I recently got a wisdom tooth removed. My dentist had been nagging me to do it for years. Why the delay? I don’t have dentophobia. I’m not an anti-dentite. I just didn’t want to save the money (or spend it). But for the grace of my flex account, I was able to squirrel away nearly $700 (tax free, no less), and pop that tooth out.

My flex account automatically takes money out of my paycheck and saves it for medical expenses. It’s an example of behavioral economics. Traditional economics assumes people make rational decisions; behavioral economics assumes we’re human. And flawed. And irrational. And it creates systems to correct for these weaknesses. Instead of assuming that I’m a rational person who knows I need to pay the dentist and will save money to do so, behavioral economics knows that I’m much more likely to save money…

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