Ahorristas automáticos

A la gente le fascina la riqueza. Disfruta de mirar la riqueza, saborea la idea de sus viviendas imponentes, sus vacaciones suntuosas, sus autos de lujo y sus cenas gourmet. Pero si de esto infiriéramos que la gente pasa mucho tiempo planificando la acumulación de su propia riqueza durante toda la vida, estaríamos equivocados.

La mayoría de la gente no parece pensar demasiado en cuánto ahorrar de sus ingresos o en cuál podría ser la diferencia en su riqueza en los últimos años de su vida si modificaran su nivel de ahorro hoy. La mayoría de la gente simplemente cancela su hipoteca, hace los aportes obligatorios a su pensión estatal o privada (si es que tiene una) y guarda algo de dinero para contingencias de corto plazo. Eso es todo.

El economista Frank Ramsey, en un famoso artículo publicado en 1928, dijo que la gente tiene una “debilidad de la imaginación” sobre cómo sus acciones de hoy afectan su propio futuro. Dijo que si la gente pensara en esto correctamente, bien podría llegar a la conclusión de que debería ahorrar la mitad de sus ingresos. De esa manera, la riqueza acumulada podría hacerla muy feliz en los últimos años de vida. Pero, por lo general, ni siquiera piensa en esa posibilidad.

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