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Face Retirement Head On


Recently, the Employee Benefit Research Institute released their 2013 Retirement Confidence Survey and the results aren’t unexpected. About half of the people surveyed have no or little confidence that they will have enough money to retire comfortably.

Personally, I think most workers are too caught up in the present and haven’t thought much about retirement. It’s such a long way off, so why worry about it? It’s hard enough to make ends meet every month. This is a mistake because time flies and we’ll all be old before we know it.

Getting old isn’t a very pleasant process so that’s probably why most young people avoid thinking about it. I’m just 39 and I’m already slowing down quite a bit. Recently, I’ve been spending more time with my parents and that makes getting old an even worse prospect. My mom is trying to deal with glaucoma and complications from a cataract surgery and it’s very tiresome. She has been going to see doctors all over town.  In the end, they decided to not do anything. Surgery will be too risky so they’ll just have to keep an eye on it and control the problem with eye drops.

I know retirement isn’t much fun to think about, but we need to face it head on or else you’ll be one of the many people with no confidence when the time come. Here is a tool from Merrill Edge that might help you face reality – Face Retirement. You can take a snapshot of yourself with your laptop’s camera and then the software will age your face. The idea is if you see what you look like at 67, it will be more real to you and you’ll be more proactive about retirement planning and saving.

Here I am at 39 and 67

face retirement head on

OK, I cheated a bit and firmed up my 67 year old cheeks just a little with the edit photo feature. Sagging cheeks aren’t our family’s trait. So does this make me want to save more for retirement? I’m not sure. I already make retirement saving a priority, so I don’t think it makes much of a difference to me. It actually makes me think that I should enjoy life while I’m still relatively young.

I don’t mean spending more money; I mean just being happy, enjoying time with my family and trying to have as much fun as possible. It’s just my opinion, but I think it’s harder to do a lot of things when you’re 67. We love traveling and it would probably be more difficult to do big long trips when we’re older.  I think we’ll try to get our big long trips out of the way in our 50’s and take shorter trips after 67.

Scary 107

scary old age retirement

Whoa, I’m scary at 107! I don’t think I’ll have to worry about it though. My male relatives usually don’t live to that age. I would be lucky to make it to 80 with my genetics, but I guess you never know because health care is improving every day.

Getting wrinkly isn’t going to be fun, but why don’t you try it out and let me know what you think. What comes to mind when you look at your future self? Does it give you a push to save a little more for retirement?

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{ 31 comments… add one }
  • My Financial Independence Journey April 8, 2013, 2:36 am

    You look pretty good at a projected 107!

    Given that I’m already saving 50% of my income, I don’t think I can possibly be any more motivated (at least financially) to retire. Although the exercise does make me wonder if I should retire early so that I have more years to enjoy my life outside of working.

    • retirebyforty April 8, 2013, 4:47 pm

      You think so? I look so scary. How did you look at 107? You should put it on facebook. 🙂

  • Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle April 8, 2013, 3:36 am

    People don’t seem interested in making any changes to their current lifestyles to have money to save.

    I am trying to live on 50% of my modest income as well so I can rid myself of debt by age 50 and concentrate on saving for the 10 years from 50 to 60 when I hope to start my very frugal retirement.

    • retirebyforty April 8, 2013, 4:47 pm

      It’s great that you are working on it. It won’t be easy, but you can do it!

  • Greg April 8, 2013, 5:16 am

    Kind of a cool app. I’m thinking just generally depressing rather than motivating. But, as you mention, one of my primary motivations for saving a lot of my income is so that I am still able-bodied enough to travel during retirement. That will hopefully be in my 50’s.

    • Pretired Nick April 8, 2013, 11:07 am

      That’s what I was thinking — depressing! You totally nailed it, too: What’s the point of having money to do stuff when you’re too old to do it?

      • retirebyforty April 8, 2013, 4:53 pm

        It is depressing, but we have to face reality, right? We’ll all get old someday. Enjoy today!

    • retirebyforty April 8, 2013, 4:48 pm

      Yeah, it is a bit depressing to see all those wrinkles. 50s would be a great time to travel.

  • Moon April 8, 2013, 6:47 am

    I didn’t use the tool to see what I look like at 67; but I assume that should motivate most women when we see all the wrinkles on the face, we know we need to start saving for retirement immediately so we will have money to get face lifts by that time! Haha!

