Are you generally an optimist or a pessimist? Do you see opportunity where others see problems, or does every silver lining have a dark cloud hanging over it? The consensus of research in this area seems to be that our genes influence about half of our general disposition and perspective. The balance is affected by what we learn from early childhood and subsequent life experiences. Your disposition has a big influence on how you make financial decisions. Some financial decisions are easy while others are really challenging. Deciding how much to spend on lunch is much simpler than deciding how much to save for retirement and where to invest it. Every day we must decide between spending money for immediate reward, or deferring gratification to a later date. Our primeval brains encourage us to favour the here and now over the dim and distant future. That made a lot of sense thousands of years ago, when we did not know where the next meal was coming from and few people lived long into a...

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