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When I counsel clients on retirement planning, I try to help them envision their future in a way that motivates them to make changes today to achieve those dreams for tomorrow. Research shows that doing so is not just a speculative exercise — it actually spurs us to save more money.
I tell my clients to be as specific as possible when crafting that vision: Where will you live? How often will you travel, and where would you like to go? What activities will you engage in? How often will you see family and friends? What will a typical day in retirement look like? I often recommend that pre-retirees put together a visual collage of the things they want to do, be and see in retirement.
This can be particularly useful for supercharged business executives and other high achievers who may find it difficult to imagine a day not filled with work, emails, deals and nonstop meetings
Creating a to-do list or “bucket” list for retirement helps busy people crystallize their vision of the future and construct a typical day/week/month in retirement. This can ease the transition to retirement, which is often stressful and abrupt. After all, retirement requires an emotional plan, not just a financial one.
The social site Pinterest is great for this type of goal setting. Although more popular with women (85% of users are female), Pinterest can help anyone gather ideas for such things as vacations, home renovations, events and large purchases. And it can help you craft a virtual collage of retirement goals.
I recently decided to start my own retirement bucket list on Pinterest. At first, I drew a complete blank. I do not have a burning desire to travel all over the world, so I couldn’t think of many places where I would like to vacation once I’ve retired. I also had a hard time identifying new hobbies or activities. I am so focused on financial topics 24/7, it’s hard to think about other activities I might enjoy.
But once I made the decision to start a Pinterest board, my list of places to see and things to do began to emerge. I jotted down items of interest in a stream of consciousness. I let my list sit for a while, then added more goals later on. As you add images, other ideas come to mind. You also start looking at other Pinterest boards to gain additional insights.
One big breakthrough for me was recognizing my lack of “right-brained” activities and how I’d like to try some creative hobbies.
The key question to ask yourself as you prepare your own bucket list is: What does retirement look like to you? It can include downsizing or renovating your home, moving closer to kids, embarking on a new career or substantially changing your daily routine.
You could create several Pinterest boards to explore these topics. Some of my clients use Pinterest to compile ideas for home renovations or redecorating. Others focus on travel, volunteer work or their family. You can create several themed boards, dividing them by the general topics of health, money, travel, food, home and family. All these could help you set better short- and long-term financial goals for retirement savings.
There is something magical and transformational about creating collages on Pinterest. As I started to paste the pictures and look at my board, I found myself moving some of the items from my bucket list to my current to-do list. Life is short. Why delay things that are important to you?
Some people use retirement planning as an excuse to delay for tomorrow what could — perhaps should — be done today. Some things, like eating healthier or learning how to paint, don’t even require much money. In addition, making small changes now can help phase in our new lifestyle so it is less traumatic, and it moves us closer to our ultimate goals.
Looking for help getting starting with Pinterest? Check out this guide.
Image via iStock.