Saving for the future – now or later mindset?


Planning for a longer retirement is becoming increasingly important as life expectancy increases around the world. Making decisions today to save through regular contributions is a good way to help ensure you have a more comfortable retirement. However, according to research developing a long-term money-saving mindset is no easy task.

A recent study (undertaken by UCLA Anderson School of Management) reveals people are most likely to choose to buy something today instead of saving for their future – even if deep down they know long term saving is important. This attitude is known as “time discounting”, where the study found people have a tendency to choose to receive the satisfaction of a reward or enjoyment from spending today, rather than wait until another moment in the future. The study reveals how hard it can be to do what’s best for our long-term, especially if it means we are reserved today.


Research indicated that if we can more vividly and realistically visualise our future selves we are more likely to make choices that benefit our longer term needs. This study used digital tools to show participants what they could look like in the future, and help them visualise their retirement. Results found that people who saw these images were more likely to contribute more money towards their retirement savings. The Harvard Business Review made a brazen comment that people could hang pictures of their aged-selves in their home by way of reminding them of the purpose for saving money today for tomorrow.

Setting goals

How do we ensure we have a more comfortable future? We need to set saving contribution goals, identify key milestones, and be aware of progress. As highlighted in the survey, thinking about what retirement might look like is a good way to motivate ourselves to save, and could help ensure we stay on track to achieve our savings goals. To help you easily find out how much you may need in retirement, and how much you should be saving today to reach your goal, the website has a number of helpful tools available. Tools such as the Retirement Planner, Goal Planner, and Investor Kickstarter are a great start. Visit to find out more.

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