Wishful thinking actually can pay off – if the wishes help you focus on the goal and stick to your saving goals.

Researchers at the University of Buffalo researchers looked into how people make real-life financial decisions based on their belief in the American dream.  They found that if you’re focused on a concrete goal, and believe that you have the power to achieve that through hard work, you are more likely to save money and less likely to be distracted by impulse spending that undermines progress towards your big goal.

But people who don’t believe that their hard work will move them ‘up the economic ladder,’ according to the study, essentially take the view of ‘what difference does it make?” and are more likely to spend money on things that don’t help them make progress towards their goal.

The big takeaway: you’ll probably make more progress towards saving for your next house when you see it as part of achieving your financial destiny. View your personal finances holistically: advancing at work not only increases your income but also is proof that your hard work is paying off – just as your self-discipline in saving for the house will pay off, too.psychjune2

That’s especially important when the housing market is tight, as it is now. The National Association of Realtors recently released a survey as the housing market has tightened, non-owners have become more pessimistic about whether or not it’s a good time to buy. It’s hard to stay focused on a goal that seems to constantly move out of reach.

According to a real estate industry study, in 2016 most people last year maintained a favorable view about homeownership, with over 90 percent of homeowners and roughly eight out of 10 non-homeowners each quarter indicating that owning a home is part of their American Dream.

However, despite these positive feelings, optimism about it being a good time to buy diminished among non-owners. The percent share who believed it was a good time to buy declined from 63 percent in the first quarter to 55 percent in the fourth quarter. The share of homeowners who thought it was a good time to buy also dipped as the year went on but hovered at a much higher rate of around 80 percent each quarter.

And if you are struggling to amass your first down payment or top off the equity in your current house, take a step back and review your perspective about how well your effort pays off in other arenas, too. If job discouragements, debt and unexpected financial hits make you wonder if it’s worth it, focus on financial goals you can largely control == and regularly review your progress, knowing that every step in the right direction couns. . That can go a long way towards psyching yourself into the house you want.