• There are smart phone applications and computer programs available that will age a photo for you, showing you what you will probably look like as an 80 year old adult. Yes, that app which you have wondered about its purpose (other than to depress you) – you just found a use for it. Studies have shown that if a person sees a picture of themself as an older adult, they are more likely to save for their financial retirement. Probably because reality sinks in that they have to make their funds last.

    Most parents believe that they should be stashing away for their child’s college education. Ideally, one would save for both as much as possible. If you are saving for yourself and then have enough (key word being enough) money, then yes, you should. And saving for your children’s education should always be a priority, whether in traditional savings, a 529 account (a savings plan with tax benefits), in real estate or other investments. But please don’t forget about retirement savings for yourselves. Many parents save money in accounts under their children’s names, in lieu of filling their own retirement funds. Then, in their later years, find themselves depending on their children for financial support.

    It’s great to have someone hold your money for you and receive the tax benefits. However, if you have the time, knowledge and discipline, you may be able to make your money grow exponentially by investing it yourself. If you don’t, then set up the automatic savings before receiving your paycheck. That way, you make do with what you have and it’s less painful since you don’t actually see your money leaving your hands. If funds are tight then, by all means, invest in yourself first. With properly invested savings, you’ll have more than enough to lend your children if they need it in the future. Hopefully, they won’t since they’ll receive a full merit scholarship and take care of their own bills. Right!? However, it’s good to be prepared and not have to struggle with your finances when you get older.

    After seeing a photo of my aged self on my husband’s smart phone, I have committed to making small cuts here and there, like making my lattes at home, taking that $4-a-day-latte habit and stashing it away for my retirement. That’s approximately $1,300 a year (multiplied by thirty years = $39k), with an even greater earning potential if properly invested. A seemingly small sacrifice but helpful nonetheless. And think of the paper cups I have eliminated from our landfills. All, because I saw a picture of myself at 80. Other beneficial results, that weren’t discussed in the above-referenced study, are that I also became motivated to exercise more regularly and get a good sun hat. Thanks to my 80 year-old self!