MONEY matters

Mark Zaifman's thoughts on money, global economic trends and politics

How to Plan for Retirement Using the Power of Your Imagination

Mark Zaifman   |    Tue, Aug 02, 2011 @ 08:44 AM

plan for retirement using your imagination

When it comes to planning for retirement, there are several common sense steps one should consider.  Most financial planning websites list the steps and give timelines and details on how to approach them. Along with these guidelines many offer a retirement planning calculator tool to begin the journey.

The retirement calculator is not a bad place to start, but here’s the thing. Even though you can find the most awesome retirement calculator out there, that calculator will only offer you a number. And as important as that number is, the bigger question when it comes to retirement planning is the type of lifestyle you visualize for yourself and your life partner when that time arrives.

How do you envision your life 10 or 15 years from now? Where are you living? What are your hobbies, your activities? Is traveling in the picture? What’s providing you purpose in life? These and many more similar questions are what holistic financial planning is all about. I consider myself a holistic financial planner, so I’m not going to start with your numbers – I want to see the whole picture - your money and your life. I want to see you thinking creatively about your retirement, and for that, you’ll need to use your imagination.

End Result Thinking

I’ve been a goal setter for what feels like most of my life. A long time ago I learned one of the major secrets to manifesting your desires and reaching your goals is to have the ability and courage to put into practice what I call end result thinking.  By starting at the end and working forward, you start with where you want to be in the future - not where you are now.  End result thinking requires tapping into your imagination. It’s your imagination that provides a sneak preview to your future. Why not become the director of this movie called your life?

When it comes to using your imagination as a key to successful retirement planning, I’ve found that women in general are far better at it then men are. Over the years I have worked with many couples who have again and again proved my theory. As I guide them in securing a safe, abundant and worry-free retirement and ask them to describe how they envision their life 10-20 years from now, more often than not, women are able to describe in rich detail the life they imagine for themselves. That same question generally trips men up, as the response I very often hear is, I’ll play a lot of golf, which is neither a creative, fulfilling or very realistic answer for long-term success in retirement.

So as you continue to be inundated with retirement planning commercials that focus only on the ‘number’, go deeper and beyond that simple answer and begin imagining the life you desire when you’re retired - and play your sneak preview movie over and over and over.  By using our imaginations, we can visit the past, contemplate the present and anticipate and begin to create our future. Imagination is what sets human beings apart from every other species on earth.

Imagination photo by anniehp