Persuasion can be everything—and a new research paper says that finding the right way to framethe need to save for retirement can persuade younger peoplethat they need to boost their savings level.

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Related: 5 tips for DIY employeeengagement

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According to “Saving for Tomorrow Today: How Message Framing CanImprove Retirement Savings Rates for Younger Workers,” recastingthe arguments in favor of saving more could change the behavior ofyoung people—and older people, too—and encourage them to dobetter.

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Part of the problem is that people behave differently based onwhether they think something will happen in the near future or inthe distant future, the research says. The farther away in time anevent is, the more abstractly people think about it, onlyrefocusing on the practical aspects of it as it draws nearer andrequires action.

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According to the study, not only do 80.3 percent of youngerhouseholds (between the ages of 25–34) not meet their suggestedsaving targets, a Vanguard study of the universe of its retirementplans reports that younger people are less likely to participatethan any other age group.

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Related: Gamification and the401(k)

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The paper reports the outcome of a pair of studies theresearchers conducted to test, in essence, marketing approaches. One reveals thatmillennial workers respond better to abstract, not concrete,advertisements recommending savings, while boomers’ savings ratesare not affected by the type of advertisement. The second indicatesthat younger workers’ savings intentions increase further when thesavings goal is presented using concrete messaging and as amilestone, instead of as a distant goal.

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Another study’s finding that a social marketing approach canincrease plan participation among new employees, which was notage-specific, indicates that those employees lack basic informationon how to open a retirement savings account. It also reveals that6.8 percent of the younger employees report that it was “[h]ard tothink that far in the future” compared to 0.0 percent of the olderemployees.

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Temporal construal theory says that younger workers wouldnaturally think about retirement in abstract terms, because forthem it is an event that will happen in the distant future, whileolder workers would naturally think about retirement in concreteterms, because for them it is an event that will happen in the nearfuture.

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Providing abstract messages to younger workers encouraging themto save more gives them information in a format that’s easier forthem to process, resulting in improved savings rates, whileabstract messages have no effect on older workers.

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In addition, providing younger workers with a specific milestonesavings goal, such as a particular amount from each paycheck,improves their savings rate -- but providing them with a generallong-term goal, such as how much they need altogether forretirement, does not.

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