Visualizing Your Financial Future (And Why It’s Important)

There are millions of posts and thousands of books explaining how to improve your finances. In fact, much of this information seems to get recycled back and forth. I have found only a couple of good books and posts that deal with the visualization of your financial future. My favorite is a book called The Type-Z Guide to Success with Ease. Reading it changed my life in a very positive way.

Some of you may consider visualization as impractical, but it’s not. It’s a critical first step in reaching any goal. I plugged along for years with my financial plan and some well-written goals. And, I was getting ahead financially and reaching those goals. But I never found any real passion for my goals, until I started to visualize the kind of life I could have when I reached them. The more time I spent visualizing my perfect life, the more real and attainable it became. And, my goals started growing bolder and more ambitious.

Action Item: Write down your financial goals in twenty words or less.

Dream a Little Dream

I want you to close your eyes for at least five minutes and dream about all of the wonderful things you would do if you had millions of dollars.

Where would you go and what would you do? What is the first thing you would buy? Would you help others or keep all of the money for yourself? Would you continue to work or would you quit your job? What kind of car would you drive and what style of house would you live in?

Don’t allow any negative thoughts or practical considerations to creep in. This is your chance to dream big, without having to worry how or why this will happen. Just pretend for now that it has happened and enjoy the vision.

Action Item: Start dreaming right now for at least five minutes.

Interpreting Your Dream

How did all of this dreaming make you feel? Was it fun and comfortable? Or, did you have thoughts about the problems this money would bring? Did you feel like you deserved to be this wealthy? Did your dream conflict with your financial goals? Did your dream conflict with your morals or principles?

Your reaction to your dream will tell you a lot about yourself and your relationship to money. If you enjoyed the dream and would like to pursue it, you may have just taken the first step. If the dream wasn’t enjoyable, you need to find out why. Ask yourself honestly why you don’t deserve it. Do you believe it is greedy or wrong to be wealthy? Are you uncomfortable with the responsibility? Or, do you feel more comfortable around working class people? This is fairly normal and there are a lot of misconceptions about wealth. It’s important to realize that you don’t have to change your lifestyle once you have money and most American millionaires never do.

I discovered that I had limited all of my financial goals, because I didn’t feel deserving of wealth. Not only was I uncomfortable with the thought of having millions of dollars, I didn’t see any practical way to earn that kind of money. This is something I realized after many years of planning and saving. I still have relatively modest goals and dreams. I’m not interested in owning any mansions or yachts. But, I have removed the limits I placed upon myself, based on my upbringing. And, if I exceed my goals for wealth and abundance, I’m sure I can find some interesting ways to share and enjoy the excess.

Action Item: Write a paragraph or two that describe what your perfect life would be like in five years if all of your dreams come true.

Making a Commitment

The final step in the process is in making a commitment to your dream. There is no sense in dreaming your life away, without taking any action. That’s a common criticism of some manifestation type books, like The Secret. They suggest that all good things will come to those who dream. But, my experience has been that it takes a lot of hard work and planning to make dreams come true. Once you have made a commitment to your dream by writing down the steps to get there, it’s a lot more likely to come true.

Remember why this dream is important to you. Do you want to grind out a living for fifty years and then retire on a tight budget, praying you don’t go broke? Or, do you want to enjoy your life, with less stress and worry? Take the time to write out some goals and take the steps to achieve them. You will feel so much better once you are in control of your future.

Action Item: Write a list of goals that will help you achieve your dream life.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that where dreams and planning lead, success will often follow. There is nothing wrong with living a dream and becoming a success. Give yourself permission to enjoy your life and you may soon find yourself enhancing the lives of others.

There is nothing like a dream to create the future.

- Victor Hugo

Recommended Reading


About the Author: This is a guest post from Bret @ HopeToProsper.com. He’s been posting since 2007 and the purpose of his blog is to describe the Simple Practices that Lead to Wealth.


Photo Credit: Sean McGrath



Comments

  1. 1

    Kevin@OutOfYourRut says

    Since most people kind of amble through life without a plan, the emphasis really needs to be on daily (or more frequent) afirmations. Your point about making a list is huge, and it needs to be reviewed and re-committed to continually.

    Establishing a dream as more than a goal is important. In fact, it has to move from being a goal to being a plan, one with concrete steps you’re going to work on and accomplish on a regular basis.

    Baby steps are better than inaction, so small, easily accomplished steps are a natural start. Confidence is critical, and it’s best to build it one small step at a time before moving to the big ones. By then the plan might be a habit and the journey will be much shorter.

    But I completely agree, it all has to start with a dream. The complications of life often rob us of the dreams we have in youth, until we reach a point where we dare not dream…

    • 2

      says

      Kevin,

      I thought about including a section on affirmations, but I didn’t want to scare anyone off. I personally only look at my affirmations about twice a month. I should pick it up and say them more often. I do review my goals once a week and it helps me to keep on track. I use Outlook with a recurring reminder.

      Bret

  2. 3

    says

    I may be a bit “over goal oriented” but the core of this post is absolutely correct. I write down all types of goals regularly and revise as well. AND YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENS-there is magic in writing them down. Most of my goals, when I go back & check on the after monthes or years, have come true. Thanks, Barb

  3. 4

    says

    Barb,

    I have been keeping my written goals since 1992. Every year, I archive off the old list, so I can look back at prior years. Some years I have been more dilligent than others. But, it is fun to look back and see what I have accomplished. It provides motivation for all of the goals soon to come.

