Financial advisors polled by Money Magazine said that what people do wrong most often is not creating a long-term financial plan.
But wait! Before you stop reading this because — BORing! — I want you to dream.
What do you want your life to look like in five years?
Maybe you want to remodel your place, work less so you can hang with your kids, or eat all organic and gourmet food. Maybe you want to stay in fancy hotels when you travel, move to a balmy clime, or take a year’s sabbatical in Argentina. Do you want to have so much in the bank that you don’t so much as blink when insurance won’t pay for the furnace blow-out? I do.
My husband and I are a bit behind on our long long-term planning (retirement), but we finally bought our first house (at the age of 41). With my husband in medical training forever and me home with the kids, conserving our funds was not easy. But we knew the house would disappear in dinners out, hair styling, and weekend trips if we weren’t careful.
A long-term financial plan starts with dreams. Dreams are also the foundation for a good daily budget. How can you have the strength to curb spending if you don’t have something really good you’re gunning for?
We’ll keep talking about setting goals, being frugal, and increasing your earning power with fulfilling work. But first, if you haven’t already, I’d like you to think about what you want out of life.
Sure, you want to have fun when you’re gray and wrinkly with grandchildren pattering around you. But let’s take baby steps:
- Zoom in on your life in five years. Imagine your days in perfect form: where you live, how you spend your time, how you make a living.
- And don’t stop there, and this is very important: write it down. (I love this simple but powerful advice from a book I’m reading called The Greatest Secret of All by Marc Allen).
- Once you know what you want, you’ll know what steps to take. Hang your five-year dream on your fridge and watch how life begins to take you there.
Let me finish with an example. You want to walk five miles along the beach. If you set a lighthouse as your endpoint, you’ll always know where you need to go, you won’t veer off course, and your body will automatically know what it needs to do to get you there.
Do you write down goals? I’d love to hear how it works for you!
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Need a kickstart to saving? Check out these 10 money-saving tips for families!
Image credits: Amy Suardi