Researchers at Stanford believe that the reason so many 20 and 30 somethings don’t save enough during their valuable investing years is that they actually think their future self is a whole other person than the self they are today.
The trick to making us save more, then, is showing us a digitally altered version of ourselves that’s just recognizable enough to shock us into saving more and spending less. Apparently research proves that this works, to an extent.
In one experiment, young people who saw their elderly avatars reported they would save twice as much as those who didn’t. In another, students averaging 21 years of age viewed avatars of themselves that smiled when they saved more and frowned when they saved less. Those whose avatars were morphed to retirement age said they would save 30% more than those whose avatars weren’t aged.
My question is, how fast will these 20-somethings forget how they looked all wrinkled and grey, and return to their spend, not save, philosophy and reality? Hopefully there is some long-term truth to this study, and it can be used to help people my age save more versus waiting until it’s too late to build up a reasonable nest egg for retirement outside of a cushy mid-six figure corporate job. Continue reading