The Marshmallow Experiment: The Role of Delayed Gratification In Financial Success

The ability to delay gratification – people who have this quality are more likely to succeed than any others, according to a study. Today we’ll share how this can help with your financial life

Your Guide:

A 1960s experiment by a Stanford professor found that people who delayed gratification were able to be more successful than others. On this episode of Your Retirement Elevated podcast with Scott Dougan, we’ll explain how this same theory applies to your finances as well.

Professor Walter Mischel started the test, known as the Marshmallow Experiment, by giving kids a marshmallow and telling them if they waited for him to come back 15 minutes later, they could have a second one.

So, would the kids eat the marshmallow or wait to get another one? Some kids ate it right away, others struggled and finally gave in and a few waited and were given a second.

The professor followed up with the children years later and found those who waited to receive the second marshmallow had higher SAT scores, lower levels of substance abuse, lower likelihood of obesity, better responses to stress, better social skills as reported by their parents, and generally better scores in a range of other life measures.

So, how does this relate to our clients? We work with an elite group of savers who have amassed large nest eggs. The downside to this is they spent so much time saving that it can be hard for them to spend. That pile of money can give you a sense of freedom and comfort.

Listen to the entire show and use the timestamps below to find specific segments.

[2:44] – Marshmallow study

[7:56] – Our clients

[9:20] – More about the experiment

Thanks for checking out the Your Retirement Elevated Podcast. We’ll talk to you again on the next show.



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Scott Dougan founded Elevated Retirement Group in 2003 in order to fill a niche he felt was not being addressed properly in the retirement planning environment – helping retirees and pre-retirees in the Kansas City metro area find answers to issues that may affect the quality of life during their retirement.

Scott is a Registered Financial Consultant (RFC) and holds a Series 65 Investment Adviser Representative license, which holds him to the fiduciary standard. He also holds insurance licenses in Kansas, Missouri and other states.




(913) 393-4724