by Scott Ronalds

I’m in my early forties. Retirement is probably 20 years away. Maybe longer. So it can be hard to put a face on what it might look like. I like to think I’m making good investment decisions: I’ve got a fairly high risk tolerance so my RSP and TFSA are both tilted towards stocks (via Steadyhand’s equity funds), I don’t panic when the markets are down, and I contribute to my accounts regularly.

Yet, I also know I could be doing more. Specifically, I could spend less and bump up my RSP contributions. But again, retirement is two decades away. It’s more exciting to live in the moment.

I know I’m not alone here. Thinking long term is great in concept, but harder to execute on. The short-term gratification we get through buying cool things and experiences feels way better than socking away money for the future.

But when we can actually see the long term, it can become easier to make better decisions. I recently came across an app that puts this in perspective. AgingBooth (available in Apple’s App store and Google Play) shows you what you’ll look like 30+ years from now. Warning: graphic content below.

The senior Scott looks like he needs a night out and a nice beach. After seeing a glimpse of the future, I’m more inclined to try to provide it for him (I actually made an additional contribution to my RSP account after going through this exercise).

It’s a reminder to me, as well, that I need to keep my focus on assets that have the best chance of generating the highest returns over the next 20+ years – i.e. stocks – and not be too concerned about the bumps along the way (note: a stock-heavy portfolio certainly isn’t for everyone, but is suitable for my situation). The guy on the right doesn’t care about a tough year in the markets that may have taken place in 2019 or 2023 or 2031. He just cares that he set himself up nicely by investing wisely and diligently in his accumulation years.

I encourage you to take a look at the future too. It can lead to better saving and investing decisions.