When you take the time to imagine what you want to accomplish in life – to visualize your dreams and aspirations – you take the first step in the process of creating your personal roadmap. Whatever your stage in life, it is a good idea to periodically take some time to think about the future. Once you identify what you want in the long-term, you can set goals and create a plan to achieve them. If you take this strategic approach from the start, your accomplishments will move you closer to your lifelong hopes and dreams.
Here are some suggestions for making the process work for you:
- Consider Goals for All Areas of Your Life
Imagine your ideal future. Visualize what it might look like in terms of career, personal health, family, community and spiritual aspects. Who is most important in your life and how, if at all, would you like to provide for them? Where and in what type of home would you like to live? What type of work and leisure activities would you enjoy? At what age do you want to retire and what is your vision of that retirement?
- Define What You Aspire To
To achieve your ideal life, you must not only dream about your goals but define them with as many specifics as possible. Think about each goal in detail to get a clear vision for the future. What does success look like? Where and how will it be achieved? Who might be involved? By when do you want to accomplish it?
- Write Down Your Goals
Once you’ve visualized and defined your aspirations, write down each one as a specific goal with a deadline. This can focus several years into the future, such as “Purchase a retirement home and pay off first mortgage by 2025.” Goals should be measurable so you can quantify your target and track your progress.
- Identify Milestones, Action Steps and Related Deadlines
Set intermediate goals or milestones for larger goals that involve multiple steps for completion. List all the action steps that you think could be needed to achieve each goal and prioritize these into an action plan for each.
- Estimate Costs
This critical step in the process will help you determine what financial targets and milestones you’ll need to meet in order to accomplish each of your long-term goals. You can compile your estimates using information from online calculators, personal research, or community and industry sources.
- Create Your Comprehensive Financial Plan
Once you’ve identified your goals and milestones, it’s time to develop a comprehensive financial plan to help you achieve your vision for the future. A financial representative will analyze your specific situation and create a financial security plan to meet your unique needs and timeline. The plan becomes your financial roadmap, with recommended action steps that you can follow to achieve your dreams.
- Confirm Your Approach and Take Action
As a result of this thoughtful process you will have an in-depth picture of the steps and costs involved in pursuing your goals. A financial representative will explain the options available for a financial plan to meet your needs, which could include personal savings, investments, education funding, risk protection, retirement savings, estate planning and wealth management. Once you choose which options work best for you, you can take action every day to keep moving in the right direction.
You have an opportunity to look beyond the short term and resolve to create a roadmap to your dreams. Taking time to set measurable goals and think through the steps to achieve them – personally and financially – will set you on course to make progress and build momentum in the years to come.