On November 5, in line with tradition, a huge array of sparkling displays took place across the UK to celebrate Guy Fawkes night (“Remember, remember, the fifth of November . . . ”). As days get shorter, Bonfire Night is also a friendly reminder that it’s that wonderful time of the year (again) when we warm ourselves by roaring bonfires, getting ready for the oh-so-jolly festive season.
However, as Christmas lights are being switched on and mulled wine is being stewed, few of us seem well prepared for a new outbreak of spending fever hitting our budget. The most prudent consumers might have squirreled money away in anticipation of their shopping spree. But many will give their credit card a serious workout, then strive to survive the January money pinch.
As psychology and behavioral economics professor Dan Ariely writes in his book Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter, “Emotions play a powerful role in shaping our financial behavior, often making us our own worst enemies . . . ”
Each day, millions of people make financial decisions that affect their wallets and overall financial situation. The reality is that while many individuals say they want to improve how they’re managing their money, few are actually doing so. Even with the best intentions, many fail to stick with the goals they’ve set themselves.
Financial services firms are not making it easier for us, either. As we steadily march toward high-frequency, invisible, and autonomous payments with the help of credit cards, digital wallets, and contactless payments, we experience the “pain of paying” less and less. Without feeling the loss of money with every tap, without being fully aware that we’re spending it, we become less aware of our financial decisions and less considerate of the consequences.
Decades of behavioral science research have revealed that humans are not naturally predisposed to making logical, conscious choices and therefore don’t always do what’s best for them. In their seminal work Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness, Nobel Laureate and behavioral economist Richard H. Thaler and legal scholar Cass Sunstein have suggested that it is possible to use behavioral insights to help individuals make better decisions.
In my upcoming speech at Forrester’s CX Europe 2018 Forum, I will discuss how financial services firms can weave the lessons of behavioral economics into the fabric of their services to nudge consumers toward better financial decisions and help them achieve their financial goals. You will learn how you can design engaging digital financial experiences that bridge the “goal intention-action gap.” I will also present best practices from forerunners that are moving the needle on their customers’ financial wellness. I look forward to seeing you there!