I recently talked with a couple in their mid 50s who had been working for the last several decades and taking care of their family. Like many people, they had reached a stage in life where they could begin to think about themselves and the next stage of their lives. They had paid off the mortgage on their home and their children had completed their education. They were putting 10–15% of their income into their retirement plans and trying to catch up on all the years they had under-contributed paying for everyone else.
As we talked, we discussed what life would look like for them over the next 10 years when they decided that they didn’t want to work 8 hours a day any longer. If money was no problem – what would life look like for them? Of course, money isn’t unlimited for most of us but imagining a future unconstrained by income is an interesting starting point for listing the possibilities. From that list we then determined their lifestyle priorities and found out what was most important and actually possible within the reality of their retirement income.
If you can’t imagine your future lifestyle, there is very little chance of making it a reality. Some folks are afraid to dream for fear of failing to reach their goals. But failing to dream only guarantees that the dream will go unfulfilled. If you don’t have any idea what your future looks like – or what it costs – how will you ever plan to afford that lifestyle? And if you don’t plan – how will you know how much to set aside each month or whether you are on track to have enough?
So find a quiet place and, if it suits you, have a glass of wine and dream a little about the next stage of your life. If you have a partner make it a bottle of wine and see if you can help make each other’s dreams come true. Where are you? What fills your day, or your heart, or your head? Gardening, travel, volunteering, a part-time job you always wanted but couldn’t because it didn’t pay the bills? Sitting in the sun in February? Starting a new business with your children? Taking classes at the local university?
The possibilities are endless and most are possible if you only plan – and the results will be maximized the sooner you get started. Let us know if we can help.