How to Envision Your Retirement (Even If It’s Years Away)

It’s time to create a retirement vision board.

Any fan of vision boarding knows the power of physically manifesting your goals and dreams. Even someone who’s never made a vision board can agree that seeing what you want written, drawn, or depicted in some tangible way in front of you makes that want more real—and even accessible. There’s more to getting motivated to plan for retirement than some vision boarding, of course, but when you’re struggling, some physical encouragement might be just the thing you need. Envisioning your retirement clearly—what it will look like, how it will feel, and what number will get you there—can connect you to what you want in your future and encourage you to make a plan to get there.

Of course, a retirement vision board won’t make the impossible a realistic future for you. You’ll have to put in hard work, patience, and discipline to make your retirement a reality—but that vision board can help you get there. Read on to learn how to make your very own retirement vision board.

1. Find your finish line

Many people rightfully think of retirement as a sort of finish line: It’s what waits at the end of your work race, so to speak. To start crafting your vision for your retirement, start by imagining that finish line. Are there roadblocks that can slow or derail your path, such as having to care for your parents at some point? Are there any financial secrets hidden in your family that you can plan around, to ensure the path to your finish line is clear? Once you know that you can see that finish line—even if it’s far, far away—you can start envisioning what your retirement will look like once you reach it.

2. Imagine your dream retirement

Take some time to describe what your retirement looks like. Put in the effort to make it real—where do you see yourself? What do you feel? Who is with you? You can write, draw, or record yourself talking about this vision. Just make sure it feels real, and it’s somewhere you can refer back to it.

3. Get specific

Now for the nitty-gritty: Do you plan to have an immediate retirement, where you stop working cold turkey? Do you want a phased-out retirement, where you work part-time for a few months or years? Some surprise details might come up as you’re envisioning your dream retirement scene, but make sure to include them in your notes.

4. Talk numbers

Next, do a little research to find out how much you’ll need to save in order to live your retirement dream. If you’ve ever worked with a financial planner, they may have given you a number; you can also do a little number crunching by calculating how much money you think you’ll need each year to be comfortable, then multiplying that by the number of years you expect to be retired. (Be sure to pad the final number to account for extra time and medical needs.) Write that final number down.

If retirement is a long way off, determine how much you want saved by a certain age—say, 40 or 50—and use that as your vision board number. You can always adjust as you reach or pass this goal.

5. Get crafty

Finally, create your board. You want something that includes your number and some visual depiction of your retirement. This could be a virtual collage, a paper you’ve drawn on, a page in your journal, or anything else you can look at and feel motivated by. (One genius idea: Create a fake bank statement showing how much money you want saved.)

When creating your board, use strong, current language. Make the dream on the board feel true. And then hang your board somewhere you’ll see it every day—or hang several around your space—to make working toward your vision for retirement something that’s always on your mind.

To read the full article, click here.