Mental Accounting


DEFINITION of 'Mental Accounting'

An economic concept established by economist Richard Thaler, which contends that individuals divide their current and future assets into separate, non-transferable portions. The theory purports individuals assign different levels of utility to each asset group, which affects their consumption decisions and other behaviors.

BREAKING DOWN 'Mental Accounting'

The importance of this theory is illustrated in its application towards the economic behavior of individuals, and thus entire populations and markets. Rather than rationally viewing every dollar as identical, mental accounting helps explain why many investors designate some of their dollars as "safety" capital which they invest in low-risk investments, while at the same time treating their "risk capital" quite differently.

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  1. Can working capital be depreciated?

    Working capital as current assets cannot be depreciated the way long-term, fixed assets are. In accounting, depreciation ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Do working capital funds expire?

    While working capital funds do not expire, the working capital figure does change over time. This is because it is calculated ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How much working capital does a small business need?

    The amount of working capital a small business needs to run smoothly depends largely on the type of business, its operating ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What does high working capital say about a company's financial prospects?

    If a company has high working capital, it has more than enough liquid funds to meet its short-term obligations. Working capital, ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How can working capital affect a company's finances?

    Working capital, or total current assets minus total current liabilities, can affect a company's longer-term investment effectiveness ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What can working capital be used for?

    Working capital is used to cover all of a company's short-term expenses, including inventory, payments on short-term debt ... Read Full Answer >>

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