Common Cents Lab

Solutions that aim to increase the financial well-being for low- to moderate-income people living in the United States

Supported By:

met life foundation

FOUNDING PARTNER

At MetLife Foundation, we believe financial health belongs to everyone. We bring together bold solutions, deep financial expertise and meaningful grants to build financial health for people and communities that are underserved and aspire for more. We partner with organizations around the world to create financial health solutions and build stronger communities, engaging MetLife employees to help drive impact. To date, our financial health work has reached more than 6 million low-income individuals in 42 countries.

To learn more about MetLife Foundation, visit metlife.org.

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BlackRock helps investors build better financial futures. As a fiduciary to investors and a leading provider of financial technology, our clients turn to us for the solutions they need when planning for their most important goals. As of December 31, 2018, the firm managed approximately $5.98 trillion in assets on behalf of investors worldwide.

Twitter: @blackrock | Blog: www.blackrockblog.com
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/blackrock

FOCUS AREAS

Our goal is to create and test solutions... see below to read our findings:

Improve Cash Flow Management

Improve Cash Flow Management

Many Americans are struggling to manage their cash-flow effectively. This is largely due to high income volatility, and unexpected expense shocks. As the Center for Financial Services Innovation has documented, cash flow management is not an issue affecting just temporary, seasonal, or contract workers. According to the U.S. Financial Diaries Project, the average family income experiences a 25% increase or decrease from their
median income for more than five months out of the year.

Decrease Expenses

Decrease Expenses

While the median household income rose 5.2% in 2015, it is still below 1999 levels. With stagnant income and increasing expenses, our middle-class is suffering. And the world is getting more tempting. From the growing persuasiveness of advertising to “one-click” payment methods, it is becoming harder for consumers to resist the temptation to buy. Even when consumers try to be fiscally responsible by setting auto-savings, preliminary research by Daniel Fernandes has shown that many people who have auto-savings will still incur credit card debt because they do not adjust their expenses to account for savings.

Manage Debt

Manage Debt

Families with low credit scores or limited credit histories are forced to seek liquidity from often predatory lenders such as pawn shops, auto title lenders, and payday lenders. Credit scores can also a ect a person’s ability to rent a home, gain employment, or access student loans. The current lending system has become too focused on trying to measure risk rather than on developing strategies to mitigate that risk. Furthermore, the credit system attributes too much of the risk to individual characteristics without also examining how the way in which the system is structured may actually perpetuate or contribute to missed payments or default. Instead, we believe that how a borrower’s environment is designed can increase the likelihood of repayment, regardless of each individual’s credit risk. This way, we don’t have to push individuals with low credit scores to use predatory lenders who lend at interest rates of upwards of 400%.

Increase Short-and Long-Term Savings

Increase Short-and Long-Term Savings

In the complex financial lives of Americans, nearly half of all people living in the United States would not be able to live off their savings for three months at the poverty level. The outlook is even more startling for low-income households; only 1 in 3 households earning $15,000 or less even have a savings account. In a study we conducted with close to 1,000 LMI participants, 36% self-reported having less than $500 in savings (including retirement savings).

IN THE PRESS

Seven Ways Behavioral Science can Improve Customer Financial Health

For many casual observers, a CFO's role is largely assumed to be…

Authors
Financial Decision-making Research Sponsor Mariel Beasley
Moving On Up

Imagine you just landed a new job and want to move to…

Authors
Rethinking America’s College Savings Programs

With the start of summer comes graduation season, and along with it,…

Authors
Financial Decision-making Research Sponsor Mariel Beasley
Hourly Employees Need Reliable Schedules: Can Behavioral Science Help Companies Deliver?

We talk a lot about how Americans don’t have enough savings. Bankrate…

Authors
The Deadline Made Me Do It

A social impact startup came to Common Cents Lab, our behavioral research…

Kristen Berman ALUMNUS

This 1 Weird Trick Can Help People Grow Their Savings

If you are like most Americans, you are paid between two and…

Authors
The realities of living as an independent contractor

Imagine that you made $20,000 last year. In addition, you experienced high…

Authors
Why Don’t People Manage Debt Better?

Credit cards are ubiquitous in American society – nearly 70% of all…

Authors
‘On-Demand’ Work Woes

As the middle class shrinks and real wages have been steadily decreasing,…

Authors
Financial Decision-making Research Sponsor Mariel Beasley
Translating Good Intentions Into Actions

According to recent research, 57 percent of American adults say they are…

Authors

WHERE TO FIND US

Upcoming Events we are attending and hosting!

