Invest Path

In mid 2015 the Atlantic published an article that claimed that 47% of Americans would struggle to cope with a $400 emergency—some even having to look to their retirement funds for help. This piqued the interests of Fidelity Labs and they quickly spun up an incubator that would focus on the problem to find out if there is a real product opportunity that could help people develop better savings habits. This was a year long research project that pushed me to step out of a typical designer role and allowed me to take a deep dive into the research of a complex and emotional problem.

Fidelity Investments
Product Experience Lead

The Challenge

There are many factors that can determine a persons financial wellness. Career choices, education, children, are just a few examples of what can alter someones overall financial wellness. Our team knew that we needed to look deeper into the Atlantic statistic, so we quickly got to work. The product that we were to create must be simple and help user build confidence that they're doing the right thing with their money.


Our research and discovery phase ran for about 6 months. We started by running a series of test and experiments around the Fidelity office and made contact with internal stakeholders who were seen as subject matter experts on financial wellness.


The best way to get people to open up to us about such a touchy subject was to get creative with our experiments. We asked people to draw what financial wellness meant to them and we even constructed a "Financial Secrets" booth, where people would write down their deepest darkest financial secrets anonymously.

User Interviews

We conducted 15 in-person, 90-minute interviews with people who were at different ends of the financial wellness spectrum. We looked for a mix of men, women and couples who showed signs of financial strain. Our discussion was designed into three parts: exploration of impactful financial memories, discussion of current financial obligations, and we explored their future financial aspirations.


After the interviews, we shared stories to disseminate knowledge and create a shared sense of empathy for our users. We then began to mold our insights into themes and exercised frameworks to help us make sense of what we heard from the storytelling.

What We Found


We focused in on stories we heard from three households. We believed that this would become our target market for a new product opportunity.

How might we...

  • Help people see the impact that their short-term consumption can have on their family’s future well-being?
  • Enable people to derive pride and joy from decisions that will benefit their family in the future?
  • Provide people with the support they need in order to sustain balance of their household’s present and future financial needs?
  • Reward people for creatively pursuing joy today without compromising the future?
  • Help people feel more secure with what they've accumulated for their family’s future?
  • Give people permission to treat themselves from time to time without compromising their family’s future well-being?

Design Sprints

We conducted a series of design sprints where we explored and tested concepts with potential users.


  • People figure out what to save through trial and error—Users were delighted by our calculator, which allowed them to experiment with different amounts and timelines to goal. It allowed them to formalize their usual mental accounting.
  • Priorities are priorities until they’re not—Our users have savings goals that are important to them, but they are not immune to ”cheating” when something hold emotional or social value to them.
  • While universally drawn to growth, many users aren’t actively searching for more return today.
  • Users do not naturally associate their non-retirement savings with investing.
  • Fear of the unexpected is the biggest barrier to changing a savings behavior.

Product Concept

We created product proposal in effort to share our research and get internal stakeholders excited for this new potential product offering.

The Push

Users often needed a prompt when it came to thinking about what to save for. The starting screen gave them a few common big ticket items that they could choose to get them started.

People Need To Experiment

This simple calculator helped users experiment and personalize their goals.

Curated Paths

Depending on the amount they needed to save and timeline, Fidelity can then offer appropriate products that will help them reach their goal.

Everyone Loves A Good Hack

The concept of savings boosters became popular with users we tested with because it gave them ideas for how they can trick themselves into saving more.


This screen allowed users to review their goal and gave them the opportunity to go back and change anything if they need to.

The Dashboard

The dashboard helped give users a simple bird's eye view of their entire financial timeline and helped them track growth along the way.

Concept for Mobile

It wasn't yet clear if a product like this should be mobile or not due to the behaviors our team witnessed during our research, the theory being that saving is a long term event and should be viewed the same as a retirement account. The best thing to do is forget you have it.