How do you envision yourself in the coming year, five years down the road, or even two decades from now?

The challenge with setting goals, particularly financial ones, lies in our limited ability to picture our future selves accurately. Reflect on the aspirations you had as a child about adulthood; chances are, there’s quite a gap between those dreams and your current reality.

When we discuss financial objectives, we often deal with long time horizons. Consider retirement, for instance, which could be two or three decades away. It’s challenging to fathom yourself at that age, let alone plan for it. That’s more for your parents, not your immediate concern.

We tend to treat our children similarly. When my first daughter was born, the thought of university was the furthest thing from my mind. However, by the time our second child came along, then school, and high school, I had a clear understanding of how swiftly the years could slip by.

As we contemplate our distant future selves, it’s all too easy to rationalise doing nothing, we are all busy and life just gets in the way. Thinking about our future selves can often seem annoying and easier just to put in the too hard basket.

Nevertheless, despite the inconvenience our future selves may impose, it’s crucial to recognise that catering to their needs is still very much in our best interest.

So, what’s the remedy?

To begin, we must gain a deep understanding of our objectives, and what will motivate us to start now. You don’t need to pinpoint the exact university your first grader will attend or precisely what the tuition will cost. However, don’t make the mistake of believing that 18 years is an eternity. It’s not, so it’s wise to commence saving now.

You might still feel like you’re in your thirties, but if you’ve recently marked your fortieth or fiftieth birthday, it’s time to get real. Our future selves will arrive sooner than we anticipate. Remember all the recklessness of your teenage years? Don’t be the 60-year-old who wishes they could give their 30-something self a reality check and kick up the backside for not being clear on their financial goals and get going. You can’t change the past, but you can start today and the first step is always the hardest!

And for something cool to watch to help get you going, check out Denzel Washington’s video on dreams and motivation here


Article by Marc Bineham – Money coach, speaker and award-winning author of The Money Sandwich