Retirement Planning Strategies July 2018

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JULY 2018

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Don’t Stop Dreaming

THE POWER OF MAGICAL EXPERIENCES

Ask any 18-year-old what their dreams are, and you’ll likely get a laundry list of life events. They might tell you that they hope to start a career in their preferred field, get married, have children, buy a home, etc. Do you notice something interesting about these dreams? There’s a good chance they will be fulfilled in the next few chapters of their life. It’s as if dreaming happens predominantly in your childhood and early 20s, and fulfilment of those dreams comes a decade or two later. But then what? Why aren’t we dreaming and setting goals as we grow older? I can’t help but wonder why this pattern repeats itself so frequently. Is it because life takes over at some point, forcing us to focus on our daily needs and what we’re supposed to do? Or is because we rarely encounter or discuss our dreams as we enter the later stages of adulthood? Whatever the case, I think it’s high time we took a look at the importance of dreams and special moments throughout our lives. Dreaming shouldn’t have an expiration date. Having aspirations is crucial to keeping our lives exciting and breaking up the monotony of the daily grind. As we get older, our dreams may change in form

and content, but we should still have them. Maybe you’ve always wanted to travel to a particular destination. Perhaps there’s something you’ve always wanted to learn but haven’t had the time. These are the types of desires and goals that can be perfect fodder for later-life dreams. WHEN WE’RE NO LONGER FULL OF YOUTHFUL VIGOR, IT’S EASY TO START THINKING OF LIFE AS SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS TO US RATHER THAN SOMETHING WE CREATE FOR OURSELVES. I recently read a great book by Chip and Dan Heath called “The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact.” In the book, the authors discuss what makes particular moments in our lives indelible and why those moments are crucial to our development. “Defining moments shape our lives, but we don’t have to wait for them to happen,” the Heaths write. “We can be authors of them.”

As I read the book, I couldn’t help but think of the difficulty many people have in chasing these unforgettable experiences. When we’re no longer full of youthful vigor, it’s easy to start thinking of life as something that happens to us rather than something we create for ourselves. Last month, I talked about the difficulty in transitioning from saving for your retirement to beginning to get a return on it. In some sense, authorship of special moments is part of this return. If you’re not willing to pursue your dreams, how can you expect them to come to fruition? Amazing experiences don’t have an expiration date because we’re changing, growing, and learning all the time. The only thing that prevents us from making new discoveries and creating new memories is ourselves. We’ve been conditioned to believe that dreaming is for the young, but it doesn’t have to be this way. With that said, I have a question for you. What are you dreaming about right now? Once you have an answer, don’t stop yourself from experiencing that dream. Amazing life experiences can happen at any age. You just have to be willing to seek them out. –Ann Vanderslice

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