I heard about a fascinating, yet completely sensible, Stanford University study that seems to establish that people who view age-enhanced pictures of themselves made better decisions about retirement savings. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Seeing yourself in 20 or 40 or 60 years must ignite some part of your brain that otherwise isn’t making much noise.
In response to this study, financial services company Merrill Edge created the
FaceRetirement website. (note: sadly, Merrill Edge has taken this website off line.) You can take a picture of yourself with your webcam. The software will age-enhance it to a variety of different ages, so that you can picture yourself in retirement. It is really shocking! In addition to the picture, each age-enhancement has predictions about the cost-of-living at that time. For example, it predicts that a loaf of bread will cost approximately $5 when I am 67 years old. It makes no mention of the cost of the super-duper face cream I am obviously going to need.
Once you’ve recovered from the photos, there are online calculators that will help you think about and plan for the future. These include a “Personal Retirement Number Tool,” an Asset Allocator, a Retirement Evaluator, and a Net Worth Estimator. Of course, there is also the opportunity to open accounts with Merrill Edge. I played with the different tools for a while, and I liked the Personal Retirement Number Tool quite a bit. It is not unlike most of the other “are you on track to retire” calculators, but I always like them. They’re fun!
As an educator, the thing that makes me the most happy is when I see people start really thinking. If seeing yourself as an older person makes you start thinking, that is great. I have to admit that my photos mostly made me think that I need to use sunscreen and lose some weight, but that is a good thing, too. Everything in life doesn’t always have to be about money.
I encourage you to go play with the website a bit. Perhaps you’ll find some inspiration to make some positive changes.
photo by watchsmart at http://www.flickr.com/photos/watchsmart/
Do you want to know more about your military pay and benefits?
Things change fast around here! Keep up-to-date with email alerts about the topics that are important to you!