  • Where:Washington, DC
  • Date:March 6

In this hands-on seminar, tools and strategies to create effective digital health programs will be
presented. Participants should come prepared to apply their learnings to their work as they:
1) Expand their toolkit of strategies for efficiently building and evaluating effective patient care
programs and assessments;
2) Complete a behavior-mapping exercise with their own use cases;
3) Learn which behavioral tools support their desired behaviors; and
4) Build a “pattern” based on the behavior map and tools using the Pattern Health Platform
Participants should bring their expertise, ideas and challenges, and will create solutions they can
implement in their practice.

View Details
  • Where:Boston
  • Date:April 2

The opportunity of digital health is tremendous. And yet, without a solid understanding of how we think, behave, and navigate within the contexts of our lives, our gadgets and gizmos can do little to help us live better. The sweet spot at the intersection of digital health and behavioral science is exactly where we should be looking in order to intervene at a level that is truly granular enough to have a meaningful impact. By sharing her original research in the lab and field, Aline reveals what it means to work in this sweet spot, illustrating how various behavioral science tools — commitment and social tools — can help patients be more successful at reaching their health goals. In this captivating talk, Aline arms her audience with the tools they will need to design more effective behavioral interventions.

View Details
  • Where:Duke University Medical Science Research Building 1 - Room 001 203 Research Drive Durham, NC 27708
  • Date:September 20

Can we use the science of decision-making to improve health outcomes? Join Aline Holzwarth from the Duke Center for Advanced Hindsight and Nirmish Shah, MD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics for an interdisciplinary discussion on patient engagement with apps. We will discuss and learn what the principles of behavioral economics tells us about how to make the right choice easy for people, to what drives users on an individual level to share information about their medical conditions with providers.

PARTNERSHIP PROCESS

The Common Cents Lab partners with tech companies, credit unions, banks, non-profits, and cities to
design and test behaviorally-informed interventions to increase financial well-being for vulnerable
populations in the United States.

CURRENT AND PAST PARTNERS

PAST EXPERIENCES

What do our partners say about working with us?

“As we have learned through our partnership with Common Cents Lab, we might think we know what the member wants or needs to better their financial lives, but through experimentation we can allow the data and results to speak for themselves.”

Adele Glenn Emerging Channels Innovation Architect at Credit Human

“Common Cents has added rigor to the way we build new features that improve our users’ lives.”

Jimmy Chen CEO of Propel

“Partnering with Common Cents has been instrumental in helping us develop features to drive substantial savings for our customers.”

Ethan Bloch CEO of Digit

Multipliers of Prosperity

OUR ADVISORY COUNCIL

Anat Binur

Investment Partner

Cathie Mahon

Assistant Commissioner and Executive Director at NYC Department of Consumer Affairs

Evelyn Stark

Assistant Vice President of Financial Inclusion at MetLife Foundation

John Lynch

Professor of Free Enterprise at the Leeds School of Business

Parker Thomas

Change Maker at Angel List

Rachel Schneider

Senior Vice President at Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI)

Scott Cook

CO-FOUNDER OF INTUIT

Thomas Brown

Partner at Paul Hastings

THE COMMON CENTS LAB TEAM

Aaron Nichols

BEHAVIORAL RESEARCHER

Andrea Dinneen

SENIOR BEHAVIORAL RESEARCHER

Anja Schanbacher

POST-DOCTORAL ASSOCIATE

Dan Ariely

PRINCIPAL, CENTER FOR ADVANCED HINDSIGHT

Emory Nelms

SENIOR BEHAVIORAL RESEARCHER

Hien Nguyen

MAKING S**T HAPPEN

Jamie Foehl

SENIOR BEHAVIORAL RESEARCHER

Jan Willem Lindemans

PRINCIPAL, GLOBAL HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT

Jianna Torre

BEHAVIORAL RESEARCHER

Jordan Axt

SENIOR BEHAVIORAL RESEARCHER

Joseph Sherlock

SENIOR BEHAVIORAL RESEARCHER

Mariel Beasley

PRINCIPAL, COMMON CENTS LAB

Michelle Zong

BEHAVIORAL RESEARCHER

Shanta Ricks

BEHAVIORAL RESEARCHER

Wendy De La Rosa

PRINCIPAL, COMMON CENTS LAB