Your Rational Decisions – Aren’t. Part 1

When I was transferred from Canada to the U.S., I loved exploring my new neighborhood and settling in. Until it came to shopping for food. One would think that because the two countries are neighbors and we eat, consume and dress so similarly, that it would be an easy transition. Well, it was definitely easier than moving to China or Japan, but not as easy as one would think.

When a Brand Means Nothing to You
The first time I went grocery shopping, I couldn’t identify with 50% of the brands. When I read the name I drew a mental and visual blank. These foods did not hold a place in my head as being good, inferior, a bargain, or what Mom always bought. I had never seen a commercial about them, or heard a sponsor talk about them. As you can appreciate, I spent a lot of time reading labels to figure out what I should buy, as well as looking into the cupboards of my new friends to see what they would recommend. It was painful for a few months!

If we couldn’t rely on memories, emotions, and accumulated facts to create shortcuts in our brains and help make decisions, we’d be in a store all day. Often, we don’t even know our brain is taking a shortcut since our purchases are made in split seconds. This is the benefit of Somatic Markers. In my next blog, I’ll share an example and discuss the risk of these shortcuts.

Carrie Rattle is a Principal at, a web site for women focused on the psychology of money behaviors. She has worked in the financial services industry for 20+ years and hopes to inspire women to better prepare themselves for financial independence. Thoughts always welcome:

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