For those of us who like to believe, "you're as young as you feel," "age is a state of mind," and other such Pollyannaish adages, Merrill Edge is offering a technology-driven wake-up call. The bank's new FaceRetirement app snaps a photo of the user and immediately shows them how their face is expected to sag and wrinkle over time. The app also adds gray hairs. It requires a webcam and Flash support.
The idea is to get people to realize they're getting old, fast, and that therefore they need to start saving more. "In a Stanford University experiment, people who saw age-enhanced images of themselves were more likely to save more for retirement, compared to those who weren't exposed to their future selves," said Alok Prasad, head of Merrill Edge, in a press release. "Face Retirement is designed to minimize that gap by giving consumers a preview of their future self, encouraging them to take control of long-term financial planning."
According to the fall 2012 Merrill Edge Report, half (52 percent) of mass affluent people have saved less than $250,000 for retirement. As a result, more than half of respondents plan to retire later than they had one year ago (56 percent), a year-over-year increase of 19 percent from November 2011.
To use the Merrill Edge Face Retirement tool, visit http://faceretirement.merrilledge.com.