5 minutes. (Weird, eh?) But it sounds different, doesn’t it? Similarly, if I’m going to need more than 5 minutes, say 10 minutes, I might say 600 seconds.

To piggyback this research, I’d be interested to see results of a study that looked at our perception of time in an even smaller unit of measurement. For things like retirement and college savings, years to days makes sense, but what about for something that’s going to be happening in less than 5 years or something that will be happening in a few months?

Let’s say we’re hosting a conference in 3 months and we need to get things in order for it. Three months isn’t that far away, but thinking about it in months might not give us the necessary urgency. What if we thought about it in weeks? Twelve. Days? 90. Hours? 2160. Minutes? 129,600.

Ok, so minutes is probably too finite a measurement for this analogy, but I think you get the point. Changing the unit of measurement certainly has an effect on our perspective of future events.

ResearchBlogging.orgLewis, N., & Oyserman, D. (2015). When Does the Future Begin? Time Metrics Matter, Connecting Present and Future Selves Psychological Science, 26 (6), 816-825 DOI: 10.1177/0956797615572231

What Will Major Cities Look Like in 25 Years?

Have you ever visited your hometown only to find that there’s been so much change since you’ve left? I certainly have and it’s amazing to see how different things have become since I’ve moved away. Well, if your hometown happens to be a major city, then the pictures in this slideshow might be quite interesting.

The slideshow demonstrates the changes to some of the world’s biggest cities. It’s simply amazing to see the change in what amounts to a rather short time. For instance, the second one from the slideshow included below), showing the difference between Dubai in the span of 13 years… wow. Of course, this is a bit of an anomaly based on the kind of money that’s been invested in Dubai, but it’s still remarkable to see just how much it’s changed.

Dubai – 1990 to 2003

There are plenty more that are just as amazing as Dubai. There’s Atlanta in the span of about 50 years:

Some of the other images, like the ones of Shanghai, Singapore, and Fortaleza (Brazil), make it appears as if you’re looking at a picture of two different places (and in effect you are, because of the time component). If not for the water landmarks, you might think you were being deceived.

My point in discussing these images is look at where we are today. It’s 2014. Think about some of the major places you’ve come to know and love. There are buildings that we look at and think, “Wow… that building’s so tall… we’ll never have taller buildings, will we?” What do you think folks thought 50 years ago?

That’s not to say that taller buildings is where we’re headed. There’s always the possibility that they’ll be advances in magnetization or some other form of technology and we will finally get those flying cars that we’ve been predicting for so long. I have a sneaky suspicion that when the time comes to pass that we do finally have the “next” bit of where we’re going, that it won’t be what many of us are expecting. I doubt that many people in 1950 would have thought that this is what infrastructure would look like 60 years into the future. Similarly, I’ve learned that we, as a species, are rather horrible at predicting the future, so I don’t know that what we’ve predicted has even an infinitesimal chance of coming to pass. Either way, I encourage you to think about it and reflect on how things different could (will?) be.

What Will My Generation’s Version of Racism Be

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself sitting in a coffee shop. While working on a project, I couldn’t help but overhear a couple of older gentlemen talking about immigrants. Now, I currently live in Ottawa, Canada, so their discussion about immigrants was probably a bit different than I might have heard if I were in a coffee shop in a different part of the country, but more notably, the conversation would have likely been different had I been in an coffee shop in the USA.

I’m going to overgeneralize for a second, so I hope you’ll stay with me.

For the most part, younger generations are less racist than older generations. My guess is that this is because younger generations grow up having people from different ethnic backgrounds around them all the time. For instance, when I was in high school, it was normal to see people from very different backgrounds. There were people from China, India, the Middle East, Brazil, a whole host of European countries, and many more. If we rollback to the previous generation, scenes like this weren’t as common.

So, for generations like mine, it’s normalized to grow up with people who look different from you. In previous generations, this wasn’t the case. My guess is that this contributes to some of the latent (or otherwise) hostility that we typically see from older generations.

I’ve spent a lot of time talking about my generation in comparison to generations past, but the true purpose of this post is a juxtaposition of the generations to come. As I said, it seems that past generations had a harder time than mine digesting the mix of cultures. For kids growing up today (in certain countries), it’s abundantly clear that there are people who look different from them and it’s just normal to grow up and be friends with people like this. My question, what is it that my generation will have a hard time with that future generations will see as natural?

I’d like to think that I and my generation will be able to handle whatever comes our way in the future, but I’m sure that’s what previous generations thought. As a result, it seems to me that there will likely be something that some folks from my generation have a hard time handling. Will it be something like what we see in the Men in Black movies? Meaning, will we coexist on Earth with beings from another planet? If that were to happen, it’s quite plausible that there’d be an echo of what’s happening now.

The next time you see someone being ethnocentric, consider the possibility that you might be exhibiting a similar behaviour in years to come.

What if Predicting the Future is a Skill?

In the shower this morning, I was thinking about some old research. Old since it’s almost 10 years old — so not “old,” per se. Anyway, I was thinking about those experiments where a person’s body knew before a startling picture was about to appear before them. In layman’s terms — predicting the future. Then I thought (because all great ideas start in the shower, right?) what if predicting the future is a skill… and we just have to develop it!

I’ve written before about the evidence for predicting the future (precognition) — there’s lots of evidence to support that this phenomenon exists. There’s also lots of research that talks about — at birth — we have the capacity to speak every language. I should say, we have the capacity to develop the ability to speak every language. It has to do with connectivity in our brain, phonemes, and the like. So, isn’t it possible that there are also neural pathways that could be developed to improve our ability to predict the future?

