Does Your Credit Score Reveal Impatience?

Did you know you can tell a lot about a person from just their credit score? You can certainly tell whether or not they will qualify for a mortgage, but researchers contend that they can also tell if someone is likely to be more patient or impatient simply based on their credit history.

Economists from the Federal Reserve’s Center for Behavioral and Economics and Decision-making surveyed 437 people asking them whether they would prefer a small reward now or wait for a larger reward later. Those who were willing to wait for a larger reward later had credit scores that were 30 points higher, on average, than those who said they’d prefer a smaller immediate payment. The findings also revealed that the most impatient subjects had average FICO scores below 620 – a commonly used cutoff for prime and subprime lending.

Patience – or lack of it – can make the difference between being able to buy a home or a car, qualifying for a good interest rate or being turned down completely. Financial institutions are all too familiar with the problems that poor self-control can cause when a borrower can’t resist spending money “right now” that should be used for their mortgage or car payments. But it isn’t all about money…

The survey’s findings underscore the truth in the old saying, “patience is a virtue.” Being patient involves wisdom, self-discipline and a degree of contentment – all virtuous qualities. The person who pursues these characteristics are more likely to experience a better quality of life, free of self-inflicted stress. The person who can choose to be contented with what they have and with waiting to get what they want, will be better off in the long run.

Impatience, on the other hand, can wreak havoc in just about every area of our lives. Our inability to wait or delay gratification often reveals the degree to which we are able to manage our emotions effectively. An impatient person is more likely to create conflict if their immediate desires are not met quickly. That can take the form of demanding their own way, buying something they can’t really afford because they want it “right now”, overeating and even abusing substances in order to feel better immediately.

So, how do you know if you are impatient or just “delightfully spontaneous”? Ask the people closest to you at home or work. If you allow them to be honest about how your actions and reactions make them feel, it could be eye-opening. Impatience usually results in frustration or even anger.

If you struggle with impatience it’s well worth the effort to investigate ways in which to improve your ability to monitor and manage your emotions. The first step is practicing contentment. Appreciate what you have and be grateful. Ask yourself if a purchase is a “want” or a “need” and make decisions accordingly. Be patient with yourself as you learn to be more patient with your circumstances, possessions, and other people. Your success may not only result in a higher credit score, but in healthier and more satisfying relationships at home and at work.

Live, Work and Relate Well!

Dr. Todd

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