Do you have a lot of good reasons to save money, but don’t have much in the bank? Listen up! Researchers at the University of Toronto found that having multiple financial goals actually stops us from saving. 

The researchers studied 3 very different groups of people: New fathers in Canada, middle-income couples in India, and single professionals in Hong Kong. In all cases, the more reasons a person had to save, the fewer deposits they made to their savings account. But the people who listed just one reason for saving were able to sock something away each time they got paid. Why?

The researchers believe that multiple goals lead to too much thinking and not enough action. Plus, having a single goal changes how we evaluate every purchase. So, we’re less likely to splurge on an impulse buy when we compare it to something specific, like a comfortable retirement.

Of course, it’s not practical to save for one thing at a time, but the fix here is simple: Mentally roll all of your separate goals into one heading, say, “financial independence.” Then, come up with a dollar figure you want to put away each week and focus on increasing the size of your savings account instead of the reasons why you need it.