Often my work involves helping people figure out how to make their career transition happen when they're already in the thick of needing it (hint - sometimes reality dictates that change is a longer term process), but in this post I'd like to plant a seed for looking ahead.
This article from MSN Money suggests that if you want to save big, you need to dream big.
How many times have you read that you should tuck away 10% of your money in a savings account? But to what end? If you view saving simply as the opposite of spending, how could you commit to it? It’s punitive rather than rewarding.
To save, you need a goal. Setting goals is both the heart of financial planning and its most difficult task. It requires that you really stretch your mind and think about how you could create a life that’s fulfilling. Look inside yourself and reach for your dreams. That is tough stuff.
"It's much easier to focus on short-term crises and to solve immediate problems," says Stanley H. Breitbard, a financial planner in Los Angeles. "Defining your dreams is the hardest thing to do in life."
Sometimes it's simply a matter of asking yourself the obvious questions...
As for [financial planner] Kinder, he says that a couple of years of living the life he chose for himself have changed his approach to planning. Rather than harping on the virtues of saving for its own sake, he now sees his job as helping clients realize their dreams.
This is one of the questions he asks every new client: "If you died tomorrow, what would you most regret not having done?"
Ultimately, you can use your dreams to fuel your will to save.
Once you've identified your dreams, visualize yourself in them to help provide discipline for saving.
Katharine McGee, a financial planner in Davenport, Ind., likens it to taking a vacation. “When you begin to talk about your vacation, when you get the travel literature and read about the places you will go and the things you will do, that's when you visualize your goal and it becomes real to you."
And that's when it stops hurting to save money.
Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst (sm)
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