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Face-aging app created to help young people save for retirement

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 Left: the writer at age 27. Right: the writer at age 67, as predicted by the Face Retirement web app. (CBC)

If you could see a picture of yourself 40 years in the future, would it change the way you live today?

A new web-based app called "Face Retirement" works on that very premise, giving you a peek into the future of your face to get you thinking about the future of your finances.

"Retirement probably isn't something you think about every day," reads a welcome message on Merrill Edge's website, which is a division of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch. "But if you could see yourself in retirement - if you could age your photo and come face to face with the future you - it might just change how you think about the future. And how you prepare for it."

Users are prompted to select their age and gender, turn on their computer's webcam, line their faces up with an oval grid and take a photo.

ModiFace's sophisticated "virtual makeover technology" goes to work and within seconds the user is presented with a series of images showing what they might look like at the age of retirement and beyond (save for any bionic eye-replacements or laser facelifts endured along the way.)


To test the app out myself, I took a photo, input my age (27) and chose my gender.

My future faces were shown to me at 10-year increments up until the age of 107, each face more wrinkly, ashen and sad-looking than the last.

As I clicked through the gallery of my own increasingly aged faces, a side box showed predictions for inflated living expenses in corresponding years along with messages about the importance of saving for retirement.

Next to my own "age 67"  photo, the website asked me, "Put yourself in your shoes - or loafers - 40 years from now. Where is your money going? More importantly, where is it coming from?"

I didn't personally feel compelled to up my retirement fund contributions based on the results of this app, but I will be investing in a better face cream this weekend.

Would seeing a photo of yourself in the future prompt you to start thinking more seriously about saving for retirement? If you're already retired, do you think this type of technology would have helped you to focus on saving even more?

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