And if this were the case, isn’t it possible that we can also develop this skill later in life. There are infinite examples of people learning new languages after the so called “do or die” time when they’re babies, so isn’t it possible that people could then develop the ability to predict the future later in life, too?

I don’t have any definitive answers to the questions I’m asking, but it’s certainly a thought worth entertaining this Friday morning.

Best Posts Written in 2012 at Genuine Thriving: Top Posts, Part 2

Yesterday, I detailed the top 6 posts for 2012 from Genuine Thriving. Since 5 of the top 6 posts in 2012 were from 2011, I thought it’d be good to look at those posts that were published in 2012. So, today, I’ll look at the top posts that were published in 2012 from Genuine Thriving that received the most views. Here are the top 6 posts with an excerpt for each:

If You Can’t Explain It Simply, You Don’t Understand It Well Enough

Don’t get me wrong, I like jargon. I enjoy expanding my understanding of language and the different words we have to describe things. (Today, I just learned what eleemosynary means: charitable or philanthropic.) Although, I think it is important to take note of one’s company. If you’re working on a project and not everyone is of the same understanding of the topic, it is ofparamount importance that the language used be accessible to all (or most) parties involved.

John Green’s Crash Course in World History

Back to Crash Course World History: , I really think that people should have a basic understanding of world history. If that’s too much to ask, I think that I would like to have a basic understanding of world history. Especially because of my inclination to take a ‘systems perspective to things,’ (look for a post on this soon!) I think that having an understanding of the macrolevel events that led to today can help us (me?) gain a better understanding of where we might be headed in the future. If nothing else, it serves as ‘trial and error’ of what’s happened in the past, so as to avoid (or at least attempt to avoid) doing in the future.

You Are Exactly Where You’re Supposed To Be

After I continually repeat some iteration of these two phrases (the title and the one in the previous sentence), the advice-seeker’s demeanor begins to soften in a way that lets me know that they’ve taken ‘it’ in. It’s one of my favorite pieces of advice (along with ““) Why? Because it gives the advice-seeker the permission to stop second-guessing themselves, something that our culture is rife with. It lets the person be okay with where they are and in another way, gives them permission to stop wishing they were somewhere else.

Operation Cat Drop: A Lesson in Externalities or Unintended Consequences

That’s not to say that those folks who were involved in Operation Cat Drop (if there was one) didn’t think about the unintended consequences or (externalities) of what they were doing, but just to illustrate the importance of these concepts. A perspective that takes into account the “whole system” would — at a minimum — consider the possibility of externalities and unintended consequences. I think that as the world grows closer together (read: ) it is vital that decisions take into account even disparate connections.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Wisdom for Today from the Past

There isn’t a lot I want to say today, but I do want to point to a speech by Dr. King. I couldn’t find this speech on YouTube, but there is some audio of the speech (but it’s only the final paragraph). Nonetheless, I thought the speech, especially in its context (, etc.), is quite powerful. Moreover, I think the words that Dr. King spoke are applicable to some of the issues that are facing the world today. I’m speaking particularly to the all-time lows in  and the continued .

It’s Amazing How Quickly Things Change

I wouldn’t be surprised if you stopped to reflect on your life and found a similar thread of unanticipated changes in your life. And those changes, (by their very nature [and definition, in this regard]) could not have been predicted prior to their occurrence. They took you by surprise. They’ve certainly taken me by surprise. Sometimes, we fall into the trap of being (or sometimes, lack of changes). I would implore you not to do so. It’s impossible to know how pursuing scenario X, being presented with scenario Y, or being surprised by scenario Z, will eventually lead you to ultimate fulfillment.

Five Years, Five Christmases: You Never Know Where You’ll Be…

As 2012 draws closer to its end, I find myself reflecting on the past. Not the distant past, but the recent past. In fact, with Christmas here today, I found myself reflecting on the last 5 Christmases and just how much things have changed for me over those 5 Christmases. Let’s journey back, shall we?

2008

At Christmas in 2008, I was on reprieve between quarters of the first year of my PhD in clinical psychology (obviously, I didn’t continue with that route). For that Christmas, I left the balmy shores of San Francisco for a flight home to visit my family in Toronto and Detroit. It was a great time.

2009

In 2009, I was in Victoria, British Columbia living on a floathome. My partner and I had just recently come back from New Zealand and decided to spend some time living in the floathome that we had for sale. For that Christmas, my partner and I accepted an invitation to have Christmas dinner with some of the folks living on the Wharf. This particular family had invited a bunch of folks over, so there were like 20+ people inside of this one floathome having Christmas dinner!

2010

The Christmas of 2010 was one that I won’t soon forget, partly because I was just recently married, but probably more so because I spent it on one of the top 10 beaches in the world — on the island of Kauai (in Hawaii). My wife and I got up early on Christmas morning and we went down to Hanalei Bay. The exquisite backdrop of the mountains paired with the sound of the gentle waves kissing the shore… amazing.

2011

In 2011, my wife and I drove up to visit our families in Ottawa/Toronto. If I recall correctly, we spent Christmas in Ottawa visiting with family and friends. It was a rocking good time and makes me consider Ottawa as a place that I might like to live.

2012

And now, 2012. This year, my wife and I have decided to *stay* in Fairfax, VA. I wrote stay like that because it’s not as if we’ve lived in Fairfax for very long (only since August), but we have been in the DC area for over a year now, with me finishing up an MBA.

~

If you would have asked me in 2008 about any of the subsequent Christmases, I almost assuredly wouldn’t have been able to guess how any of them turned out. Victoria!? HAWAII!? FAIRFAX!!? Who knows where I’ll be for Christmas in 2013. Wherever I am, I hope I’m happy and surrounded by people that I love.

Enjoy the rest of your day!