Saving money is one of those things – not unlike eating healthily or exercising, that is a no brainer. These are the things that we know to do, and we know are good for us. Yet, for some reason there are these huge industries that have been built around finding ways to get us to do what we already know we should do and are clearly not doing. Tomo is centered on solving the problem for saving money. Just under 50% of Americans today don’t have any savings put aside for a rainy day. This is fascinating given the many saving solutions our banks provide us with to save our money. This shows that the issue is not a lack of solutions. I also don’t think there are many people who will disagree with the notion that saving at least some portion of one’s income is good thing, so the issue isn’t lack of education either. I think it’s a habit thing.
People who get into a routine can train themselves into making positive choices about pretty much anything, including saving money. This is true for exercise, diet, and a plethora of other life choices. The challenge for disruptive technology is to disrupt human behavior. It’s to encourage the change of a negative habit into a positive one which means, said piece of technology has to affect the user in a deeply personal way.
Tomo is being designed to change people’s saving behavior to the point where they are saving more money with the app than they would be saving without it. The way I’ve thought about doing this is to enlist the help of the people around the user who want to see positive change in the user’s behavior, and who will not only encourage but hold that user accountable for their savings behavior. I came to this rationale because if we really think about it, our habits are mostly learned. I pick up many of my habits based on my interactions with the people I interact with every day. The folks I hang around with have a huge impact on my personal habits. For example, I take my shower in the morning rather than at night because that’s how my parents taught me to do it. I go to a particular coffee shop because they are nice to me. The list goes on and on. My point is that with other technologies designed to change user behavior – they almost always focus on that user as an isolated entity. It’s almost as if they are collectively saying “There is something wrong with the user and this product is designed to fix you so you can be like everyone else”. Tomo is different in that we facilitate community around what needs to be changed and we enlist the user’s close network of supporters to help them with the habit change. In this case, we bring the users friends and family together to help them to achieve the financial goal they have set, which we think is a better solution than trying to get the user to change their behavior by themselves. We think people united in a common cause can be extremely effective in causing habit change which is why we’ve taken this unique approach to saving money.
So in a nutshell, we want to use your friends and family to encourage, hold accountable, badger, and yes – shame you into reaching your goal! My next article will deal more with how the savings program works, and how we plan to achieve it as well as how you can help!