Three TED talks to make you think differently about money

November 2017


From innovative saving strategies, questioning salary secrecy, to buying happiness, we found these three TED talks challenged the way we think about money.

Saving for tomorrow, tomorrow

Many Australians find it difficult to save money for retirement. In this talk, economist Shlomo Benartzi uses his expertise in the field of behavioural economics to suggest clever strategies to circumvent the human biases that make saving money hard.

The basic premise of his strategy is that it’s much easier for people to think about saving in the future than the present. After all, no one wants to consider the immediate sacrifices required.

By encouraging people to focus on committing a portion of their future pay rises instead of their current salary to retirement savings, Benartzi found that a greater number of people ended up saving more money.

This is an interesting and persuasive talk for anyone finding it difficult to commit to a savings plan.

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Why you should know how much your co-workers get paid

Do you know the salary of the person sitting next to you at work? Probably not. Management researcher David Burkus thinks you should. He argues that salary transparency results in a better workplace for both employees and organisations.

Burkus draws on research that reveals the downsides to secrecy surrounding salary. When employees don’t know how much their co-workers earn, they are much more likely to feel underpaid and even discriminated against.

Salary secrecy also enables organisations to have more power in negotiations with employees, and gives them the ability to conceal discriminatory salary practices, like the gender pay gap.

This intriguing talk challenges the status quo and provides an interesting insight into the effects of total salary transparency in the workplace.

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How to buy happiness

Social science researcher Michael Norton believes that “if you think money can’t buy happiness, you are not spending it right”.

His research found that you could actually increase your own happiness by spending money on others.

His study analysed two groups of people. The first group was given money to spend on themselves, and the second group was given money to spend on others. His team found that those who spent the money on others reported much higher levels of happiness afterwards.

And you needn’t worry if you don’t have the means to spend a great deal of money. Norton’s research was conducted all over the world in a range of different socio-economic communities, and the results were very similar whether you spent a small or large amount.

This interesting talk may cause you to reconsider your spending habits.

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