The Wall Street Journal today reported on a study showing that individuals who were reminded by text messages to save increased their savings account balances by 6 percent. The researchers concluded that attentiveness plays a part in savings discipline. Consumers were particularly motivated by reminders of certain personal goals. Those who were offered particular incentives by their banks upped their savings by 16 percent, on average. Negative messages were no help at all.
If you'd like a regular nudge to urge you to save, you may be able to set up electronic reminders through an online personal finance service. Consumer Reports Money Adviser looked at a few online services recently. (Note: Intuit, which now owns Mint, is reported to be shutting down its original online personal finance service, Quicken Online, and moving customers to Mint.)
You also can easily automate savings by arranging periodic transfers of funds from a checking account to an online savings account. Consumer Reports offers tips for ramping up your savings. And Consumer Reports Money Adviser judges several online banks.–Tobie Stanger