The Money Machine: Combining Information Design/Visualization with Persuasion Design to Change Baby Boomers’ Wealth Management Behavior

  • Aaron Marcus
Part of the Human–Computer Interaction Series book series (HCIS)


Finding a life-enhancing and wealth-preserving way of life is a twenty-first century global challenge, especially in the USA, where baby boomers reaching 65 are considering how to manage, preserve, grow, and use their lifetime financial assets. Baby boomers now constitute 40 % of the US population, controlling 67 % of the nation’s wealth. As they approach retirement, they are facing important decisions about their present and future.

Wealth management information, products, and services are available to increase financial awareness and propel changes by monitoring investments. Unfortunately, most of these tools do not focus on innovative data visualization. Further, they are often targeted to the PC/Web. Mobile solutions are emerging, but many baby boomers are not as familiar as their children and grandchildren with mobile-based as well as Web-based financial management.

Lastly, these tools lack effective persuasive techniques to convert baby boomers to safe and reliable action plans for preserving wealth in the face of economic and health-related uncertainty. While communicating critical data helps build awareness, it does not automatically effect behavioral changes. The question then becomes: How can we better motivate, educate, and persuade people to manage their finances, manage asset consumption, and preserve their legacy for future generations?

The Money Machine project of 2011 researched, analyzed, designed, and evaluated powerful ways to improve behavior regarding personal wealth and finances. The project intends to persuade and motivate people to reduce their asset consumption and increase the longevity of available funds by means of a well-designed mobile phone application concept prototype (with associated Web portal): the “Money Machine.”

The author’s firm has designed and tested analogous application prototypes in the recent past: The Green Machine aimed to change energy conservation behavior in 2009. The Health Machine application aimed to prevent obesity and diabetes through better behavior regarding nutrition and exercise in 2010. The Money Machine uses similar principles of combining information design/visualization and persuasion design. AM+A’s presentation and this chapter explain the development of the Money Machine’s user interface, information design, information visualization, and persuasion design. They also showcase the results and lead to the next steps of research and development.


Credit Card Mutual Fund Baby Boomer Information Visualization Financial Advisor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The author thanks his AM+A Associates, Designer/Analysts: Hélène Savvidis, Catherine Isaacs, Chris Chambers, Carlene O’Keefe, and Tim Thianthai, for their significant assistance in planning, research, design, analysis, and documentation of the Money Machine. The author also thanks Lucas Lima, AM+A Designer/Analyst for his persona drawings.

The author acknowledges subsequent publications about the Money Machine:

Marcus A (2012) The money machine: helping Baby Boomers Retire. User Experience Magazine, 11:2, pp 24–27

Marcus A (2013) The money machine. Inf Des J 20(3):228–246

Further Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aaron Marcus
    • 1
  1. 1.Aaron Marcus and Associates (AM+A)BerkeleyUSA

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