If you’re not spending as much time overseeing your finances as you think you should, you’re not alone. In fact, a recent survey showed that most people spend less time than they want to on money management because it makes them feel anxious, unprepared, or just plain unhappy.

That’s why Simplifi by Quicken set out from the start to make money management easier, with insights and notifications that can help you stay on top of your finances in less than 5 minutes a week. 

Now, Simplifi’s new comprehensive achievement program takes that a step further, eliminating many of the key roadblocks along the journey to financial success.

Why does the road to financial success feel like such a struggle?

Actually, there are a lot of reasons why we struggle with financial management. Some of those reasons are based on our personal circumstances, but it turns out that many of them are baked into our DNA and the way the human mind responds to long-term goals.

1. Saving is harder than spending

On a fundamental level, saving is harder than spending because it doesn’t feel very rewarding. Every time you buy something new, you feel a small (or even large) surge of excitement and happiness for a while. That chemical kick from your brain reinforces the behavior, making you want to do it again.

Saving, on the other hand, feels boring by comparison. You put some money away and then, well, nothing. You don’t get much of a kick for doing it. 

2. Motivation is tougher over time

How often have you started a new exercise routine only to quit again after a few days? Or made a New Year’s resolution that you abandoned by February?

The human brain is wired to do things that get immediate, positive results, and starting new habits gives us a sweet kick of excitement. But pretty soon, that kick just isn’t there anymore.

We quit exercising before we get the abs we wanted. We stop reading self-help books before we achieve nirvana. And we stop saving before we get anywhere near our original goal.

That’s because the real joy comes later, sometimes months or years later, and we’re not wired very well for that kind of deferred gratification. Long-term habits don’t stay interesting when we’re not reaping enough rewards along the way.

3. Money management isn’t part of our education

Many high schools are starting to teach courses about basic credit and personal finances, but that approach tends to be too little, too late. In fact, more than a quarter of young adults in the U.S. feel that their formal education didn’t prepare them to manage their finances.

By not making personal finance a core part of the curriculum from day one, our educational system leaves those skills out until it’s far too late for them to feel “natural.” As a result, starting to take those new skills on as an adult can feel uncomfortable.

4. Money gets associated with negative emotions

Learning new things as an adult tends to be harder than it is for kids, at least partly because we become more nervous as adults about trying new things and making mistakes—two factors that are absolutely critical when we’re learning anything new.

On top of that, many people either grew up in a home that struggled with money or encountered their own money struggles as young adults. This can lead to negative emotional feelings about money itself, making us even more reluctant to pay close attention to our finances.

In fact, a full 37% of participants in a recent study reported that they don’t spend more time managing their finances because it triggers feelings of anxiety.

5. Those negative “stories” make us feel stuck

All of these factors work together to give us recurring thoughts about finances that make us feel even more stuck. These can take many forms, such as:

  • “I wasn’t born wealthy, so I’ll never be wealthy.”
  • “Financial management is too hard for someone like me.”
  • “Money isn’t worth thinking about unless there’s a problem.”
  • “There’s no point in planning because it won’t work out anyway.”
  • “I’m so far behind, I don’t even want to know how bad it is.”

Here’s the thing though: none of those stories is true. But they still keep us from making the kinds of small, simple changes we could make to end up ahead.

Achievements and badges change the game, paving the way for financial success

Personal finance apps like Simplifi go a long way toward making financial management easier, but apps that don’t address these underlying emotional realities run a high risk of becoming another habit that people start and abandon.

That’s why Simplifi is designed from the ground up to be motivational, celebrating your wins with a glass-half-full approach that never judges you for missing goals. Instead, Simplifi adjusts and moves forward, helping you stick with it.

Now, the introduction of a comprehensive system of achievements and badges does even more to address our inherent human struggles with financial management.

Simplifi Achievements View

Badges make saving feel more rewarding

Simplifi’s Savings Goals were designed to be rewarding from the very beginning, letting you see your progress toward your savings. You can even choose an emoji for each goal, giving you that little kick of fun that can help you stick with it.

Simplifi displays your progress on as many different goals as you want to have, giving you an emotional surge of accomplishment whenever you open the app.

Now, Simplifi’s new Sensational Saver badges continues in this tradition, giving the simple act of saving money even more of an emotional boost. Earn badges for completing 1 goal, 3 goals, 7 goals, and 10 goals, increasing your sense of personal achievement with every step.

Badges gamify finance management for long-term motivation

The human brain has a much easier time staying motivated if it gets rewarded along the way with those little chemical kicks of happiness and personal achievement. 

If we lose steam on exercise plans, New Year’s resolutions, and personal finance management because they stop feeling interesting, the obvious key to creating long-term habits is to keep them interesting long enough for that habit to get ingrained into our regular routine.

Simplifi’s new Calm and in Control badges reward you just for checking in consistently, helping you stay motivated long enough to make finance management a more permanent habit.

Because checking in with Simplifi for just a few minutes even once a week is enough to make a big difference in your long-term finances, badges are awarded for checking in 2 weeks in a row, 4 weeks in a row, 16 weeks in a row, and 52 weeks in a row.

The badges gamify the simple act of opening the app and looking at it. After a year, that habit is likely to be ingrained in your weekly routine, helping you stick with finance management for life.

Badges help you overcome hurdles and change those negative stories

When you don’t feel like you know “how to do” personal finance management and you have negative feelings about it, just getting started can be one of the toughest hurdles to overcome.

But those negative stories are strongest at the beginning, when they still feel true. Once you start seeing that personal finance management can be easy, that you can do it, and that you can reach your goals with confidence, those negative stories lose all their power.

Instead, you develop new stories:

  • “I can really do this.”
  • “I’m good at managing my spending.”
  • “I understand my finances, I know where I want to go, and I know how to get there.”
  • “Managing money is really pretty easy.”

To help you bridge the gap and overcome those initial hurdles, Simplifi’s new Prepped for Prosperity badges reward you for adding an account, setting up your Spending Plan, creating a Savings Goal, and creating a Watchlist.

Taking these steps will set you up to earn the other two sets of badges, with even more coming soon.

Where to see your badges—and what’s up next

Of course, these first three badge sets are only the beginning. New sets coming soon will offer more badges that continue to reinforce financial planning and wellness.

Simplifi will notify you whenever you earn a new badge. To see them all, click on your Profile in the Simplifi web app and then click Achievements. If you’ve been using Simplifi for a while, you might already have a few, but earning those badges for logging in starts now.

Ready to earn them all and win at managing your money? Game on!