Another birthday came and went for me Tuesday and, as always, I spent quite a bit of time reflecting. I wondered at what age did I start spending more time thinking about memories rather than the my future. Am I really that old? When should I make my “bucket list”? I thought Jack Nicholson was near death when he made his in the movie with that title.
My sister, Lori, called to wish me a happy birthday yesterday. She is two years younger than me, but has a twenty-one year old son. I joked that one of these days she could be a grandma. Well, that freaked her out, and then I got to thinking, “oh my gosh”, I’m two years older than she is! When am I supposed to look forward to be a grand parent?
I think it should be healthy to look forward to what the rest of your life might hold for you. This is a BIG part of financial planning. Money is tied closely to many of our life goals. It is part of making the things on a “bucket list” actually happen.
It starts with making the list. In my field, it has been recommended (George Kinder: Three Questions about Life Planning) that I ask clients the following questions:
- Imagine you are financially secure, that you have enough money to take care of your needs, now and in the future. How would you live your life? Would you change anything? Let yourself go. Don’t hold back on your dreams. Describe a life that is complete and richly yours.
- Now imagine that you visit your doctor, who tells you that you have only 5-10 years to live. You won’t ever feel sick, but you will have no notice of the moment of your death. What will you do in the time you have remaining? Will you change your life and how will you do it? (Note that this question does not assume unlimited funds.)
- Finally, imagine that your doctor shocks you with the news that you only have 24 hours to live. Notice what feelings arise as you confront your very real mortality. Ask yourself: What did you miss? Who did you not get to be? What did you not get to do?
Now if you go to a quiet place and write out some answers to these questions, you will focus on looking forward and hopefully get moving on living your life. I promise that if you go through this exercise it will have a positive impact on your life.
Now that you have some ideas of what you want to do with the limited amount of time you have in the one earthly life you have, let me know if any of them involve money and how I can help you align your money with your goals.
Please let me know how answering these questions impacts you.
P.S. As a result of this process, I am making plans to go to Augusta National for the Master’s next year. I had been putting it off forever.