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TikTok aging filter may nudge you toward long-term thinking and could make you richer

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When it comes to planning for longevity, experts say it helps to envision your future self. A new aging filter trending on TikTok can help make that a reality.

While glimpsing a more wrinkled you in the reflection may come as a shock, it’s the steps you take immediately afterward that can help increase your financial security in your later years.

But chances are, you won’t take them.

“The dots need to be connected for consumers, especially given many other things that they have to think about,” said Hal Hershfield, author of the book “Your Future Self: How to Make Tomorrow Better Today.”

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Use an aging filter to overcome retirement inertia

A recent Bankrate survey found not saving for retirement early enough is the number one financial regret.

Experts say increasing your retirement savings deferral rate just slightly, say by 1%, can make a big difference over time. The earlier you start, the more you will benefit from compound interest, whereby the money you earn gets reinvested and earns even more.

The TikTok aging filter may serve as inspiration, but only if savers take the necessary follow-up steps, experts say. Admittedly, inertia may prevent them from doing so.

Once people see an image of their older selves, they tend to feel differently about their future decisions, said Joseph Coughlin, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab. Whether those effects will last six months or a year from now is uncertain, he said.

Successful, lasting behavioral changes typically come with incentives to work toward, such as saving money or exercising, Coughlin said. But once the incentives stop, the behavior often does as well, he said.

Pairing an aging filter video with prompts to save more money or invest more toward retirement may be effective, according Hershfield, who is also a professor of marketing and behavioral decision making at the University of California, Los Angeles.

How to plan for ‘future you’

Taking the initiative to plan for the “future you” now can pay off substantially in the long run, and not just financially.

Just about a quarter of why someone dies at a given age is due to genetics and the rest is mostly lifestyle, according to Carolyn McClanahan, a physician, certified financial planner and founder of Life Planning Partners in Jacksonville, Florida. She is also a member of the CNBC Financial Advisor Council.

“The best way to prepare is always keep yourself physically in good shape,” McClanahan said.

Here are three ways to make smart decisions that benefit you now and in the future:

1.  Focus on creating financial flexibility. Rather than focusing on retirement, think of saving as a way to give you more choices in the future, McClanahan suggested.

2. Pay attention to how much you spend. Having a high-priced lifestyle will not only cost you more now, but will also require you to save more toward retirement, McClanahan said.

3. Think of yourself doing everyday activities. To be more inspired to plan for your future self, it helps to realistically picture who that person will be and what they will need, Coughlin said. Ask yourself how your older self will approach everyday things such as who you will have lunch with or how you will get an ice cream cone. “Sometimes your goals are simple and the things that make you smile,” Coughlin said.

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