Like most people, it’s very likely that you’ve got a “bucket list”. They can take different forms, but ultimately it’s a list of all the goals you want to achieve. It will also include dreams you want to fulfil, and life experiences you wish to enjoy before you are too old to do them.
If you’re busy at both work and home, having a bucket list can give you focus and things to look forward to.
Having one can also provide a mental boost when things are tough, reminding you that there are happier times ahead. It can also help provide some context and structure to your life, especially for the time after you stop working.
Forming bucket list goals is also a crucial part of a successful financial plan. Thinking about what you’d like to achieve, when, and how much your goals might cost helps us to formalise a plan that will get you to where you need to be.
Here are seven tips to help you create and align a financial plan that helps you to achieve the goals on your bucket list.
1. Start by making a list
The first step is to make a proper list, rather than just having a series of half-formed ideas floating around in your mind.
It’s likely that you’ll already have some activities in mind that you want to do, and it makes sense to actually start noting these down somewhere.
Your list doesn’t have to exclusively consist of things you want to do once you’ve retired. Clearly, the time aspect will mean that many items on the list will need to wait until you’ve finished working. Even so, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t include other things that you can do in a day, or while you’re still working.
Once you have a list in place, the next step is to start putting plans in place to make it easier to tick them off.
2. Make sure you plan ahead
From your list, you can start mapping out how, and potentially when, you’ll want to start ticking items off.
Some may be dependent on events beyond your control, such as watching your team in an FA Cup final or your favourite rock star playing live, but others will be more accessible.
Not all will involve travel, and you might find that you can start doing some straightaway.
As part of your planning process, you might want to start researching the items on your list, particularly big-ticket items like holidays involving long-haul flights.
Proper planning makes them easier to achieve and will make it more likely that you’ll get full value out of them.
3. Put a schedule together
One you’ve got a list and an outline plan, you can begin tentatively scheduling when you’d like to start ticking off some items on it.
If there are clearly things you can do while you’re still working, you can prioritise these.
These could include simple things like learning to speak a foreign language – maybe with a view to travel – or read all the works of a particular author.
Then you should split up big-ticket items that you’ll have to tick off once you’ve retired, and other items that you should be able to do before you stop working.
4. It’s never too soon to start saving
If cost could be a restrictive issue with some of your bucket list items, you’ll improve your chances of fulfilling them if you start setting savings aside now.
The easiest way to do this is to set up a direct debit and save a set monthly amount.
Depending on timescales, you might get better growth on the money you set aside if you invest it in stocks and shares, rather than simply putting it in a simple savings account.
We would normally recommend investing for a period of at least five years.
5. Don’t forget to talk to other family members
When you’re thinking about your bucket list, it’s worth liaising with your partner, and other family members. They may well have bucket lists of their own that you’ll need to consider if you’re planning ahead.
Understandably, their lists might not align with yours, but it might be possible to tick off two items at the same time on separate lists.
Additionally, letting them know what’s on your list might give them ideas for future birthdays and Christmas presents!
6. Be realistic
Although a bucket list is in itself usually based around blue-sky thinking, it’s important to be realistic when it comes to any financial constraints you may have.
If you’re on a limited budget, a “holiday of a lifetime” in Mauritius might cost the same as three or four less expensive items on your list.
Even if finances are too much of a restriction, it’s worth pacing yourself. Trying to do too much in too short a space of time can lead to frustration.
Spreading items out can give you the mental boost of having something to look forward to. It can also give you the time to plan and research properly.
Try and avoid the “if it’s Tuesday, this must be Belgium” attitude of cramming as much in as you can. Instead, take time to savour unfamiliar places and new experiences. You’ll create far better memories.
7. Key an eye out for offers and opportunities
Planning ahead obviously helps, but there’s no harm in being able to react quickly to tick an item off if the chance arises.
We covered off the importance of saving money under item four, but it’ll obviously be easier to react to an unexpected short-term opportunity if you have a fund from which you can draw.
Get in touch
A bucket list is personal to you, so we wouldn’t presume to tell you what should be on yours. However, our team at Rosebridge may well be able to help you with the financial aspects – in particular, an investment strategy for any money you decide to save.
We can also help with your financial planning, and ensuring you have the means to tick off some of your bucket list items in retirement.
Email email@example.com or call 01204 300010 to find out more about how we could help you.