Podcast Episodes

What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

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Podcast Episodes

What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

333. Designing the Future of Saving: Behavioral Science Strategies for Financial Success – Vishal George

In this episode of The Brainy Business podcast, you’ll hear an insightful interview with Vishal George, a behavioral scientist and author of the book Money Mindsets. Vishal’s expertise lies in combining behavioral science with human-centered design and systems thinking. He shares examples of his work, including a project in New Zealand aimed at reducing businesses’ carbon emissions by using the messenger effect of young people’s voices. 

The conversation then delves into the importance of understanding our own money stories and how they shape our financial behavior. Vishal emphasizes the need to break the taboo surrounding money conversations and draws inspiration from children’s natural curiosity about money. The episode explores the intersection of behavioral science and personal finance, providing practical insights for improving financial well-being. Whether you’re looking to make better financial decisions or increase your savings, this episode offers valuable strategies and perspectives.

In this episode:

  • Gain insights from behavioral science to make better financial decisions and improve your financial well-being.
  • Break the stigma around money by engaging in open and honest conversations, leading to a healthier relationship with your finances.
  • Cultivate curiosity to enhance your financial decision-making skills, allowing you to make informed choices that align with your financial goals.
  • Design financial products and services that take into account human behavior, ultimately helping you achieve your financial objectives more effectively.
  • Explore the benefits of creating spaces for open conversations about money and financial goals, fostering a supportive community that empowers individuals to take control of their finances.
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00:00:00 – Introduction,
Melina welcomes Vishal George to The Brainy Business podcast to discuss his book Money Mindsets and his work as a behavioral scientist.

00:03:57 – Using Behavioral Science to Reduce Carbon Footprints,
Vishal shares an example of a project where he worked with the government of New Zealand to reduce businesses’ carbon emissions. By designing experiments and testing different strategies, they discovered that the messenger effect, particularly the voice of the next generation, was the most effective in motivating businesses to reduce their carbon footprint.

00:09:16 – The Power of Testing High-Risk Ideas,
Vishal emphasizes the importance of testing high-risk ideas, even if they may seem unconventional or counterintuitive. By pushing the boundaries and exploring extreme ideas, it becomes easier to find the middle ground and identify innovative solutions.

00:12:10 – The Inspiration Behind Money Mindsets,
Vishal explains that his inspiration for writing Money Mindsets was to provide a positive and impactful resource for individuals, particularly young males, to explore emotions, feelings, and empathy through the topic of money. The book aims to help readers understand their own emotions surrounding money and empathize with others in different circumstances.

00:13:54 – The Emotional Aspect of Money,
Vishal discusses how money evokes various emotions in people and how understanding these emotions can lead to a healthier relationship with money. He emphasizes the importance of exploring and acknowledging our emotions surrounding money in order to be more financially informed.

00:18:53 – Importance of Breaking Through the Stigma Around Money,
Vishal discusses the importance of breaking through the stigma surrounding money and suggests that cultivating curiosity about money can help individuals make more intentional financial decisions. He also mentions the abundance of financial products and services that can lead to overspending.

00:21:38 – Two Types of Curiosity and Building Financial Knowledge,
Vishal explains the two types of curiosity: diversity curiosity and epistemic curiosity. He suggests that building curiosity about money and related topics can help individuals make better financial decisions. He recommends clustering reading on topics like saving, spending behaviors, habits, motivation, and behavior change.

00:25:06 – Visible Spending and Invisible Saving,
Vishal discusses the shift from visible saving in the past to visible spending in the present. He highlights how technologies and digital currency have made spending behaviors more visible while saving behaviors remain invisible. He emphasizes the need to talk more openly about saving to reduce stigma and foster motivation.

00:27:16 – Overcoming Challenges in Talking About Money,
Vishal addresses the challenge of talking about money, particularly when it comes to accomplishments like being debt-free. He acknowledges the fear of bragging or making others feel inadequate, but emphasizes the importance of sharing positive financial experiences to break the cycle of assumption and encourage others to pursue financial goals.

00:36:31 – Designing Products and Services for Human Behavior,
The conversation begins by discussing two approaches to designing products and services with consideration for human behavior. The first approach focuses on removing barriers and making it easier for people to achieve their goals. The second approach explores the motivation and factors that drive individuals to set and achieve their goals.

00:37:30 – The Challenge of Saving Money,
The conversation shifts to the challenge of saving money and the difficulty in resisting one-time expenses. Vishal shares a story about a person named Kaya who struggles to save money due to various events and temptations. This highlights the need for financial institutions to create products and tools that make saving money as easy as spending money.

00:40:34 – Creating Products that Facilitate Saving,
Vishal discusses the importance of balancing spending and saving by creating products that make saving money just as easy as spending money. An example is given of a bank that offers a program called “Save the Change” which automatically rounds up purchases and transfers the spare change to a savings account. This removes friction and encourages saving.

00:42:14 – The Role of Friction in Breaking Habits,
The conversation explores the role of friction in breaking habits. While removing friction can make it easier to save money, adding some friction can help evaluate the necessity of certain actions. An example is given of introducing a process for employees to justify business travel, which adds a little bit of friction to assess if the travel is truly necessary.

00:45:49 –  Conclusion,
Melina’s top insights from the conversation. What stuck with you while listening to the episode? What are you going to try? Come share it with Melina on social media — you’ll find her as @thebrainybiz everywhere and as Melina Palmer on LinkedIn.

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