Create a Financial Bucket List to Achieve Your Goals

by Vincent King · 4 comments

Bucket list

Get in your car. Now drive 100 miles southwest from your current location. Get on any road; it doesn’t matter which. Where will you end up?

If you don’t have a map, you probably don’t know for sure. You may know the approximate area, but if it wasn’t where you truly needed to go, then your trip was a waste of time.

It’s the same with dreams and goals.

Knowing what you want to achieve makes achievement easier and more predictable. Pursuing your goals without a plan to get there may get you close to where you’d hoped, but maybe not close enough.

What if you went about your finances the same way? Maybe you’ll have enough savings to nudge you through your golden years. Then again, maybe you won’t. Having a map isn’t a guarantee for success, but at least it’ll give you an idea of the route. If you have a route, it’s easy to make adjustments on the way.

Your Financial Bucket List

A financial bucket list can be used like a map to help you pay off debts, travel the world in style, save money for retirement, and more.

A financial bucket list is constantly changing and evolving. You’ll happily check off items as you accomplish them, just like you would with a regular bucket list.

There’s one difference: traditional lists like this are meant to be monumental things. We’re going to tweak the idea to make it more practical for our finances. It’s a Bite-Size Bucket List. You’ll check in with it often — weekly or monthly, depending on your needs.

As you complete items on your list, your finances will improve and you’ll be on your way to long term financial satisfaction.

5 Steps to Create an Effective Financial Bucket List

1. Picture your ideal life — now and in retirement.

How would you like your life to look? Do you need millions to keep yourself happy, or are you satisfied living a modest life in a small home?

2.Take a look at your present finances.

If you proceed on your current path, will you be able to achieve your dream life? If not, what must you change to get you on the proper path? Do you need to save X dollars each month? Do you need to pay off your mountains of credit card debt first?

3. Set up the first items on your bucket list.

It can be “Pay off Visa” or “Save $300 this month.” Here’s a little tip: look at where you want to go and break the trip down from total to individual miles. For example: If you want to save $1M by the time you’re 65, calculate how much you need to save each month to get there. Then, set your sights on the monthly targets. Smaller numbers are always less debilitating.

4. Check and assess.

As you complete each task, you’ll want to assess if you’re still on the right track each week or month. If you do your calculations again, do they still work out? Have changes in the economy altered your path and shifted you closer, sooner? Or perhaps they moved you farther away, and you have to make up the difference.

5. Set new goals.

Frequent assessment will keep you achieving and growing. As you accomplish what you’ve put on your list, you’ll need to establish new goals that will put your dreams within your reach. Perhaps you’ve paid off your American Express. Now what? What about Visa? What about saving that money rather than spending it? Maybe you set a goal of saving $200 a month for 12 months and you did it. Now what?

A bucket list is a list of things you want to achieve before you leave this world. A financial bucket list is a way to make sure you can do them.

What are the biggest items on your financial bucket list?

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  • slinky says:

    It might be too much for some people, but I have monthly budgets planned ten years out. That’s usually far enough out to plan out all my current goals until things start to get fuzzy and unclear. I adjust it as the situation changes and it really helps to keep it clear how everything affects everything else. If I take on another expense, it needs to fit in with my current AND my future budget without messing up my goals. It also helps when you get a bit of extra money that you can literally see whether or not you are on track to hit your goals or not.

  • Great tips. I think the most important are #4 and 5. To be successful, you absolutely need to be able to assess and check where you are and adjust your plan accordingly. You never know when life will throw you that proverbial curve ball. Also, as you check off goals, setting new goals is also important. You do not want to reach the end and just stop. You need additional goals to keep you moving in the right direction.

  • Mario says:

    Sorry, does this list have to do with things I want to do financially before *kicking* the bucket?

    I have goals that I want to reach by the time I retire and some that I want to reach by the time I semi-retire. Hopefully I do not “kick the bucket” before then 🙂

  • We’re saving for retirement, trying to pay down the mortgage, and also I’m trying to start up a business after the pay for my last job went down the tubes. Difficult at the end of pregnancy with two other kids already underfoot, but hopefully, it will all work out!

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