We’ve all got all sorts of financial goals and plans for the longer-term, but these often get put on the back burner because we don’t quite know how to achieve them – or because we get bogged down in day-to-day living. Dreams and aspirations are important in all areas of our life. And most of these are connected to your finances in some way, as you will need money in order to turn them into reality.
While you might be familiar with the idea of writing down your goals down on paper, you might not have given much thought to having a visual representation of them. But being able to see your targets in a ‘tangible’ way can potentially make it easier to accomplish them. The focus here is on visualising what you want out of life – and how much money you need to make that happen.
What is a vision board?
A vision board is a compilation of images, phrases and quotes that act as a positive reminder of what you want to achieve in your future. The idea is, by creating a board and picture yourself fulfilling your goals, then – eventually – this will happen.
In more practical terms, having a money vision board can help you work out how and where to build your wealth to reach those targets. Not only can these boards be a source of inspiration, they are also often a motivational tool that many successful people swear by.
What to include
Your financial goals could take any form. The key is to define them. This could be, for example, taking the first step onto the property ladder, boosting your pension contributions, starting to invest, or carrying out some inheritance planning.
Alternatively, it might be that you want to increase your earnings, or maybe you are looking to save hard for a new car, dream wedding, or the holiday of a lifetime.
No matter what your goals look like, all of these things can be displayed on your vision board.
The aim is to create your ‘future life’ – and to have the tools to help you get there.
Make use of charts and graphs
Charts and other graphics can make a useful addition to any vision board. This could be something like a ‘savings thermometer’ which tracks your progress as you squirrel money away. The idea is to create a physical representation of whatever it is you want to accomplish.
A vision board can be a really integral tool in your financial planning. After all, this isn’t just about money; it’s about creating a plan for your life. As part of this, you may want to speak to an adviser, to talk through the personal goals you want to set – and how you are going to reach them. To read more about finding an adviser head here.
One of the key stages of visualisation is positive action – and this means putting things into practice.
This is likely to be a combination of longer-term ambitions as well as goals you’d like to achieve in the near future, too.
Measuring your progress
The key to a successful money vision board is aligning it with your action plan. This means having clarity about what you are aiming for, as vague goals without defined steps or deadlines can be easily forgotten or set aside.
A helpful approach may be what are known as SMART goals – ones which are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.
By setting this type of clearly defined goal, you can look at your targets and easily know where the finish lines are located, and when you need to reach them. You might, for example, want to save £1,000 or £5,000 – or even £10,000 – over the next 12 months. Or you may feel you have too much in cash so are now considering investing in the stock market in search of higher returns.
You might decide that by Christmas, you will have set up your first set of investments protected by a tax wrapper such as an ISA or SIPP. Alternatively, you may want to set yourself the goal of having increased your pension contributions by 3pc (on top of the 8pc minimum auto-enrolment contributions) by your next birthday.
How to make a vision board
Once you’ve invested in a corkboard or similar, see if you’ve got any useful bits and pieces lying around at home, such as magazines and photos that you can cut up and arrange in a collage. You might also want to print out some inspirational quotes.
Armed with your resources, this is the time to get to work with the scissors and glue. Equally, if this isn’t quite your bag, you might want to think about creating a ‘digital’ vision board instead. You can find plenty of tools online to help you make a digital collage.
Where to put it
Once you’re happy with your creation, you need to find a place to put it. There’s no point hiding your vision board away in the back of a cupboard. Out of sight can mean out of mind, making it all-too-easy to give in to the temptation – perhaps to impulse spend when you’re supposed to be saving, or to put off increasing your pension contributions.
Make sure your board is located in a prominent place so you can spend time focusing on it and imagining those picture dreams. This could, for example, be the wall beside your bed, or above the kitchen table.
Let it act as a daily reminder of why you are working hard – and what you are working towards.
Review your vision board
Rather than view your vision board as a ‘finished product,’ see it more as a ‘work in progress.’ Don’t be afraid of adding post-it notes with new steps to take, or new deadlines to meet.
Your board needs to be something you can revisit at regular intervals. That way, you can see how you are getting on with working towards your targets.
Once you’ve achieved a goal, come up with new ones to challenge yourself further. But don’t remove any words or images, as these milestones can act as a powerful reminder of what you’ve already accomplished – and what you are capable of achieving in the future.
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