Maybe you'd save more for retirement if, digitally, you got a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Future. A Stanford study has found that you'd think harder about saving for retirement if you could see what you'd look like some day.
"People who are focused or get exposed to an age-progressed picture of themselves, they're more likely to save for their future than otherwise," says Alok Prasad, head of Bank of America's Merrill Edge investing. The company's new tool, called "Face Retirement," was based on the Stanford study's findings. It snaps your picture and ages it for you with terrifying effect.
Paddy Hirsch, Marketplace's senior producer of personal finance wouldn't show me his results, but I had the guts -- starting with the control picture of me -- today. Check them out on our Facebook page.
"People are focused on the now, right? You want to deal with the situation you're in," says Paddy. "So you don't think about what you're going to be doing 40 years from now -- at least most people don't. The majority of Americans tend to be focused on the now, and that's why we don't save well for retirement."
Merrill Edge's tool invites you to "share on Facebook." I did that -- but only because I was willing to poke a little fun at myself. Would anyone actually want to share photos of themselves getting much, much older?
"I wonder if you are 20-years-old," says Paddy, "and you play with this little device, you can't even imagine yourself at 107-years-0ld. So therefore you'd be happy to share it on Facebook -- it's so unreal. And in a way I think that undercuts the whole message of this. It's the unreality of it made manifest. So maybe it won't actually convince people to manage their savings at all."
Either way, it's a fun tool and a good conversation starter about retirement saving. We'll see if we all squirrelled away those millions when I turn 107 I guess.
If you just noticed your Instagram photos started looking weird on Twitter, you weren't alone. It was not a software glitch. It was more like "shot's fired."
"Basically it just got real between Instagram and Twitter," says Will Oremus, Slate technology blogger and friend of Marketplace Tech. Oremus has been covering the burgeoning tech war between Twitter and Instagram's parent company, Facebook. He says the move is part of Instagram's larger strategy, which includes a bigger web presence. But, why is Instagram willing to annoy it's Tweet-happy users?
"When you view an Instagram photo on Twitter, you're on Twitter's site," he says. "If you're seeing ads, Twitter's getting the revenue. It is pretty nakedly a business move on Instagram's part, because they have to capture revenue from their users, and they can't have Twitter drinking their milkshake."