Money Hacks: naming your account could help you save more money

Money Hacks is a series exploring Behavioural Economics concepts, illustrating how unconscious biases influence the decisions we make with money. By understanding these biases and learning to avoid them, we can spend smarter, save more, and make better financial decisions overall.

When you open a savings account, you do so with the best of intentions. You likely want to save money for something specific – whether it’s a car, a vacation, a down payment for a house or even just for a rainy day. It may take months or years to achieve your savings goal.

The problem is, between now and then, life happens. You forget to contribute. Other priorities come up. You may even raid your savings for an impulse purchase. Somewhere along the way, you forget about your saving goal.

Two strategies: one obvious, one not so much

One obvious way to keep your savings on track is to automate it: Automatically transfer a set amount into a savings account each time you get paid. A less obvious strategy is to name your savings account. If you’re building an emergency fund, rename your account Emergency savings. If you’re saving for a home, call it Down payment.

Better yet – get specific. Call it Buy a home in 2024. The more specific and tangible the name for your account, the more likely you’ll be to achieve your savings goal.

Why does naming an account help you save money?

Naming your account triggers something called the Salience Bias. This just means we respond to concrete images and people in a much stronger way. When you give your account a name that’s concrete and vivid, like Buy a home in 2024, you’ll be reminded of that goal every time you bank online or through your banking app. This will help you stick to your savings plan and you’ll be less likely to raid your account for something else. After all, it’s harder to raid your savings to buy the newest smartphone when you’re reminded that money’s coming from your down payment.

It’s a small change that could make a big difference.

Naming your account is easy

Manulife Bank makes it easy for you to rename your account:

  • iOS app: Choose your account, select Details, then Nickname Account
  • Android app: Choose your account, select Details, then tap the pencil icon next to your existing account nickname.

Give your savings account a nickname today and make it easier to reach your savings goal.