Why do we make bad decisions?
By the non-economist
Illustration by Cesilia Faustina
We suck! Yes, that is how I am starting off this article, because well, we do! Humans have been known to constantly choose and make bad decisions. We are living organisms that are selfish and in tune to emotions rather than logic. How do I know this? Please step back a little and think about the last time you made a bad decision. That’s right.
So I’m here to put us humans into place. I’m not saying I am a saint here either, I definitely have made bad decisions, just take a look at my list of exes. Don’t even get me started about the terrible decisions we make about our love lives, because
Yes, the devil’s little helper. If it’s so important to us, then why do we make such terrible financial choices? It’s always “I’ll buy expensive shit now and not buy anything for a while,” type deal — yeah right! News flash: just because you say it doesn’t mean it’s going to come true. The likely hoods of you not actually buying anything to earn back your spending is a lie.
It’s the same thing with all the marketing gimmicks, like the “for sale for $4.99,” thing. It’s $5…why can’t people just stick to reality anymore? Because will trick, lie and kill for the green stuff. The reason we gravitate towards $4.99 more than $5 is simply behavioural economics. We see the number 4 and automatically think it’s cheaper.
Now just to warn readers, I’m no economist here, because I’m NOT! But I am a human being (just like all of you) who constantly have to deal with life and the consumption of goods, which isn’t what economy is all about? So here goes my deduction on why people are just dumb when it comes to money making decisions.
So I think it’s safe to say that us humans are never satisfied and thus, things are suppose to make us happy. Being able to gain goods, needs, whatever shows that we are more privileged (and wealthier) than others, which of course will give us a sense of pride. Let’s be honest, we like knowing that we have more money than people and it’s us who can spoil and control other people. Humans are terrible.
We like dumb shit
Self-explanatory, we do. Why do we need that tea pot shaped like Darth Vader or those Ironman headphones that make you look like a twat? I don’t know! I categorize these things as the “Don’t need them, gotta have them” category. It’s in our nature to like things because of a trend or social expectations and I guess having these things make us look cool? Or maybe some people just like staring at Darth Vader while drinking tea. Just do you.
We get tricked easily
There is no one to blame for our stupid buying decisions other than ourselves, but marketers definitely help out. We are constantly falling for all the behavioral economics tricks in the book. From free samples and discounts to even just pitying the seller, so then you end up buying some stupid perfume you will never wear! The best con-artist in the world are marketers. They make you feel special, they give you amazing deals that just turn out to be an elaborate plan that will get you to buy even more stuff.
The power of money
If you’ve ever watched Spiderman, then you know that with great power comes great responsibility. Well, for normal people money is that spidey suite. It’s that superpower we want to possess, but you know you should only use it when necessary. Let’s face facts, money makes us feel powerful and being able to spend it is like being able to use our superpowers for the greater good, or if you’re more of a villain type, I guess to wreck havoc on the world. Either way, you enjoy it one way or another.
We all want a spoiled life!
All in all, money is great, why? Because it lets us buy stuff. So if I don’t have time to wash my clothes, I can buy a washing machine or pay someone to do it, or if I have problems with my back, I can buy a specially-designed hospital approve mattress. Life just becomes so much easier with money and who wouldn’t want that? We want to feel ease in life and unfortunately, money gives you that. It makes us lose sight of what is actually an essential need and what is extra comfort to our basic needs.
Look, money is like really good drugs and we humans work based on emotions. Those things combine make a terrible mix. Drugs make you feel good, feeling good = goal in life, therefore, it becomes an addictive necessity. What I’m trying to say here is, limit your drug usage, it’s good once in a while, but when you do it all the time, you suck even more than you need to.
Share with us in the comments your experience on making some bad/weird financial choices and why do you think we make bad decisions?