No one wants to waste money, but some of us go overboard trying to get the best possible deal.
I have spent nearly as much time researching which hiking socks to buy as I have choosing a new car. Others of my species — we’re called “maximizers” — might miss locking in a good mortgage interest rate while waiting for a better one. Our determination to make the optimal choice means we’re often plagued by buyer’s remorse as well as decision paralysis.
Maximizers are the polar opposite of “satisficers,” people who make decisions once they’ve found an acceptable choice. Maximizers’ high standards mean we often get better outcomes, such as jobs that pay more, says financial therapist Kristy Archuleta, associate professor of financial planning at the University of Georgia. But maximizers also have more anxiety about making decisions, which can lead to second-guessing our choices or being unable to choose at all.
“Because you’re always trying to look for what’s the best possible decision or the best possible choice you can make, you can become stressed about it,” Archuleta says. “The more choices you have, the harder it is to make a decision.”
Satisficers don’t have that issue. (“Satisfice,” a combination of “satisfy” and “suffice,” was coined by economist and psychologist Herbert Simon in 1956.) Satisficers have more modest standards for making choices. They may research, but only to find an option that achieves their goal. They’re generally pleased with their choices and don’t worry that there might have been a better one.