How to Start Your Financial Dream Plan
by Liz Carroll, Financial Life Coach
Don’t know where or how to start with planning your financial future? You are not alone. This is the most common email request I receive so I thought it warranted a blog post. To create a Financial Dream Plan, you need to know what you want. This can be a difficult exercise. We are often challenged with verbalizing our desires or imagining our future-self. We have a notion of what we want but when asked we can’t provide specific details. And for dreams to come true, they need to be specific.
Here are two fun ways to start dreaming about your future:
Go all out. Where do you want to go? How long will you be gone? Alone or does someone go with you? Pick a time of year, research flight routes and costs. Plan the itinerary. Where will you stay? Accommodations vary based on your dream (i.e. Backpacking, Airbnb or Luxury Resort). What kind of activities will you do? Are you going for adventure or relaxation? What kind of food will you eat? Who will you meet? What kind of memories will you make?
Would you wake automatically or to an alarm? Would you have a morning routine?
How about exercise, meditation or gratitude? What about journaling? Would you eat breakfast? If yes to breakfast, what would you eat? Be specific!
What time would you arrive to work? Do you have a commute or work from home? What kind of meetings do you attend? Or do you volunteer? Plan it all out…snacks, meals, cocktails or not. Do you meet up with friends? Play sports? Watch TV? Take a walk or have sex with your partner? You decide. It’s totally your Perfect Day.
This exercise works best the more specific you can be. You may want to create a Pinterest Board for visual representation of your Dream Vacation or write out your entire Perfect Day in your journal. I encourage doodling in the margins of your journal since doodling activates big picture thinking.
Your Dream Vacation and Perfect Day will be as unique as you are. When you start this process, it engages your planning brain (and you’ll need it firing on all cylinders to create your Financial Dream Plan). Most days we live our day the same way we did the day before, almost in default. This is common as our primitive brain likes consistency.
That consistency can make us feel stuck though, especially around our finances. How are we growing in knowledge and wealth if we are following the same process as the prior day, week after week?
This is where activating your planning brain with a fun exercise like a Dream Vacation or Perfect Day starts to get you to think about the future and what do you really want. Your brain can then move onto your finances.
After the Dream Vacation or Dream Day exercise, now write out three financial goals:
How much money do you want to earn? How are you going to provide value to earn that amount? How will you mindfully spend your money? How much will you intentionally save and invest? What kind of financial life do you want to live? Do you want to leave a legacy or are you all about YOLO (you only live once)?
There is no right answer. There is YOUR answer. Write it out. I read that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. Just think, you may get that Dream Vacation and Perfect Day after all.
A written plan will save you hours of worry and thousands of dollars over your lifetime. Plus, you’ll be 42 percent more likely to achieve it and that is good for your health!