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Locking down decisions

Dare we say it aloud? There are some unexpected benefits from 85 days of lockdown.

We have had enough time to really mull things over. Normally, we spend an average of 84 days deciding to have children, 73 days deciding whether to get married and 51 days deciding whether to change jobs. That could change.

According to behaviour psychologist, Professor Adrian Furnham, “Ordinarily, we live such busy lives that we often don’t have time to stop and reflect on some of life’s important and more meaningful decisions. The lockdown may have forced many people to take the time needed to reflect and evaluate whether they want to move, switch jobs or start a family. We may therefore see a rise in decisive action when it comes to life’s big events.”

Weddings and babies and new jobs are always something to celebrate. But there are other big decisions to contemplate. According to the Share Centre, Brits typically spend 22 days deciding which car to buy, 19 days on furniture and nine days on household appliances.

Making our minds up

Those numbers are affected by age. Young people are snappier decision-makers. Those between 18 and 24 years spend less than two weeks deciding about a car compared with 26 days for those aged 55 and older. Similarly, 18-24-year-olds spend four days deciding about household appliances compared to 11 for those 55 and older.

In theory, the lockdown has blocked our ability to impulse buy, while granting us more time to weigh up the options. As the lockdown lifts, we potentially might make better buying decisions.

Professor Furnham suggests, “While the lockdown has been psychologically and socially tough, it may have actually helped us make some fully informed decisions as we haven’t been able to rush into anything.”

Here’s more good news: Brits have saved over £57bn. Partially this is because we weren’t paying for childcare or transportation or lunch at the office. Partially, of course, it’s because the shops were closed.  The Share Centre has some tips to help consumers decide what to do with all those savings.

  1. Set priorities. Make a list with the most essential at the top. Buy from the list and not impulsively.
  2. Shop around. There should be deals as businesses attract clients back with great prices.
  3. Ringfence some savings. Just because.

And an additional tip from us. Make a habit of reviewing your investments and the investment platform they’re housed on. You can do that using our platform calculator.

Acting young again

Finally, Professor Furnham suggests that the pandemic might have a long-term impact on decision-making because the pandemic has shown that no one knows what’s around the corner. “It’s likely people will emerge from lockdown with a new approach to decision-making – seizing opportunities and acting on life decisions sooner rather than later.”

If this is true, then the final piece of good news is that older people will start acting young again.


Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash


About the Author:

Bella has 20 years’ experience in the research and analysis of the investment industry. She set up Fundscape (comparetheplatform's owner) in 2010. Before Fundscape, she worked for Thomson Reuters as Global Head of Research and Publications (Lipper) and was the author of numerous publications and reports. Bella has a master’s degree in International Business and is fluent in four languages. She is particularly fussy about grammar and punctuation, and loves going to the theatre, disco dancing and pub quizzes. @bella_caridade @fundscapeuk

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