Knowing what you want your future to look like financially, then using that knowledge to make wise choices with your money aligned with your goals is critical to improve your finances.
“Create your future from your future.” – Natalie Bacon
This quote is one of my favorites. It applies to all facets of life, from career to relationships to personal finance.
It’s the act of knowing where you want to be in the future, and then working backward to set the goals and take the actions you need to get there. It’s similar in concept to creating a financial plan to get you from where your finances are today to where you want them to be in one, five, and ten years from now.
Improve Your Finances through Visualization not Manifestation
It’s also similar to the concept of visualization. However, visualizing desired outcomes is not a new. Athletes have been using it as a training strategy for decades, it’s taught in Psychology 101, and actors use it to get into character.
Don’t confuse visualization with the woo woo theory of manifestation. You can’t wish a positive financial future into place. You need to take the actions required to get there.
Two Letters To Your Future Self
A strategy I believe is consequential to aligning your financial trajectory with your goals is to write yourself two letters from your future self. One letter will be from the person you want to be. The other letter will be from a future self who failed to take action, was unable to budget, and continued to overspend and not save for retirement.
The letter from your future successful self should talk about the goals you have now. It should include the action steps you took to arrive at those goals, along with some of the failures you overcame and how you used them to propel yourself forward. Congratulate yourself on a job well done.
Include as much detail as possible. Some examples include
- the size of your house
- the neighborhood you live in
- your job title
- the name of your spouse
- how many children you have and their names
- the make and model of the car you drive
- what you do with your free time
The more details you have, the more real your vision will seem.
The letter from your future unsuccessful self should include what you wished you would have done differently, choices you made that you regretted but didn’t learn from, therefore you continued to repeat. Include all the same details as you did in the successful letter. You’ll find this letter to be much more potent than the successful letter. Hearing about how you are in the same position decades later is a motivator to implement change.
Tools To Keep You On Track
Make an appointment on your calendar periodically to read these letters. I suggest to read them at least every six months as a reminder of the path you want to follow. As your life circumstances change, consider rewriting your letter to incorporate new perspectives.
You can also use FutureMe to send the letter to yourself periodically. You’re able to customize the frequency of how often you want the letter delivered. If you’re brave, you can make the letter public. Make sure to use an email you will keep in the long term, so you don’t risk missing your letters.
Do you regularly practice visualization? Have you ever written a letter to your future self? Share your story in the comments below.