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Your (Virtual) Future Self Wants You to Save Up (NPR)

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Experts say one of the barriers to saving for retirement is psychological. Overcoming that barrier could be as simple as having a young person see into the future. Researchers at New York University’s Stern School of Business used virtual reality to let college-age men and women interact with their 70-year-old selves. Study participants were later asked a series of questions about finances and retirement. Those who had seen their future self were willing to put twice as much into long-term savings accounts as those who had seen their current self. Programs to age uploaded pictures are available online now, but they are crude. “The idea is to create a tool that either financial advisors can use with their clients, or that could be incorporated into the services that a 401(k) plan provider offers to their clients,” says Cathy Smith of the Center for Behavioral Finance, part of Allianz Global Investors.