I recently came across an interesting tool to empower individuals to better reach their goals. That tool is a vision board. A vision board is a poster where you post your goals or dreams. You can post words or images. By seeing your goals every day, they are always going to be on your mind. This allows your mind to keep processing ways to make these goals a reality in your life. The daily reminder of your dreams is a powerful tool to keep you motivated.
When I read about a vision board, I thought this is an ideal tool to use to reach goals tied to personal finance. It can be used at any stage of where you might be on the journey toward financial independence. It can be used as a motivator to get you started, to overcome a hurdle, or to make the last push to reach FIRE.
Start by brainstorming. This is an exercise of writing all your words down on paper. If you are new to getting your personal finance in order, you might want to start with some of these words or phrases: debt, budget, savings, spending, investing, credit cards, down payment for a house, student loans, emergency fund, mutual funds, and others. If you have been actively involved in managing your personal finances for some time, you might consider words or phrases like: maxing out 401K, Roth IRA, HSA, writing a will, asset allocation, paying off mortgage, 529 plan, term life insurance, early retirement, as well as other words that meet your individual goals.
The next step is to find images that best represent your goals. Take the list of words that you have written down and type them one at a time into Google. Search under images. When you find the best images that capture the essence of your dreams, print them out. Google will provide you with many images, so be sure to select the ones that you feel will best inspire you. Do this for all the words on your list.
After you have your images, you are going to need some materials. You will need a poster board, tape, glue, markers, and scissors. You might have some of these supplies. If you need them, go to your local hobby store or online at Amazon to buy the supplies you need.
The next step is to make a collage out of your images. Since your vision board is based on financial goals, you can design it in a progressive manner. By adding structure, you can better monitor progress. For example: pay off credit card debt, create an emergency fund, open a Roth IRA, and whatever follows based on your dreams.
After you glue or paste your images to the vision board, take some time to identify the words that best represent the image. Print these words under the image that is attached to the vision board. If possible, use verbs. By using an action word or phrase, the vision board is reinforcing what you need to do to reach your dreams. For example, don’t just use the word “debt”. Instead, try the phrase “pay off credit card debt”. By being more specific, you can have an exact objective.
Actively use your vision board. Whenever you walk past your vision board, stop for a few seconds and ponder it. Think about what you have achieved and use that as a reminder of what is possible. Be mindful of what you are working on and focus on being present. Identify what you want to achieve and what your next actions will be.
Where should a vision board be located? It should be visible. It should be in a location that you will be sure to see it at least twice per day. A good place for it might be next to your bed. By having it in your bedroom you can review it upon waking in the morning and before you retire in the evening.
I will admit to you that I am not one for new age gimmicks. I am, however, a very visual person. For example, on my vision board, I have very specific actions that I visually see myself doing. My vision board has both short, mid-term, and long-term goals. My short-term goal is to create a new budget and evaluate it twice per year when I evaluate our asset allocation. My mid-term goal is to increase our savings rate by 1% per year until we reach retirement. My long-term goal is to buy a house on a lake for our retirement house.
Have you ever created a vision or dream board? Did it help to motivate you or to empower you to strive for your dreams? Please share your experience in the comment section.
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