No matter your age, it’s never too early or too late to plan a financial bucket list. This doesn’t mean you have to die to realize these monetary dreams. You just have to start thinking about the most meaningful financial goals you would like to reach during your lifetime.
While these vary widely from one person to the next (do you really want to sell lemonade on the beach in Tahiti?), early planning is the key to successfully check off your bucket list successes. Many are easier to reach than you think. Here are a few suggestions that could brighten your future!
Pay Off Your Home
For most people, their monthly mortgage payment is the largest expense in the budget. It’s also usually the longest-term bill they will be paying for years to come, perhaps most of their adult life and working years. Imagine your budget without a house payment – sound too good to be true? Actually, you can knock off several years from your mortgage loan and enjoy the freedom of a reduced monthly budget in a few easy steps.
If you are married and both spouses earn incomes, live on one income and pay the other on the mortgage loan each month. Remember to pay extra (beyond what is mandatory for principal, escrow for taxes, and property insurance) on the principal balance, which will pay off the loan sooner and lower interest fees. If that is not possible, start paying all non-regular job income on the monthly payment, including tax returns, job bonuses, windfalls (like an inheritance or settlement), and second job earnings or sold household items. Even if you make just two extra house payments a year, that can remove five to seven years from a 30-year mortgage. Pay mortgage payments on time to avoid late fees and penalties. For motivation, imagine yourself writing that final payment and then removing that item from your monthly list of expenses…
Early retirement is becoming increasingly accessible for many Americans who invest in 401(k) plans, IRAs, and stock portfolios, among other options. By starting young, possibly even in your twenties or thirties, investment earnings can compound to earn more each year, bringing retirement ever closer. Consult a financial planner about prudent options that could help you leave a full-time job years ahead of your colleagues.
Take a World Tour
Okay, so you might not want to visit every country in the world, but plan a dream vacation to somewhere you’ve always wanted to see, whether a deserted beach or a teeming metropolis. Some eager travelers save spare change in a huge piggy bank to watch it grow. A creative couple put $20 away each time they refrained from going out to dinner. Within a few years’ time, they were jetting off to their longed-for destination. Sponsor an annual yard sale, sell vintage keepsakes from the attic, or start a dog-walking service to save money for your exciting trip.
Make a Mega-Donation to Your Favorite Charity
If you want to leave a lasting legacy to a cause you believe in, you could make small donations regularly now that will add up over time. Eventually you’ll be recognized as a long-term, faithful supporter in their hall of fame (whatever form that might take), the organization’s newsletter, or at the annual banquet. On a larger scale, if you donate a hefty sum, you might merit a plaque or more tangible form of recognition for your generosity in a public way.
The common denominator in all these dreams is that you can start today to make them come true. Earning or saving a few dollars here and there can lead you on the path to one or all of your bucket list goals!