I Lived...

Carolanne M. Chavanne, CFP

Don't Miss our SAVE THE DATE  in the News and Upcoming Events Section

In the song, I Lived, One Republic sings about a life that we can all look back on with pride, declaring, “I did it all.  I owned every second this world could give. I saw so many places, the things that I did.” They also suggest that “...when that sun goes down, I hope you raise your cup”. In other words,  enjoy a life lived to the fullest, with few, if any, regrets.

Living life to the fullest takes on different meanings for different people. For some, it may mean white-sand beaches, majestic peaks, or treks to remote areas across the world. For others, it’s spending more time with friends and family, or possibly buying that cabin on the lake, or touring the country in an RV.  So, it comes as no surprise that many of our clients name travel as the one thing to which they’re most looking forward in retirement. It’s also why we always make travel a separate line item in our clients’ retirement goals.

The pandemic gave many of us time to reflect on many things, including those retirement goals. We now see people starting to re-evaluate dreams, choices, and even their life’s purpose. Bucket lists are becoming more than a collection of places to see or things to do; they’re evolving into building blocks for family legacies.  There seems to be a desire by many to seek enjoyment now, rather than waiting for retirement to check off the boxes of what we hope to do. Instead of a narrow focus on retirement planning, the new strategy is to develop a life plan with items that can be acted on beginning today.  

In a practical sense, our goals, or bucket list, provide focus. But, on a deeper level, a life plan provides direction and a sense of accomplishment that can be life-affirming, with an enhanced sense of happiness and inner contentment.

Here are five tips to help you make your dreams become a reality:

1. How to start    

The first step is to set aside some time to think about your life and accomplishments. Then, on a notepad or your personal computer, write down all of your goals and dreams - nothing is too big or too small.  Putting your bucket list down on paper is a great way to make your hopes and dreams a little more tangible; it can really provide extra motivation to make those things happen when you see them in black and white.

Consider asking a series of questions when planning your list: What is my mission? Is it simply to have fun? To spend time with loved ones? To learn about history or a geographic location? The answers will show the depth and meaning of the activity within your own life and predict its impact on others. Studies have shown that some of the most meaningful pursuits in life, those that bring great satisfaction and joy, come from activities that are being done for the benefit of others. Being mindful of our purpose and our legacy enables us to see ourselves as part of a bigger picture that extends beyond our own lifetime.

Then, ask yourself the tougher and more specific questions: What do you want your legacy to be? Do you want to travel? How about helping the grandkids with funding their education?  Do you want to buy that convertible you’ve been eyeing for years? What about volunteering in your community?  The answers to these questions often become the items on your life’s bucket list.

2. Where to find inspiration

If you’re looking for inspiration, Bucketlist.org is a good place to go. You can explore over five million ideas posted on the free site - and create and track your own goals.  You can find ideas in plenty of other places, too. Check out magazines and internet “best” lists, such as best small towns in America, and books with titles like 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.

Bucket lists often are travel-heavy, but remember, they should be much more than just travel itineraries.  Some of our clients’ goals also include buying a vacation home to spend more time with children and grandchildren or establishing a donor-advised fund to address philanthropic goals. They may also include professional or developmental goals, such as starting a business, running a marathon, or learning a second language.

3. Organizing your list 

Now, it’s time to break your list up into digestible chunks. First, try separating your goals by category: travel, professional, educational, etc. Another way is to sort the list by time – goals by year or season, or goals to achieve before reaching a certain age.

Next, prioritize each category. Ask yourself which goal is most important, what excites you the most, or possibly even which goal can be most easily accomplished (just to get yourself started). The answers may change over time, so it is important to keep your list updated. Remember, the answers will show the depth and meaning of activities within your life and predict their impact on others.

4. Achieving your goals 

Not all of your goals need to be lofty. It might be best to start small with easily reachable targets. The satisfaction of attaining these will help motivate you toward loftier goals. Plan how to reach your first one: When should you do it? What are the logistics? Do you want to do it alone or with someone? Consider a step process. For example, say you want to visit the Coliseum in Rome. A first step would be to get or update your passport; next, book a flight and fly to Italy; then, once you arrive in Rome, book a Coliseum tour.

5. Making your list real 

If it all seems too abstract, try documenting your journey through life. Write about achievements in a journal or create a map to mark places you have visited. Make it fun for you, your family, and your friends to follow.

Creating your own list of dreams and goals for the future is important, but without careful and proper planning, they may be a challenge to achieve.  We are here to help with the process.  I invite you to set up a meeting to review your list together and create a plan that will help make your dreams come true.

News and Upcoming Events:  Save the Date!

Client Appreciation Events are returning!

October 14, 2021 - III Forks Restaurant -  Frisco, Texas 

November 11, 2021 - Tin Roof Bistro - Manhattan Beach, California

Details will be provided as they become available. We look forward to reconnecting with old friends over some delicious food and tasty beverages. Hope to see you there!

August 26 - Coffee with Carolanne #3

Speaking of talking in a relaxed and fun setting, we hope you can join us for the next “Coffee with Carolanne” coming up on August 26th.  Our guest speaker will be Jane Beseda, former Toyota Group Vice President. Jane will be sharing her experiences in retirement, including some of the highlights from own her bucket list. Please keep in mind that these events, which are scheduled every other month on the 4th Thursday, tend to fill up quickly. Attendance will again be limited to 15 people so that we have time to interact with each other. So, if you are interested in joining us, be on the lookout for updates. 

Finally, I wanted to send out a quick “Thank You” to Tim Morrison for his help in leading a great discussion at the recent Coffee with Carolanne event in June. Also, thank you to everyone who attended. I appreciate your participation and feedback.

Financial Planning Articles of Interest

New Trend in Travel: Voluntourism
Where Does the Travel Industry Stand as Summer Kicks-off
Try One of These Luxury Food & Wine Tours for Your First Post-COVID Getaway

I hope you enjoy the positive changes that come with a post-pandemic world. This summer feels like it should be a time of real celebration with family and friends, a time to make up for what we lost in most of last year and earlier this year.   I’d love to hear what’s on your bucket list if you’re interested in sharing. We will create a feature highlighting items on our various readers' lists – names optional – and publish them in a future newsletter. Most importantly, stay safe and healthy, and keep in touch.

Cheers to living!



By Carolanne M. Chavanne, CFP

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