Financial Health Solutions: Boost Savings with Challenges and Empowering Messages
A Study with SaverLife

How can competitions influence more people to build their savings? SaverLife, a nonprofit focused on helping working families to save and invest in their futures, partnered with the Financial Health Leaders Lab to test several approaches. This study is part of a series highlighting Leaders Lab member innovations.

Heidi Johnson, Director of Behavioral Economics, Financial Health Network
Necati Celik, Associate, Financial Health Network

Top Takeaways

SaverLife built upon previous research by incorporating prize-linked savings, motivational messages, and peer comparison into its Race to $500 savings competition. The study revealed that:

The Race to $500 increased the number of people who saved during the competition by 6% and increased average savings deposits by 31%, or $451, over six months.

Empowering text messages increased savings deposits by 53% and increased savings balances by an additional $950 over six months.

Comparing users’ savings with their peers did not influence savings behavior during the study, but could create a positive impact over a longer timeframe.

Data Spotlight

Having access to the Race to $500 and empowering messaging resulted in higher savings deposits after six months.


Our Supporters

This report is made possible through the generous support of MetLife Foundation, a founding sponsor of our financial health work.

About the Financial Health Leaders Lab

The Financial Health Network helps companies incorporate behavioral science principles into their product design and rigorously test the financial health impact of their products. This research was conducted through the Financial Health Leaders Lab, a program available exclusively to Financial Health Network Members, which supports a select group of companies developing and testing innovations to improve financial health.

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