Fall 2018 1

Delaying gratification increases income

by A. Scott White, CFP® , ChFC® , CLU®
President, Scott White Advisors

What determines future income? The answer may surprise you. A recent study found that the ability to delay instant gratification could be one of the most important factors.

Researchers at Temple University ranked the most important determinants of future affluence and were surprised to learn that putting off instant gratification was a more important predictor of income than other factors known to affect earning power such as age and ethnicity.The study of over 2,500 participants used a concept called delay discounting, or how people weigh the benefit of short-term and long-term reward. Taking an online test, participants were asked to choose between taking $500 immediately or waiting longer for $1,000 at one day, one week, one month, six months and one year intervals.

The study’s lead author, Dr. William Hampton, said, “If you want your child to grow up to earn a good salary, consider instilling in them the importance of passing on smaller, immediate rewards in favor of larger ones that they have to wait for. Tis is probably easier said than done, as very few people naturally enjoy waiting, but our results suggest that those who develop the ability to delay gratification are likely investing in their own earning potential.”


Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, Certified Financial Planner™, and CFP® in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.
Scott White Advisors is an Independent Registered Investment Advisor. Scott White Advisors is not a registered broker/dealer and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Investment advisory services offered through Scott White Advisors, Inc.