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1996 ad from a magazine made strange predictions about 2026 and it has people stunned

People are flabbergasted that the predictions made in the ad are actually turning out to be true.

1996 ad from a magazine made strange predictions about 2026 and it has people stunned
Cover Image Source: Twitter | @LibertyLudens

Creating an ad for the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA) must have been a routine task for a copywriter. Little did the writer know that the ad's statements would become reality 28 years later. The insurance magazine advert written in 1996 is leaving people stunned on social media because of its eerily accurate predictions.


This seemingly prophetic commercial was released by TIAA and the College Retirement Equities Fund (CREF). The ad cautioned people against frittering away their cash and instead, advised them to save money for their hour of need. It suggested people start investing, saving, or thinking about insurance.

The bold copy in the advert read, "They say in thirty years, a burger and fries could cost $16, a vacation $12,500, and a basic car $65,000." It continued, "No problem. You'll eat in. You won't drive. And you won't go anywhere." The text on the side, accompanying the graphic, read, "Granted, sitting around the house may not be your idea of the perfect retirement. But what's your choice when inflation is slowly but surely eroding the value of your nest egg?"

Representative Image Source: Pexels | rccbtn
Representative Image Source: Pexels | rccbtn

People who came across the ad can't wrap their heads around the fact that the predictions are turning out to be as accurate as the ones made by Nostradamus or "The Simpsons." "Who knew Nostradamus wrote ad copy 30 years ago?" @zaphodsfolly wrote on X and @mattxgal added, "Can’t believe we’re getting closer to a reality like this – for an ad, that’s a pretty good projection!"



The commercial was shared on a couple of social media platforms, including Reddit's r/damnthatsinteresting subreddit, where it received 76k upvotes. Commenting on the post, u/conscious-bowl8089 said, "This is kinda true. I mean the burger and fries one is accurate."

Image Source: Reddit | u/ok_television 9820
Image Source: Reddit | u/ok_television 9820

MoneyGeek’s research found that in San Francisco, a meal of burger, fries, and soda, comes at an average cost of $15.30, at $14.59 in Los Angeles, and at $14.22 in New York. According to TIME magazine, Meyer’s Olde Dutch also raised their burger prices to an average of $16 due to increasing rates of bread, cheese, tomatoes, and toppings. Plus, McDonald's also increased their burger and fries prices. A Big Mac meal currently costs $18, per New York Post.

Image Source: Reddit | u/Hairytomato
Image Source: Reddit | u/Hairytomato

While the ad accurately predicted burger and fries prices, the vacation cost prediction was neither entirely correct nor incorrect. According to GOGO Charters’ 2024 survey, the average vacation cost for a single person in the U.S. is $1,984 and $3,969 for a couple. For a group of four, it becomes $7,936 and up to $11,904 for a group of six, which is the closest to the one written in the ad.


As for the average car price, research has revealed it to be approximately $47,218 in March 2024, according to Clark Howard. It might reach $65,000 by the end of 2026, as predicted in the ad. 

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