Family finances: To save more, tap into your emotions

Heirlooms can raise more than feelings of nostalgia. They can also boost your savings rate.

That’s the finding of a recent study by Brad Klontz, a psychologist, certified financial planner and associate professor at Creighton University. The object was to find out whether tapping into your emotional connections to nostalgic items could inspire you to save more.

Here’s how it worked: In five cities — Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Dallas and Seattle — experimenters invited the public to a seminar on savings. When participants arrived, they were sent to one of two rooms. The first group heard a standard presentation on financial literacy, which touched on the importance of saving, the power of compound interest and various saving strategies.

The second group was told to bring an item of sentimental value. They arrived with teddy bears, Grandpa’s watch, wedding rings, aged photos of favorite family vacations and all manner of mementos. In their room, they were given a tri-fold board and art supplies, magazines, scissors and glue. “It looked like a kindergarten classroom at art time,” says Klontz.

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