What They Found
- The sentimental item group increased their savings three times (67%) more than the control group (only 22%) as reported in the follow-up phase.
- Participants assigned to the sentimental item group almost doubled what they save on average per year at $10,020 compared to $5,838 prior to the study.
- Across all five cities, the sentimental item group reported increased savings that were substantially higher than the control group as reported in the follow-up phase:
- Boston: 75% increase
- Austin: 40% increase
- Seattle: 47% increase
- Atlanta: 137% increase
- Dallas: 115% increase
- The sentimental item group showed statistically significant increases in their financial savings behaviors from pre-experiment to post-experiment: readiness to save, confidence toward saving and financial health.
- Readiness to Save: The sentimental item group’s readiness to save increased three times more compared to the control group
- Confidence in Ability to Save More: The sentimental group’s confidence in their ability to save increased twice as much as the control group
- Financial Health: The sentimental group’s reported financial health increased four times more than the control group
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- The sentimental item group reported that they were more significantly emotionally attached (10%) to their sentimental item from pre-experiment to post-experiment, an effect needed to change behavior from post- experiment to the follow-up phase.
What This Means
- The researchers hypothesize that the sentimental items group were able, through positive, emotionally-charged memories, to develop a deeper emotional incentive for saving money. The exercises they engaged in may have enabled them to more viscerally relate saving money to the family, life values and goals that mean the most to them.
- By incorporating sentiment and savings experiences into financial planning -- workshops, money coaching conversations, or even self-directed processes -- It may be possible to successfully harness a person’s emotions in order to facilitate better and healthier financial decision-making.
What You Can Do – Tips and Tricks
- Harness the positive emotion tied to your own sentimental items to improve your savings behavior.
- Think of an item you’ve kept for positive sentimental reasons and ask yourself what kind of feelings and values are associated with that item. Is it something a grandparent or parent gave you and thus is tied to the importance of a loving and supportive family? Or is it something from a vacation abroad that serves as a reminder of a sense of adventure and the great experiences you were lucky to have and that you hope to have more of in the future? Use the power of emotion tied to your sentimental item and the identified feelings and values associated to determine how to live your values today and improve your financial savings behavior.
- Come up with an exciting vision of what you are saving for and ask yourself the following questions:
- What would saving for the future get you? What is it you truly want? Get specific. What does it look like? How would it feel to have it? Who might you be enjoy it with? Where are you? What do you see, feel, experience?
- Consider creating some visual motivators. For example, cut out a picture from a magazine depicting your goal and tape it to your mirror. Better yet, put a picture depicting your goal as your screensaver or smartphone wallpaper where you can see it several times a day.
- Get specific. Don’t just have a “savings account.” Name it. Have a “2018 European Family Vacation Account.”
- When you are motivated to take action, automate it!
- For example, set up a monthly payment from your checking account to your savings account, like Capital One’s 360 Savings, so you never have to think about saving for the goal again. Make it easy to keep on track.
- Share a photo of a treasured keepsake you've saved, and tell why it's special. Follow @CapitalOne and post it on Twitter or Instagram using #ShareMySave and #Contest for a chance to win weekly cash prizes of $500 or one of their $10,000 grand prizes.
Thank you Capital One for sponsoring this post! This is a paid endorsement. All opinions are my own and were not directed by Capital One. To learn more about Capital One, visit www.capitalone.com.
Have a great week and plan for the weekend!
Authors - Jennifer and Tony Edwards
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