How many times have you gotten the itch to grab a coffee on the way to work and thought, “Come on, it’s only a couple of bucks. That’s not going to hurt my long-term financial plans, right?”
Or maybe you decided to kick your music streaming subscription up to premium to avoid ads. That $9.99 a month isn’t going to waylay your retirement, right?
Not so fast….
Now there’s a new app that will quantify how much longer you’ll have to work because of the seemingly small choices you make everyday without even thinking about them.
Free app shows how small leaks sink big ships
What’s the real cost of a coffee or a splurge purchase of an outfit that’s on sale?
Is it measured in dollars and cents?
Or is it more accurately measured in hours, weeks and years of your life that you have to work because that money you spent is no longer available to help you reach your retirement goals?
That’s the question Pretirement aims to get at.
Pretirement describes itself as “a financial independence app that instantly converts spending or saving decisions into days, weeks or years of your life.”
How it works
To set Pretirement up, you simply enter basics like how much you already have saved, your annual anticipated savings rate, when you plan to retire and how much money you anticipate needing when you are retired.
Once you’re done with that, Pretirement lets you enter possible impulse purchases you’re thinking about making — or extra money you’re thinking about saving — into the app.
It will crunch the numbers after adjusting for inflation, a 4% withdrawal rate and other factors. You’ll instantly find out how much longer you’ll have to work if you insist on frivolously spending that $5, $500, $5,000… whatever the amount you’re thinking about throwing away at that exact moment is!
“I hope that people get a better grasp on the little things [with Pretirement,]” app creator Danny Murphy told Reuters. “It’s one thing to spend the time to crunch the numbers when you are buying a new car, but it’s the small things, like a music service subscription for $12 a month, that provide significant difference.”
“Some [expenditures] have small benefit to you ‘ instantaneous, like a cup of coffee ‘ but are really costly long-term.”
How to best use Pretirement
Obviously, Pretirement isn’t a tool you’d probably want to use for granular financial planning as you get ready for retirement down the road; you’re better off with a fee-only financial planner for that.
What the app excels at instead is serving as that little voice of conscience in your head. Use it to veto unnecessary spending in the name of keeping your retirement plans on track!
“Face” the facts about your finances
What Pretirement does is offer you a digital countdown clock that ticks away until you reach retirement.
But what about an app that takes the biological countdown clock approach?
Back in 2015, Bank of America had an app called Face Retirement that used facial scanning to scare you into saving by aging your picture. The idea was that by seeing yourself down the road as you might look at retirement, you would be inspired to start saving money today.
The Face Retirement app is no longer available, but it used your smartphone or webcam to snap a picture of you that was then digitally aged to 65.
Hey, whatever it takes to get the job of saving for your future done, right?!