By Angela Dorsey
Henry David Thoreau said, “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” While your life is more than money, it is necessary to help create the life you want to live. As a financial advisor, my job is to help clients create a financial plan for their future through managing their wealth; but this becomes irrelevant if they aren’t able to fully experience life in the present.
So, what does it look like to improve your day-to-day life? It requires creating balance and structure. You can plan and prepare for your long-term goals, such as retirement, while also enjoying your everyday life now. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, so we might as well live to the fullest today and not let the present moment pass us by.
At Dorsey Wealth Management, we help our clients find a balance between working toward their retirement dreams and living them out now. How is this possible, you might ask? Keep reading for some tips on how to get started.
What Do You Want Your Life to Look Like?
Financial conversations can often be left-brain dominant. But since money impacts every area of your life, it’s critical that financial discussions also include your hopes and dreams for life. That means we need to dig into the emotional side of our thinking.
One simple way we can do this is by asking our clients specific questions about what their retirement goals look like:
- Tangible goals: What would you like to have?
- Conceptual goals: What would you like your life to be like?
- Freedom goals: What would you like to be able to do?
Principle in Action
Many people don’t even know where to begin when faced with the above questions and will sometimes provide a surface-level answer such as “I’d like to travel” or “I’d like to spend more time with family.” These are great starts, but it may take some time to truly uncover what’s most important to you. That’s okay, even if you don’t know exactly what you want, there are ways to take practical steps toward leading a happier, more fulfilled life now.
1. Have a Holistic Outlook
It’s no secret that money can buy comfort and less stress. But can money buy you happiness? The answer: to an extent. Researchers have found that increased income is associated with increased levels of happiness and life satisfaction up to a point—$105,000 to be exact. (1) Beyond that threshold, happiness levels plateau and additional increases in income result in negligible changes in happiness.
Instead of focusing on the ultimate retirement dream (e.g., a certain amount of money in the bank, or a specific car or household item), try focusing on what you do have and live in the moment as much as possible. Practicing meditation or mindfulness can have significant impacts on your overall sense of happiness and well-being, (2) and letting go of expectations of what your life should look like can be a great first step in living your retirement dream now.
2. Set Sub-Goals
If your dreams are more on the tangible side, that’s great too. To help with these goals, try setting smaller sub-goals that can be achieved more quickly than the ultimate retirement dream. For instance, if your retirement dream consists of retiring to a condo on a beach in South Florida, maybe set a sub-goal of vacationing in South Florida first. Taking that trip could inspire you even more to make your ultimate dream a reality while also allowing you to live your dream in the moment as well.
3. Find Purpose
Studies show that individuals who live a purpose-driven life are happier and healthier on average than those who don’t. (3) Not only that, they also live longer! (4) A purposeful life is commonly associated with fulfillment and motivation, and can be found in many ways. Volunteering for a local nonprofit or church, spending time with your children, or pursuing a newfound hobby are great ways to find purpose in your day-to-day life.
4. Prioritize Family & Friends
This one sounds obvious, but it’s often one of the hardest things to do. Life gets in the way and before you know it, you’ve spent a whole month getting stuff done but not really spending any true quality time with the people who matter most. Living your retirement dream now often comes in the form of just slowing down for a moment—realizing that although the laundry list of stuff to buy, deadlines to meet, and things to do is important, so is connecting with and learning from those around you.
The great news is that you don’t have to wait until retirement. You can start setting aside time every week to check in with your loved ones and find meaningful ways to connect. You might just find that in doing so, your to-do list becomes a little lighter and maybe even easier to accomplish.
Get Started Today
Are you surprised to learn that some of your retirement goals can be accomplished sooner rather than later? It’s not too late to start preparing for the retirement of your dreams. By implementing some of these action steps, you will be well on your way to reaching your financial goals.
We at Dorsey Wealth Management are here to celebrate your successes and help you conquer challenges so you can start living your retirement dream in style now. If you’re currently a client, you can reach us at (310) 370-7776 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we can structure your financial plan so you’re on track to reach your retirement goals. If you are not a client and would like to learn more about what “retiring to a life you love” could look like for you, schedule a free introductory 30-minute phone call to get started today!
Angela Dorsey is the founder and fiduciary financial advisor at Dorsey Wealth Management, a fee-only financial planning firm helping successful women and couples prepare for retirement. Angela earned a BS in computer science from Loyola Marymount University, an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management, and spent 20 years as a Senior Compensation Specialist in large corporations before becoming a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) and a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). That background gave her the tools to couple with her passion for empowering women to make the best financial decisions possible. Angela lives in Torrance, California, with her husband. She enjoys spending time at the beach or surrounded by nature. To learn more about Angela, connect with her on LinkedIn.