Mindfulness and money


There’s a nice article about mindfulness .


But why is it “Over nearly four decades, Ellen Langer’s research on mindfulness has greatly influenced thinking across a range of fields, from behavioural economics to positive psychology.”?


As I keep saying, positive psychology, happiness, wellbeing, values, flow etc. are what we’re (in theory) aiming for.  We all want to be happy and fulfilled.  We know that money doesn’t guarantee that we’ll be happy, but if we use it right it can help.  So money is a tool that we can use to help us be happy.  Sadly, we can also use it to make no difference or even to make us unhappy.


Behavioural economics is psychology lite – it’s about human behaviour not as humans actually behave but as thinking machines would deal with money if they hadn’t evolved as humans.  But it’s essence is understanding how people behave and make decisions about money, like financial psychology (but with less vital behavioural context and more irrelevant economic theory).  


So if it’s about making decisions about money and the purpose of money is to make us happy, how is there a “range” between positive psychology and behavioural economics?  Surely they are aspects of the same thing (financial psychology).


And mindfulness is useful in all sorts of ways, not just as in the article, but in ways I mentioned in Taming the Pound.  Among other things, it helps us to make better decisions about what we really want to make us happy, and enables us to make better financial decisions (not ones that only make us wealthier, but ones that make us happier).


I do wonder when the various finance “experts” are going to understand the simple fact that there isn’t a “range” between these concepts, they are closely linked.


If they do understand it, they might realise that behavioural economics in isolation isn’t at all a good way to plan finances (however scientific anybody thinks it is).  They might also realise that positive psychology has some great ideas, but something like mindfulness is really handy to be able to put those great ideas, and the principles from behavioural economics, into practice, in an integrated way.



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