    • retirebyforty April 8, 2013, 4:49 pm

      Mrs. RB40 refused to do it too. 🙂

  • Financial Samurai April 8, 2013, 7:06 am

    This is hilarious Joe! And kinda scary I agree!

    Maybe try smiling and see what it does to age?

    Thanks for the reality chuckle!

    • retirebyforty April 8, 2013, 4:50 pm

      The software said it works best with a straight face so I didn’t try it. Glad to hear you got a kick out of it.

  • John S @ Frugal Rules April 8, 2013, 10:14 am

    I can totally relate Joe as I am 39 as well, and am dealing with similar issues with our parents, plus having little ones running around. It certainly does open our eyes up to what will be reality at some point in our lives, which just encourages us to save as much as we can.

    • retirebyforty April 8, 2013, 4:52 pm

      I guess we just have to live life as it comes. Saving for retirement is good, but we need to enjoy our youth too.

  • Kurt @ Money Counselor April 8, 2013, 12:13 pm

    Wow, I’m not sure I have the guts to try that Merrill Lynch aging software. But imagining the results, I think I’d be inspired not to save more for retirement but rather to re-dedicate myself to a healthy eating and a healthful lifestyle to hopefully forestall the inevitable!

  • [email protected] April 8, 2013, 12:40 pm

    My wife and I are looking to increase our retirement contributions in more of an effort to lower our taxable income. Hopefully in another year we will start looking for additional sources of income to help out with retirement.

  • krantcents April 8, 2013, 2:18 pm

    Getting older is not that scary when you get there. although it is a reminder that life is finite! I feel about the same as I did when I was in my mid thirties. In fact, my doctor told me last year that my vitals were the same as a 35 y.o. A lot depends on genetics and how fit you are. Attitude is another important factor. Think young and you will be better off!

    • retirebyforty April 8, 2013, 4:54 pm

      Thanks for letting us know. I hope I’m as young as you when I get to 67. 🙂

  • Brick by Brick Investing April 8, 2013, 5:47 pm

    What an awesome tool and great marketing concept! I have been thinking about retirement ever since I was 20 years old. I plan to retire from my 9-5 but plan to work well into my 70s.

    • retirebyforty April 9, 2013, 3:30 pm

      What’s your plan? Self employment or start some kind of business? I probably keep working part time until my mid 60s. 🙂

  • The College Investor April 8, 2013, 6:35 pm

    I’ve been preparing for retirement for some time, and it is really necessary because it’s a lot more difficult to enjoy life after retirement if you have not prepared for it well.

  • Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank April 8, 2013, 7:16 pm

    I think you look pretty good at age 67. If that was me I would look more like your 107 picture.

    • retirebyforty April 9, 2013, 3:30 pm

      Hahaha, thanks. I don’t know anyone over 80 so I don’t know what people really look like at that age.

  • Squirrelers April 8, 2013, 8:53 pm

    I think that how one looks when older might be impacted by accumlated stress – or lack thereof – when it comes to finaces! Being old and needing money is a scary thought that is a big motivator for me.

    • retirebyforty April 9, 2013, 3:31 pm

      That’s true. The homeless folks look way older than they should.

  • Mike April 9, 2013, 5:09 am

    I guess I am a bit weird. I don’t really on planning on “fully retiring”, just finding work that I enjoy doing on a regular basis. I am already preparing for that. It’s just taking me longer than expected. I agree-being older with little to no money is a scary concept for me and most people.

    • retirebyforty April 9, 2013, 3:31 pm

      I like that plan too. Hopefully I will be able to keep blogging or find something else that I like as I get older.

  • Little House April 9, 2013, 7:07 am

    I’m a bit afraid to try that app. I already don’t like the wrinkles I see! However, it might be the swift kick in the butt to do something about retirement (and not count so much on my pension plan).

    • retirebyforty April 9, 2013, 3:33 pm

      You should do it and share it on facebook. 🙂

  • simone April 11, 2013, 2:29 am

    Hey I don’t think you look too bad at 67, not sure about at 107 🙂 You can check out our new retirement site at retirementandgoodliving.com for retirement related issues from finance to health to retirement locations and more.

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