March 24, 2009

ARE YOU A VICTIM OF saver’s remorse?

The ING Direct bank likes to proclaim on billboards, “There is no such thing as Saver’s remorse.” But it turns out there is, at least according to the consumer psychologists featured in my Findings column. Have you ever felt its pangs?

Ran Kivetz, a professor of marketing at the Columbia Business School, and other consumer psychologists have found that splurging isn’t the only kind of self-control problem afflicting us when we go shopping. While we can indeed go on binges and feel a bad case of buyer’s remorse, that immediate guilt tends to dissipate with time. Eventually, we may look back more with regret at what we didn’t buy — and think wistfully of the pleasures we passed up.

Regrets are part of life. Save too little, save too much. Ask ‘em out, don’t ask ‘em out. “The tragedy of life is that not all values can be realized.”