Psychology, Financial Decision-Making, and Household Management Essay

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Psychology, Financial Decision-Making, and Household Management



Reason for Selecting Subject



The reason I chose this subject is that in the recent times, the aspect of financial education and understanding has become a contentious and significant one. Its importance has been realized largely because there is increasing intricacy of financial products and also the increasing accountability and liability of people with respect to their own financial well-being. It is imperative to note that knowledgeable, financially educated customers are more capable of making proper decisions for their households and as a result are better suited to enhance their economic and financial security and welfare (Hilgert and Hogarth, 2003). What is more, in accordance to behavioral economics, psychology plays a significant role in the financial and economic decisions made within the household. For instance, consumers with a great amount of money will spend less as compared to consumers with smaller amounts. The same case applies to individuals that spend more money in a current account as compared to money in a savings account. Therefore, this proposal will focus on different financial management activities within the household such as saving, spending, investment in relation to mental budgeting and accounting.



Articles Selected and Reason Thereto



1. Cheema, A., & Soman, D. (2006). Malleable mental accounting: The effect of flexibility on the justification of attractive spending and consumption decisions. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 16(1), 33-44.



Mental accounts are deemed to be components for self-control, which are utilized by consumers in order to preclude any excessive consumption or spending. This particular article is chosen to advance the article by Antonides et al. (2011) and to indicate that under particular circumstances of uncertainty, the process of mental accounting becomes malleable. This is in the sense that consumers are flexible in allocating expenses to various mental accounts. The article points out the manner in which consumers flexibly categorize expenses, or create accounts in order to rationalize spending. In particular, an expense that can be allocated to more than one account has a greater likelihood of being incurred compared to an unambiguous expense that is inhibited either by prevailing budgets or by previously created accounts. Furthermore, the article delves into the justification practices that motivate these outcomes and their inferences for mental accounts as self-discipline devices. This article is meant to aid in expounding the financial slackness through the malleability of mental accounts and how consumers can easily side-step the rules enforced.



2. Heath, C., & Soll, J. B. (1996). Mental budgeting and consumer decisions. Journal of consumer research, 23(1), 40-52.



This article has been chosen because it discusses mental budgeting at length. As delineated in the article, usually, consumers set budgets for categories of expenses and go on to track them against the budget they have set. Taking into account that budgets are not able to expect consumption prospects precisely, individuals might earmark excessive money or lesser money for a certain category. In particular, this causes the consumers to under consume or overconsume products in that particular category. For instance, the article shows that consumers set budgets that amount to under consumption. In addition, to demonstrate that consumers track their expenses and costs, the article outlines that budgeting effects are greater for buys that are largely characteristic of their category. These buys reduce the amount consumers spend in a category and hinders the ability to buy other typical products.



Expounding Articles



In expounding the two articles, what is suggested is an additional independent variable, which is an ambiguity expense. The inclusion of this variable is purposed to perceive whether the consumers will be able to bypass the rules set up within mental accounting and how they are able to purchase the products they had initially out to avoid.



Theoretical Background



The issue of consumer self-discipline and restraint has been in practice for a long time. The necessity to carry out self-discipline emanates from a battle between the immediate and longstanding consequences of consumption.

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This restraint establishes itself as an impulse contention that has to be overcome by experiencing a mental cost to break predetermined rules, for instance using pension money for going on vacation.



Mental accounting, which is different from economic accounting in the sense that the labeling of money is done for certain spending or saving categories, and the budgets earmarked for spending or saving are deemed compulsory. This particular aspect influences the financial behavior of households. To begin with, labeling money for certain spending categories might result in overspending and underspending. For instance, if the budget is higher, then there is a likelihood of high spending and vice versa. Therefore, mental budgeting helps evade undesirable balanced within certain mental budgets.



Mental budgeting goes in tandem with information on mental accounting, which shows that individuals utilize resources in a different manner depending on how they are labeled. The setting of budgets causes individuals to overconsume a number of products while under consuming others. Taking into consideration that budgets are established prior to consumption opportunities and chances that come about, at times they underestimate or overestimate the cash required or an exact account. In addition, the practice of tracking expenses means that a number of expenses are more likely to bring about overconsumption or under consumption. The more consumers track their costs, expenses that are comparatively simple to categorize end up being the most susceptible to the rigidities of budgeting.



Mental accounts function as self-controlling tools in two distinctive manners. To begin with, the role they play in terms of budgeting take into account assigning and coding of incomes, outlays, and activities to particular accounts. Costs and expenditures are split into different spending categories and the level of spending in every category is limited by budgets. In particular, this takes into account earmarking an exact amount of money for a category of expenses and allocating incurred costs from that category to the chosen and labelled mental account. By playing this particular role through the tracking of expenses in accounts, the budget functions as a toll on aberrant behavior and hinders consumers from overspending on products that they desire to purchase but should not.



Secondly, accounts that are specific to transactions enable consumers to institute a mental account for a transaction, make a debit for the transaction payments, and thereafter credit the mental account with the benefit attained from consumption. Being able to track these expenses and gains, aids the consumer to close the account with a general gain. These sorts of accounts make certain that consumers do not waste an advance payment by foregoing consumption in support of a more striking alternate consumption prospect. In a perfect state, mental accounts could function as inflexible self-discipline tools. This implies that they hinder and restrict consumers from undertaking what they wish to do, and instead forcing them to undertaken what they perceive they ought to do.



Uncertainty in the process of mental accounting presents consumers with prospects to take part in inventive bookkeeping. This enables them to evade established controls and in turn engage in the particular behavior being avoided in the first place. For instance, if one limits himself to one burger a day, then the consumer can choose to have a bigger burger each day. Despite the fact that mental accounts are major components for self-control, they are also more often than not, weak. The aspect of malleability in mental accounting takes into consideration the consumer being flexible in categorizing ambiguous expenses or in creating mental accounts to accommodate uncategorized expenses. In particular, this element of flexibility enables consumers to discover ambiguities and to by-pass the self-discipline enforced by mental accounts.



Hypothesis



H0: Construction of accounts subsequent to considering the ambiguous expense increases level of spending.



H1: Construction of accounts subsequent to considering….....

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References


Antonides, G., de Groot, I. M., van Raaij, W. F. (2011). Mental Budgeting and the Management of Household Finance. Journal of Economic Psychology, 32: 546-555.

Hilgert, M. A., Hogarth, J. A. (2003). Household Financial Management: The Connection between Knowledge and Behavior. Hein Online.

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