Many people have what we call a bucket list: goals and benchmarks about what they want to do with their lives. Sometimes this means places they want to travel or experiences they wish to have, like swimming in a shark tank. But often times the means to achieve these goals isn’t explicitly stated. The truth of the matter is that money is necessary to achieve these goals and other goals that you might not be thinking about. How do you plan for your dreams but still live the life you want to have now?

The first thing to do is to create a detailed plan of what you see for your future. In order to determine how to get to your end goal, we need to find out what that really looks like. Do you want a condo in the  city and a beach house? A yacht and a mountain home? In order to successfully plan for the future, a clear idea of the direction you’re heading needs to be in place. You wouldn’t want to start on a cross country road trip by winging it. Of course not, you might think you’re heading to New York and end up in Maryland. Instead, you’d have a road map and itinerary to ensure that you reached your final destination.

With the what in place, it’s important to figure out the how. Of course a yacht sounds lovely, but is it something that is feasible for your finances? This is where talking to your financial planner or advisor is crucial. They’ll be able to help assess your current financial state and the best way to plan for the future and your dreams. However, often times people come to me and say that they want to be debt-free by a certain age, but sometimes that’s not in their best interest. Take the couple I met back in the nineties who had about ten million dollars of real estate from which they were getting dependable rental income cash flow. They lived pretty simple lives and weren’t outlandish in their spending. But there was an unanticipated change in the economy in their area, and all of a sudden there were vacancies in their buildings, which meant that their cash flow suddenly shrank. Even though they owned all of their real estate free and clear, without debt, instead of it making positive cash flow, they were now paying for their holdings out of pocket. Why? They still had to pay for maintenance, real estate taxes, and other operational expenses, all of which cut deeply into their income just as they were approaching retirement age.

In order to create a bucket list that best suits your life, you’ll need to come up with a detailed plan and way to achieve that goal, which may not be the route you’d think to take. For more information about seeing your bucket list into fruition, visit