January 4, 2013
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There’s an App for That!: A Crystal Ball Look Into Retirement

The world of face-altering applications is vast. There seems to be an app for just about anything. Want to see your face with an extra hundred pounds? Check, just put your picture into Fatbooth. Want to see what your future baby’s face could look like? Check, put you and your spouse’s picture into Morph Thing. But what if you looked at an older altered version of you for more than a cheap thrill and a chuckle or two? What if the intention was to scare you into action, albeit a necessary action?

Staring at a digitally aged picture of yourself may invoke some questions on how important aesthetics really are and if you are truly being as healthy as possible. However, more importantly, the folks at Merrill Edge, a financial planning platform operated by Bank of America, have found that this tactic also motivates people to start thinking about the realities of an evolving retirement, according this CNBC article.

In response, they developed “Face Retirement,” a free application that allows users a crystal-ball glance into the financial realities they will be up against years from now, as well as the keepsake photo of your aged self. While the numbers may be staggering, with an alarming double-digit price tag on a loaf of bread for some, a Stanford University study showed that “participants who were introduced to their ‘future self’ were more likely to save for retirement.”

Statistics on Gen Y and Gen X financial planning yield worrying numbers of those who have yet to save anything for retirement. This application, while frightful for some, is a step in the right direction when it comes to jump-starting retirement savings. The program gives users a realistic view of the cost of living and day-to-day essentials, so you can plan your retirement accordingly.

Merrill Edge is sending a call to action to the masses, encouraging financial planning and education on various retirement fund platforms. Along with Merrill Edge, CNBC explored other retirement planning platforms such as LearnVest and Future Advisor.

It seems the key to a happy retirement life is following a steady road of planning and preparing. Our question to you is:

Does actually looking at your future self face-to-face help reenergize your future planning or does it take it too far?