The behaviorally-designed, active solution to get customers to achieve their financial goals

We all want customers to take action to improve their financial health. By combining behavioral economics and cutting edge technology, Retiremap enables financial services firms to create a highly personalized path to help customers achieve their financial goals, while building trust and creating a data-rich profile.


When we set about building the new version of Retiremap with the team from Duke University’s Common Cents Lab, we started by asking ourselves, “What actions do we want people to take?”

Here were some of the answers we came up with:

  • Build up their emergency savings
  • Pay off debt faster
  • Successfully buy a home
  • Open a retirement account to boost savings
  • Feel more confident and in-control of their money

Most financial apps seek these types of outcomes. The challenge is that they rely on a content-based approach (videos, articles, calculators, etc.) to encourage behavior change. Unfortunately for other apps, this type of content-based approach has been proven to have literally zero impact on behavior change (The Effect of Financial Literacy and Financial Education on Downstream Financial Behaviors [2014], based on a meta-analysis of 188 research studies), resulting in a waste of time and money, with no verifiable outcome.

So then the next question that our team asked was, “How do we set ourselves apart from the other financial apps to actually get people to take the desired actions?”

Fortunately, the research is quite clear on how to get customers to take action. Below are the key design components that went into Retiremap to deliver smart, measurable outcomes.

Personalized, One-step-at-a-time Approach

By personalizing the path that customers need to take to achieve their financial goals, Retiremap builds upon the intrinsic motivation that they already have to reach their goals. And as their goals change over time, Retiremap actively adjusts the coaching track to keep guidance current.

The research is clear that when helping people take action, it’s critical that they focus on only achieving the most relevant next steps. That’s why by prioritizing and sequencing which To Dos people should be working on in their To Do Dashboard, Retiremap communicates each To Do’s importance and how they can easily be completed. What’s critical is that customers are not asked to take actions simultaneously, therefore the Dashboard serves up their To Dos one at a time, with the landing page dedicated to what a customer has “To Do Now.”

Additionally, each To Do has multiple components, including:

  • A custom message from their financial coach
  • Details on the action that they need to take
  • A time estimate for how long the action should take them
  • Links to relevant websites, such as their retirement plan provider’s website
  • Their deadline to complete the action
  • An alternative to the recommended action, with an explanation of why this is not quite as appropriate for the customer, in order to build trust and provide flexibility

This To Do approach helps to remove the complexity from the financial decision making process. It also enables customer to take action sooner, with greater confidence, and feel like they’re making real progress on their money.

Active Solutions Across Silos

Each individual’s To Do Dashboard is personalized for them, enabling Retiremap to promote active solutions tailored to the holistic view of the customer, based on over 300 data points gathered on the customer. By designing for a broad array of financial needs, Retiremap continues to deliver engaging, highly-relevant calls to action.  For example, if there is a specific action that a financial institution would like customers to act on, such as opening a particular type of account or signing up for a service, Retiremap can build those actions and target customers whose demographics match the firm’s requirements.

Retiremap feels that this level of customization enables firms to promote unique actions whose completion can be easily measured.

A Place for Human Interaction

A central component of the communications to customers is the human element, which makes it easy to engage with their financial coach. This type of accountability, delivered over email, SMS, in-app messages, video voicemail and live calls, keeps customers focused on their To Dos and is hugely valuable when it comes to getting them to change behavior.

Additionally, when financial coaches interact with customers, they can easily personalize the customer’s Dashboard. By selecting checkboxes from their personalized coaching scripts, To Dos are automatically added or removed in the customer’s Dashboard. The power of this type of workflow automation means that a coach’s time is optimized for their greatest value- a nuanced financial assessment and not administrative work.

Moreover, customers can chat directly with their coach and all the communications flow through a team-based CRM that has been customized for the financial coaches. The CRM includes templated responses to common FAQs, as well as automatically-sent messages, based on behavioral and time-based triggers.

Self-Service With Accountability

Part of the beauty of the To Do Dashboard is that it’s so easy to access. Customers receive a unique link and don’t have to remember a username and password (no personally identifiable information is stored in the To Do Dashboard). That means customers can easily access their Dashboard and work on their To Dos when it’s convenient for them. What’s particularly powerful is that the customer and their coach can collaborate through the Dashboard, which highlights the unique role accountability plays in Retiremap’s approach.

Just-in-time Follow Up

By automating follow ups using behavioral, demographic and time-based triggers, the To Do Dashboard focuses on getting customers to take action by setting deadlines for them. However, customers can also commit to their own deadlines and their coach will automatically follow up with them when it gets close to their deadline.

Branded Solution

The To Do Dashboard can be branded in whatever way is desirable. For branding, all Retiremap needs is a logo and a URL (Retiremap manages all the technology, so that partner firms don’t have to worry about that).

In Conclusion

The more we can use proven, research-backed behavioral strategies alongside technology that scales impact, the more successful we’ll be with getting customers to make healthier financial decisions. The To Do Dashboard takes everything that we know works to get people to take action and presents it in an easy to use, mobile-friendly format. Chat with us to learn more or you can request a demo here.