Framing: Encouraging a long-term mindset

Experiment Type
Field Experiment
Increase program enrollment
Increase long-term savings
Focus Areas
Marketing & messaging
Behavioral Concepts
Framing Anchoring
Partner Type

What Happened

It worked. Framing income in annual terms significantly increased the number of 1099 workers who clicked through to start a retirement savings account.

Lessons Learned

Framing income in annual terms as opposed to "per job" appears to be an effective way to increase the amount of people who open retirement savings accounts, boosting long-term savings.


According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, 40% of American workers make a living as freelancers, part-time workers, or self-employed workers independent contractors. These workers face many difficulties, including limited access to retirement and health insurance benefits that many W-2 workers enjoy.

To help solve this problem, we partnered with Payable to help more 1099 workers enroll in retirement accounts. Payable helps tens of thousands of contractors get paid faster and more efficiently by making invoicing, work-tracking, and onboarding simple.


We used a simple A/B email to test if displaying the contractor income in annual terms, instead of “per job,” would increase a contractor’s likelihood of signing up for a retirement account. These users were split into two conditions: a control group where income was framed in the usual “per job” amount, and an annual income framing condition.

This intervention used both income framing to encourage a long-term mindset, and anchoring (when displaying savings percentages) to encourage customers to save more for retirement.


Our annual intervention increased the number of people who clicked through to start saving for retirement with a third-party by 14.5%. The bulk of these 1099 workers indicated that they wanted to save 12% to 20% of their income.

Given these findings, Payable is working on changing its income framing across all of its communication channels when they encourage retirement savings. We are excited about the potential impact of this full roll-out, given Payable’s large and growing user base.