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How to Build a Bucket List

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  BonnieB's Photo
Posted May 12 2010 01:50 PM

Like the advice for brainstorming sessions, don’t hold back. Your first pass at a bucket list can contain every dream you have a hankering for—no matter how far-fetched. If you dream of owning an island, add it to the list. Sure, chances are the whole enchilada may be out of reach financially. If it is, you can do what professional financial planners do and come up with an optimistic list, a pessimistic one, and the one that’s most likely to pan out. By coming up with alternatives for each of your goals, you can build a list that’s within your means—even if it doesn’t have everything you want. If the island scenario has to be beached, you can add a bungalow in the Florida Keys as a backup. Your pessimistic goal could be a week with Aunt Birdy at her condo in Boca.

Multiple versions of each of your goals take some of the pressure off. If you begin to chafe at the sacrifices you have to make to reach all your number-1 goals, switch some goals out for those on your B-list. Dream versions also make it easier to prioritize multiple goals. If you don’t see a way to get your first picks, you can keep your highest priority ideal goals and back off on the ones that aren’t as important.

To build your plan, your goals need to include rough time constraints and estimated price tags. Describe your goals in as much detail as you can envision. If you can practically see them, feel them, and taste them, you’re more likely to stick to your plan to reach them. The rest of this chapter shows you how.

If you have trouble getting the ball rolling, ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • Where do you want to live? Do you want to be near family or as far away as possible?
  • What’s an ideal day in retirement look like? How about an average day?
  • Do you want to work or volunteer with a charity?
  • Do you want to travel?
  • Do you want to pursue your current hobbies in retirement?
  • What new hobbies do you want to take up?
  • What do you wish you had time for now?


Personal Investing: The Missing Manual

Learn more about this topic from Personal Investing: The Missing Manual.

Take control of your funds with Personal Investing: The Missing Manual. This lively and easy-to-understand guide provides the confidence, tools, and insight you need to evaluate and invest in financial products that target success over the long term. You'll learn how to set goals and research the types of investments -- mutual funds, stocks, bonds, and other financial products -- that can best help you achieve them.

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