Some of these goals included long-term savings for future purchases– such as a new car– as well as saving for retirement, a “rainy day” fund, and vacations.
Afterward, independent raters were able to code the different savings goal responses into categories that matched personality traits.
Through this survey, the researchers found that, on average, the participants whose savings goals best matched their personality traits actually had more stashed away in the bank. And interestingly, this finding was consistent among both wealthier and poorer individuals.
It is important to note that, on average, the individuals who earned more money also had more cash in the bank. Nonetheless, when accounting for savings goals and personality fit, there was only a variance rate of about 5% across all income levels.
Following the survey, the researchers then conducted a field experiment that included 6,056 individuals who participated in a savings incentive program offered by Saver Life– a nonprofit savings app.
When the participants first joined this program, they all had under $100 in their savings accounts. Then, each individual was tasked with saving at least $100 more within one month.
For the study, each participant also completed a personality assessment– allowing the team to divide the participant pool into five groups.
The first group received five emails throughout the month, which encouraged them to put money away for a goal that worked well with their most significant personality trait.
On the other hand, the second group was sent emails encouraging them to save toward a goal that did not align with their dominant personality trait.
The third group then received emails that contained randomly-selected goal messages; meanwhile, the fourth group’s emails only contained generic messages that encouraged general savings. Finally, members of the fifth group did not receive any emails.
Now, not every individual opened the emails. However, among those who did, the team found that the highest saving success rate was achieved when participants received saving goals emails that matched their personality. This resulted in 11.4% of the participants reaching their savings goal of $100.