UntilWeMeet is an app targeting millennial couples who are
thinking about, planning to, or are expecting to have kids. Based on the idea
that major life events often trigger significant and lasting changes to
spending and savings habits [1], UntilWeMeet tries to help couples save earlier
in order to cover child-related costs later, including diapers, housing, and education.
Although the target audience is couples making over $100k with no children, the
platform is adaptable for couples at various places on the income spectrum as
well as couples who already have children.


Users start their experience with UntilWeMeet by inputting
relevant information about their savings goals and lifestyles, including
income, savings accounts, current and desired zip codes, and spending accounts.
The app then creates a financial report and returns an interactive,
customizable visualization of a young child whose surroundings are determined
by the user’s current financial health. The preference algorithm then undergoes
a period of learning. In addition to studying passive inputs like location,
spending, and savings habits, the app will track responsiveness to financial robo-advising.
Using the child as a mascot, the app will message the user with discounts,
requests for new goals, and reminders about long-term goals and prioritize
those with the best response times and response rates from the user as well as
learn an optimal frequency and timing for the messages based on the user’s
behavior. This app would be supported by in-app ads, partering with companies
for discounts, and referral fees for financial products along a model similar
to Nerdwallet’s.


While the concept of UntilWeMeet targets all three factors
in Fogg’s model for behavioral design, the preference algorithm primarily deals
with motivation and triggering. Along the lines of ability, UntilWeMeet
attempts to provide discounts and information about financial products which
other robo-advising apps have done successfully [2]. With motivation, a study
of savings and retirement behaviors across all ages found that greed and hope
were much better motivators than fear amongst younger population [3].  when shown pictures of their later selves in
unfortunate scenarios later in life, millennials often chose shorter-term gains
to “live it up now” while visualizing family members in similar situations or
knowing how they were doing compared to others caused people across all ages to
make better long-term financial decisions [4,5]. Thus, the app’s child
visualization aspect helps tap into the motivational aspects of behavioral economics
while reinforcing the dual desire of “loss aversion” for their children [3]. Finally,
the algorithms employs individualized triggers through messaging from the child
mascot, another form of visualization.


Overall, the app proposes to help couples with disposable
income save for child-related expenses, which are often underestimated, by
allowing them to “meet” their future child and and visualize their child’s
future. Using a game-ified approach similar to already popular games amongst millennials
(like Sims and Neopets), the observation that greed and hope are better
motivators than fear amongst millennials, and the idea that life events often
lead to changes in behavioral spending, UntilWeMeet attempts to achieve
desirable behavioral change through designed visualization and interactivity.





[1] http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/collections/2015/10/the-role-of-emergency-savings-in-family-financial-security

[2] https://letstalkpayments.com/5-fintech-startups-in-401k-retirement-savings-aiming-to-solve-the-biggest-issue-of-fees/

[3] http://www.transamericacenter.org/docs/default-source/resources/center-research/tcrs2014_factsheet_millennials.pdf

[4] https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v71n4/v71n4p15.pdf

[5] https://am.jpmorgan.com/blob-gim/1383280097558/83456/JP-GTR.pdf

[6] Fogg, B.J. “A
Behavioral Model for Persuasive Design”.