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Savers are more optimistic, claims Standard Life

A neuroscience study suggests that many people feel anxious when they think about saving for the future, but that when they do save they feel happier. Standard Life’s Saving in Mind research showed that positive and helpful communication about long-term saving stimulates the production of dopamine and can in turn encourage the production of ‘love hormone’ oxytocin.

People who take control of their savings and check their finances monthly are ten times more confident about their financial future than those who do not, according to the report.

The research, conducted by Mindlab and appraised by cognitive neuroscientist Lynda Shaw, used electroencephalography (EEG) techniques within a laboratory environment and a benchmarking questionnaire to assess the relationship between savings and emotions.

Stephen Ingledew, managing director, customer and marketing at Standard Life, said: “We now know that people can feel all kinds of emotions when they think about saving for the future, from anxiety and hopelessness to optimism and security, and how they approach their savings is an important factor.

“We also have compelling evidence that the right communications can help to change the way we feel. The future of savings communication should be personal and positive, not nebulous and negative.  The results show that positive communication with guidance on what to do next help people feel more motivated and able to take action.”

The study shows that those who save are significantly more optimistic, calm, hopeful and confident about the future of their finances than those who do not save for the future. Around 57% of those who are saving for the future feel optimistic compared with just 20% of those who are not.

Dr Shaw commented: “The results of this study also showed that just offering savings guidance – simple steps as to what to do next – regardless of emotional tone, did in fact increase participant’s intention to save. This is highly relevant. 

“We live in an age of information saturation. At the press of a button we can access an incredible amount of information that is both overwhelming and confusing. It can be argued that guidance on what to do next not only promotes curiosity and interest, but also simplifies.  It helps people feel confident to make that next step.”

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