Current vs. Future Self: Bridging the Money Disconnect and Finding Peace

With Dr. Hal Hershfield | Professor | Author |


In this conversation, Hal Hershfield discusses the concept of future selves and the challenges of balancing future orientation with embracing the present. He explores the importance of creating emotional connections with our future selves and shares research on how to motivate future-oriented decisions. The conversation also touches on the significance of endings and how they can impact motivation. Finally, Hershfield discusses the decision-making process around end-of-life and retirement, highlighting the need for thoughtful planning and meaningful transitions.

Shaun and Hershfield discuss the importance of transition (like retirement) and the importance of maintaining identity and happiness during transitional phases of life. They explore the factors that predict a successful transition and how individuals can implement strategies to ensure a positive experience. They also discuss the relationship between changing selves and identity, and how understanding this connection can impact one’s approach to retirement. Ultimately, they emphasize the key to a happy and healthy relationship with money: using it as a tool to fund contentment and finding joy in both the present and future.


Hal Hershfield is a Professor of Marketing, Behavioral Decision Making, and Psychology at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and holds the UCLA Anderson Board of Advisors Term Chair in Management.

His research, which sits at the intersection of psychology and economics, examines the ways we can improve our long-term decisions. He earned his PhD in psychology from Stanford University.

Hershfield publishes in top academic journals and also contributes op-eds to the New York Times, Harvard Business Review, the Wall Street Journal, and other outlets.


  • Balancing future orientation with embracing the present can lead to a more meaningful and satisfying life.
  • Creating emotional connections with our future selves can help motivate future-oriented decisions.
  • Endings can evoke mixed emotions, but they can also provide opportunities for growth and new beginnings.
  • Maintaining a sense of identity and happiness in retirement is crucial, and individuals who have interests and strong social connections tend to thrive.
  • Understanding the relationship between changing selves and identity can help individuals navigate transitions more effectively.
  • Writing letters to future selves can provide valuable insights and guidance for living a happy and healthy life.
  • Balancing living in the present with planning for the future is essential, as both contribute to overall well-being.


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