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  • So now that I was 4,000 dollars in the hole, I did two things.

  • The first is that I unlinked my credit card

  • from my car-sharing apps.

  • Instead, I linked a debit card that only had 300 dollars a month.

  • If I needed more,

  • I had to go through the whole process of adding a new card,

  • and we know that every click, every barrier, changes our behavior.

  • We all know that saving is important

  • and is something that we should be doing.

  • And yet, overall, we're doing less and less of it.

  • [The Way We Work]

  • We know what we need to do.

  • The question is: How do we do it?

  • And that's what I'm here to teach you.

  • Your savings behavior isn't a question of how smart you are

  • or how much willpower you have.

  • The amount we save depends on the environmental cues around us.

  • Let me give you an example.

  • We ran a study in which, in one group,

  • we showed people their income on a monthly basis.

  • In another group, we showed people their income on a weekly basis.

  • And what we found was that people who saw their income on a weekly basis

  • were able to budget better throughout the month.

  • Now, it's important to know

  • that we didn't change how much money people were receiving,

  • we just changed the environment in which they understood their income.

  • And environmental cues like this have an impact.

  • So I'm not going to share tricks with you that you already know.

  • I'm not going to tell you how to open up a savings account

  • or how to start saving for your retirement.

  • What I am going to share with you is how to bridge this gap

  • from your intentions to save

  • and your actions.

  • Are you ready?

  • Here's number one:

  • harness the power of pre-commitment.

  • Fundamentally, we think about ourselves in two different ways:

  • our present self and our future self.

  • In the future, we're perfect.

  • In the future, we're going to save for retirement,

  • we're going to lose weight,

  • we're going to call our parents more.

  • But we oftentimes forget that our future self

  • is exactly the same person as our present self.

  • We know that one of the best times to save is when you get your tax return.

  • So we tried an A/B test.

  • In the first group, we texted people in early February,

  • hopefully before they even filed for their taxes.

  • And we asked them,

  • "If you get a tax refund, what percentage would you like to save?"

  • Now this is a really hard question.

  • They didn't know if they would receive a tax refund or how much.

  • But we asked the question anyway.

  • In the second group, we asked people right after they received their refund,

  • "What percentage would you like to save?"

  • Now, here's what happened.

  • In that second condition, when people just received their tax refund,

  • they wanted to save about 17 percent of their tax refund.

  • But in the condition when we asked people before they even filed their taxes,

  • savings rates increased from 17 percent to 27 percent

  • when we asked in February.

  • Why?

  • Because you're committing for your future self,

  • and of course your future self can save 27 percent.

  • These large changes in savings behavior

  • came from the fact that we changed the decision-making environment.

  • We want you to be able to harness that same power.

  • So take a moment

  • and think about the ways in which you can sign up your future self

  • for something that you know today will be a little bit hard.

  • Sign up for an app that lets you make savings decisions in advance.

  • The trick is, you have to have that binding contract.

  • Number two: use transition moments to your advantage.

  • We did an experiment with a website

  • that helps older adults share their housing.

  • We ran two ads on social media,

  • targeted to the same population of 64-year-olds.

  • In one group, we said, "Hey, you're getting older.

  • Are you ready for retirement?

  • House sharing can help."

  • In the second group, we got a little bit more specific

  • and said, "You're 64 turning 65.

  • Are you ready for retirement?

  • House sharing can help."

  • What we're doing in that second group

  • is highlighting that a transition is happening.

  • All of a sudden,

  • we saw click-through rates, and ultimately sign-up rates, increase

  • when we highlight that.

  • In psychology, we call this the "fresh start effect."

  • Whether it's the start of a new year or even a new season,

  • your motivation to act increases.

  • So right now, put a meeting request on your calendar

  • for the day before your next birthday.

  • Identify the one financial thing you most want to do.

  • And commit yourself to it.

  • The third and final trick:

  • get a handle on small, frequent purchases.

  • We've run a few different studies

  • and found that the number one purchase people say they regret, after bank fees,

  • is eating out.

  • It's a frequent purchase we make almost every day,

  • and it's death by a thousand cuts.

  • A coffee here, a burrito there ...

  • It adds up and decreases our ability to save.

  • Back when I lived in New York City,

  • I looked at my expenses

  • and saw that I spent over 2,000 dollars on ride-sharing apps.

  • It was more than my New York City rent.

  • I vowed to make a change.

  • And the next month, I spent 2,000 dollars again --

  • no change, because the information alone didn't change my behavior.

  • I didn't change my environment.

  • We aren't machines.

  • We don't carry around an abacus every day,

  • adding up what we're spending, in comparison to what we wanted.

  • But what our brains are very good at

  • is counting up the number of times we've done something.

  • So I gave myself a limit.

  • I can only use ride-sharing apps three times a week.

  • It forced me to ration my travels.

  • I got a handle on my car-sharing expenses to the benefit of my husband,

  • because of the environmental changes that I did.

  • So get a handle on whatever that purchase is for you,

  • and change your environment to make it harder to do so.

  • Those are my tips for you.

  • But I want you to remember one thing.

  • As human beings, we can be irrational when it comes to saving

  • and spending and budgeting.

  • But luckily, we know this about ourselves,

  • and we can predict how we'll act under certain environments.

  • Let's do that with saving.

  • Let's change our environment to help our future selves.

So now that I was 4,000 dollars in the hole, I did two things.

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A2 US TED refund save sharing tax retirement

【TED】Wendy De La Rosa: 3 psychological tricks to help you save money (3 psychological tricks to help you save money | The Way We Work, a TED series)

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    林宜悉 posted on 2019/02/09
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