If you’re considering rolling out financial wellness to clients in 2019, then you don’t want to miss the start of the year to launch. Here are two practical, behaviorally-informed reasons why:

Fresh Start Effect
Experts view the start of the new year as a “temporal landmark” that “has the potential to help people overcome important willpower problems that often limit goal attainment.”

Because taking action on their money is so challenging for the average employee, this “fresh start effect” is a wave that every financial wellness program should be riding! It allows us to put past inaction or bad behavior behind us and start over with a clean slate. [1]

Windfall Effect
Experts highlight that windfalls such as bonuses or tax refunds are both the easiest to spend (savings is the most difficult) and can have the biggest impact on making financial progress. Think of taking that $2,000 tax refund and putting half of it towards a dedicated emergency fund. That’s real, immediate progress that will propel employees to take more action to improve their financial wellness.

From a timing standpoint, late January is great because (1) we want to get employees to commit to saving a tax refund well before it arrives in the mail, and (2) bonuses are often issued slightly before or after the new year so the windfall is still fresh and may not have been allocated yet.

With this in mind, we designed the Moneymap program to gets employees to pre-commit to saving a bonus and/or tax refund. As their anticipated windfall date nears, they get personalized reminders from their coach holding them accountable to the action they committed to (e.g. transferring 50% of their coming tax refund to their emergency fund account).

To see for yourself how Moneymap’s new behaviorally-designed, tech-enabled financial wellness program works, just request a demo:

https://financialwellness.us/demo-request/

[1] Dai, Hengchen and Milkman, Katherine L. and Riis, Jason, The Fresh Start Effect: Temporal Landmarks Motivate Aspirational Behavior (December 24, 2013). The Wharton School Research Paper No. 51. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2204126 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2204126