Published On: April 18, 2019

Ever wonder why you make really stupid decisions, especially when you are overwhelmed, worried or distracted?

Perhaps you are focused on one task, like dealing with a difficult child or employer, and you completely miss a really important appointment or buy something you did not want.The researchers at Princeton, Harvard and the University of Warwick ran experiments on low-income people who were worried about debt and found they lost 13 IQ points (somewhat like when you lose a night’s sleep and feel really stupid the next day).  In this report in Science Magazine they say this loss in IQ points is the same as the difference between chronic alcoholics and normal adults.

You might be told that being in debt shows weakness or irresponsibility, but that is definitely not so.

Eldar Shafir, one of the authors of the study, write ““coping with not just a shortfall of money, but also with a concurrent shortfall of cognitive resources.”  In simple English this means that dealing with debt reduces your mental ability to handle other tasks “it makes you stupid”.

Do you wonder why you miss a turn when driving or fall in a hole while walking?

It is because you were concentrating on something else – talking, texting, listening to a talk show.  The problem is that we have a limited amount of mental bandwidth, so doing one task reduces our ability to do another.  Hence, why car accidents are more likely to happen when someone is on the cell phone.

Those in debt are spending more of their mental bandwidth on finding a better job, better place to live or going to night school which reduces their attention to staying on their food budget or remembering to change the oil in their vehicle.

“When your bandwidth is loaded, in the case of the poor,” Shafir says, “you’re just more likely to not notice things, you’re more likely to not resist things you ought to resist, you’re more likely to forget things, you’re going to have less patience, less attention to devote to your children when they come back from school.”

The solution?

Reduce the distractions – such as dealing with debt.  Perhaps bankruptcy is the doorway to regaining your full mental capacity.  Which means you will have more time to be with family or be a better employee (keep your job) and plan for a more relaxed future.

Never use your vehicle to secure a loan, or take out a payday loan – you are making that decision at a time you are not thinking clearly.


Being in Debt Actually Makes You Stupid.

Stress kills or increases risk of heart attack, depression, infertility and premature aging

612% interest for payday loans – Senate Hearing to Examine Payday Lending and Small Dollar Credit Industry

Images courtesy of Pixabay


We have all made really stupid choices in life – some we learned from and others we were doomed to repeat until we decided to stop.  Now is the time to find ways to make smarter decisions – surround yourself with happy, self-sufficient people.  Life cannot be lived by yourself (or should not be).

If you open your heart and head you will find the answer – but you have to look.

By |Published On: April 18th, 2019|Last Updated: January 22nd, 2023|

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