Activity Idea: Want a money goal to Stickk?

Feb 06, 2018
Activities, Behavioral Finance, Current Events

No that's not a typo. Hat tip to NGPF podcast guest, Jonathan Clements (he's got a great newsletter too!) for pointing me to this website, Stickk. Stickk is a goal setting platform created by a bunch of behavioral economists at Yale. Their platform relies on the power of the nudge (it won Richard Thaler a Nobel prize!) and public commitments to turn goals into reality. Here's their 4-step process:

Here's a few of the goals that I saw listed this evening (2/4/18) on the site:

  • Pay off $10,000 on my student loan.
  • Depositing 10% of my net pay into my savings account.
  • Write down all my spending, and balance my checking account on a daily basis.

Here's an example of one user's Commitment Journal: 

Interesting to see the different behavioral techniques this site uses to keep people working towards a goal:

  • Loss aversion: We feel losses about 3X more than we enjoy gains. By having us set stakes, our fear of losing (this user set $400 to go to charity) can be an effective motivator.
  • Setting dates for check-ins keeps us accountable as it ensures the goal remains top-of-mind.
  • Selecting a referee increases the social pressure as we may not want to let down a friend.
  • The same social theory applies to Supporters. in this case, plenti does not currently have any supporters. 
  • Calling it a Commitment Journal just reinforces the idea of a promise that we have made to ourselves in setting this goal. 

Activity idea: Whether you use the Stickk platform or not, have your students set a money goal that they would like to achieve while they are in your class. Have them follow these steps:

  • Set a specific goal over a specific timeframe too. For example, save $20 over the next semester. 
  • Set stakes (optional). For example, I will pay my friend $1 if I don't achieve this goal.
  • Select a friend to act as a "referee" in confirming your progress toward your goal. 
  • Write in a Commitment Journal weekly with an update on performance vs. a goal. 
  • Try and convince 2 or 3 other students in the class to be your Supporters and provide weekly texts to encourage you. 

Ask your students to reflect at the end of the semester on whether they achieved their goal and whether this process was a helpful one. Enjoy!


Goals or habits: Which is more effective? Check out this NGPF blog post and find out. 




About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.