By: Laura Walton AFC®
It seems that young people, when shown what they will look like in their 60’s, are more willing to save for their futures…take a look at these photos.
Dan Goldstein, a researcher at the London Business School, found that young people who saw 60-year old versions of themselves said they would save twice as much as those who didn’t. Once our future self becomes less of a stranger, we are more apt to save towards our retirement, to make our future life more comfortable. We become sympathetic to our future selves.
It seems that virtual selves or avatars can affect a variety of our behaviors. According to research cited in a Wall Street Journal article, “if you are sent into a virtual-reality environment with a particularly good-looking avatar, or digital self-image, you are likely to become more sociable. Seeing your avatar exercising in a virtual world can spur you to add an hour a day to your exercise routine in the real world; people whose avatars do the dirty work of sawing down a virtual tree use less real paper later in the day. Given a taller avatar, you will act more confident and negotiate more selfishly.”
It’s hard to project what our lives will be like in retirement, but these studies make the case to give it an honest try. Visualize yourself and your circumstances and work towards the result you’d like to see.
Once again, Warren Buffett sets an example. The same Wall Street Journal article goes on to report that “according to Alice Schroeder’s biography The Snowball, when he was a young man, Mr. Buffett often asked, ‘Do I really want to spend $300,000 for this haircut?’ He was thinking about the vast amount of money he wouldn’t have decades in the future because of the small outlay he might make in the present.”
We’re tempted daily to spend; next time you are, check with your future avatar first!