Though it can be used by a wide audience, Savvy Saver is a phone app and web plug-in that is specifically designed with the needs of older adults in mind. This target audience includes people who have reached retirement age and have saved some money but need to watch their spending habits in order for that money to last through retirement. It is not intended to inspire huge chunks of saving, but rather to help set little amounts aside by enabling spenders to make smart decisions. With older people becoming increasingly technology savvy, they could utilize an app that improves their financial decisions, and most current apps are designed for a much younger audience. Savvy Saver’s simple graphics and operations are designed to make older users feel comfortable.
Aging adults need this kind of resource in particular because many of them have not saved excess money for retirement, so every little bit of saving helps. In addition, according to an article from the Journal of the American Society of Aging, as people age, their ability to make good financial decisions declines (Journal of the American Society of Aging). For those suffering from mild cognitive impairment (memory loss due to age), “the ability to manage your money to meet your needs and match your values — is one of the first things to go” (Next Avenue).
Savvy Saver can be purchased on the app store and connects to users’ bank and/or credit card accounts to monitor shopping habits. It can be used in place of Apple Pay at stores or as a web add-on for any online purchases. It helps regulate spending by providing the user with extra information and options before making a final purchase. The user then has to select from three options: approve the purchase, cancel the purchase, or cancel the purchase and put the money back into a savings account.
Sample app interface:
The information provided may remind users if they have recently made a similar purchase, as shown in the mock-up of the app screen above. This is especially helpful for older adults suffering from memory loss to help keep them from wasting money on duplicate purchases. If no similar purchases have been made recently, it will update them on the amount of money they have spent this month in the same category of goods (e.g. “You have already spent $240 on clothes this month. Are you sure you want to continue?”). These constant reminders target memory loss and poor financial decisions, forcing the user to consider their recent spend and question if a purchase is necessary.
Sample web interface:
In addition, Savvy Saver has a feature that can be enabled which prompts another person for secondary approval before the purchase can be completed. This might be useful for a caregiver helping grandma watch her spending or a parent who wants approval of his/her teenagers’ buys. However, it could also be used by a trusted peer (e.g. you might ask your best friend to keep you from buying new shoes).
Savvy Saver also targets competitive human nature with congratulatory notifications. Striving for positive feedback gives users more motivation to achieve saving goals. A “Good Job” and the option to add more money to a savings account allows the user to feel accomplished in his or her savings, encouraging continued smart spending. This motivation, combined with constant reminders (or triggers) that make saving easier, makes the user more likely to achieve their saving goals as per BJ Fogg’s “A Behavioral Model for Persuasive Design.”