  4. 5

    says

    Howdie Bret, I do visualize often. I have a goal to make $1 million this year in gross income for example. As such, I’ve searched for ways to do so.

    I also have a check written to myself for $5 million dollars. It’s tucked away in my drawer, giving me some motivation a long the way.

    It works!

    • 6

      says

      Sam,

      Your dreams are a lot bigger than mine, at least in the short term. But as Erasmus says in The Greatest Salesman in the World, “It’s better to aim your spear at the moon and strike only an eagle, than to aim your spear at the eagle and strike only a rock.”

      The visualization and the big dreams definitely help.

  5. 7

    says

    Thanks for the terrific article, Bret! I agree that it is really hard to reach our goals without writing them down first.

    I think Kevin hit on a kep point earlier: usually, to reach a goal, we have to make a series of steps to get there. The mere act of sitting down and taking the time to *think* about our goals can also go a long ways in helping us to understand the intermediate steps required to get there.

  6. 8

    Kevin@OutOfYourRut says

    Financial Samurai – My hats off to you for dreaming really big!

    I saw a great saying this morning (but already forgot where!): if you’re going to throw a spear, aim for the moon and you might miss and hit an eagle. If you aim for an eagle, you might miss and hit a rock.

    Any dream worth dreaming is worth dreaming BIG!!!

  7. 10

    says

    While there is no insurance that anyone will become a millionaire, I do believe that putting out the right kind of energy to attract people, things, money to you is very real. I don’t think it’s a bunch of hocus pocus like many do. Putting the right kind of energy out there can lead to many good things.

    • 11

      says

      Jerry,

      I believe in intention manifestation. But, I believe you have to take some action as well. Any goal I have ever accomplished took both a vision and some elbow grease.

  8. 14

    says

    Great post. Bret. In the immortal words of Joe Jackson, “You can’t get what you want, until you know what you want.” I definitely believe in planning. Now that my husband and I are both 40, we are in the process of figuring out what we want to accomplish this decade. We realized that we are almost 100% out of debt (target date April 2011) but we don’t have a concrete plan for the excess cash flow after that.

    FYI, I’ve featured this post on my blog today.

    • 15

      says

      Jennifer,

      That’s awesome that you are almost out of debt. You can always use that cash flow for savings or some other worthy cause. There’s no sense in giving all of that interest money to the bank. Good for you.

      BTW, I love Joe Jackson. Steppin’ Out is my favorite. We are definitely in our 40s.

  9. 16

    says

    Back in 2005 – 2006, I started telling people that I was going to retire in a few years. At the time I didn’t really know how or even when since I certainly didn’t have enough money saved to do it. I probably brought up the topic of early retirement at least once every couple of days in one context or another.

    It took until 2009 to save enough to do it but the key was that I believed that I would and I knew what I had to do to get it – work my butt off wherever I was in the moment by doing something I enjoyed (most of the time) and to save as much as possible without totally depriving myself.

    But I first had the idea of it being possible for me by discovering YMOYL, Cashing in on the American Dream and the early-retirement forum. They provided the vision of what I thought it would be like.

      • 18

        says

        Hey Bret,
        So glad you have the vision for an early retirement! I think it’s an awesomely exciting vision!

        One thing that was quite instrumental for me personally was evaluating every expense – before I spent it – in terms of how many days or months that expense would “cost” my retirement dream. So if I wanted to buy a new pair of shoes for $100, I could (most of the time) stop myself by thinking that it would cost me a day of retirement – and was it worth it? Sometimes it is, much of the time it’s not. The same thing worked with making more money – if I work an hour today, that will pay for a day of retirement. It makes working much more pleasurable. :-)

  10. 19

    Jenna says

    I like your idea of writing dreams down. It seems to me that by doing this act, makes the dream permanent (granted it can change) but also doable. Playing make believe in your mind is a lot different than have an executable goal mapped out on paper. Thanks for sharing your action items for creating a strong financial future. Would be awesome if readers would like the share their goals in the comments section or a future blog post maybe?

    • 20

      says

      Jenna,

      One of the best things about writing down your dreams is to read them at a future time. I’ts kind of like a time-capsule to what you were thinking in the past.

      When I read my old goal lists, I can tell they were so hard and far away when I wrote them. Now, I take these dreams, like having a house and a college degree, for granted, because I accomplished them so long ago.

  11. 21

    says

    The whole thing is not just about an empty dreaming. It is about to set up goals that you can achieve. Not to buy a shoe because you can lost one day of your retirement is a long term goal that is certainly achievable. We all can think ahead not just few days or months but even for 20 years. I have several goals that started as dreams…

  12. 22

    says

    Interesting post. The hardest part of being a financial planner was getting people to dream. I found that when we tried to skip it and head right to the “fun part” of planning (investing) things went horribly.

  13. 23

    says

    Dreaming is good, but we also need to work to make those dreams a reality. The reason I’m working hard now is because I dream of a better future without having to work 9-5.

  14. 24

    says

    I’m a big believer in visualization as a key to achieving just about any goal. Regularly visualizing where you want to be magically affects choices you make, keeping you on the path toward the goal. When talking with people starting on a challenging path to paying off their debts, I start by saying: “Visualize yourself debt free.” A strong vision of how that would feel and how it would affect day-to-day life is a great motivator.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>