A different way to really look at retirement
Last year, I wrote a column about a Stanford University experiment in which groups of students donned virtual reality headgear that gave them an opportunity to interact with computer renderings of themselves.
What's interesting is that one group was shown only images of themselves at their current age, while the other also were presented with age-morphed versions of how they might look years down the road.
When each group was later asked how much they would save for retirement, the ones who saw their older selves said they would save twice as much on average as the other group, largely because they empathized with their future selves.
Following up on this idea, some financial institutions have developed web-based tools to bring these images to life. A handy reminder as the annual RRSP season kicks off again.
If you'd like to have a look, go to Merrill Edge Face Retirement and click on "Meet the Future You."
After entering your age and gender, you'll be able to snap an online photo of yourself and use the facial-aging software to simulate what you might look like at different ages later in life.
As if that's not enough, the decade-jumping photos are accompanied by stats about what things may cost by the time you reach that age.
Does seeing your future self really make a difference in terms of how you view retirement? Or is it an unpleasant reminder of what's to come?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money