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How positive visualisation can help with financial planning

Sports psychologists know that positive visualisation helps athletes win. The idea is that by mentally rehearsing a detailed scenario in which you perform at your absolute best, you are more likely to be able to repeat this in your physical performance on the day. The power of the mind can actually help the body to do what it needs to do to win.

Over 50s couple sitting with financial adviser

But even if you’re not an Olympian or a Premiership footballer, you can still use the positive visualisation method to great effect in your everyday life. Just picturing yourself achieving goals can give you the focus needed to turn it into reality. This can be especially useful when it comes to your finances.

Positive visualisation and your finances

Wealth manager Brewin Dolphin recently asked 500 people to write a letter to their future selves imagining their ideal lives. It also commissioned a survey of 2,000 UK adults to find out what sort of wellbeing and life goals are important to the average person. This research revealed a “fundamental disconnect between the lives people aspire to, and their lives now”.

It found that most people had a good idea of what they wanted in life, typically things like a healthy and active life into old age, and to spend time with family. Travelling and seeing the world was an important ambition for about two in five. A better work/life balance was key for 20% of people.

Setting goals is key to financial planning

In terms of financial goals, there was much less certainty. Around one in five people said they had no goals whatsoever. Among those that did, the most popular financial aims were to save for a rainy day, earn more, save for a specific event or special occasion, pay down debt, buy a property or pay off a mortgage.

But of those who did have a goal in mind, 20% admitted that they did not have a strategy to achieve it. Part of the problem is that not many of us are used to thinking so far ahead, rather, we prefer to live in the moment.

In fact, more than half of people plan their lives only days or weeks ahead. Only 4% said they were planning for future decades, which is perhaps why only 11% of UK adults with life goals know how they will achieve them.

There is a particular disconnect between people’s optimism about their future financial security and the reality. Brewin Dolphin’s research has found that people underestimate the required size of their pension pots by up to £550,000.

Discipline is at the heart of good planning

To turn your financial dreams into reality, you need a combination of positive visualisation and discipline. Writing a letter to your future self could focus your mind and make you realise what’s important to you in life. Then you need to work backwards from that goal to plan what you need to do to achieve it.

For example, making sacrifices today so you can invest more in a pension could pay off hugely years down the line and give you that comfortable retirement you want. Maybe you could get closer to your dream of better financial security for your family by investing into Junior ISAs for your kids, or working with your partner to pay down debt or reduce your mortgage.

If you’re struggling to see the big picture or imagine what your later years will look like, even thinking five or ten years ahead is a good start. Talk to your friends and family, bounce ideas off them and see what their future priorities are compared to yours. You could also consider speaking to a professional financial adviser who will be able to see more clearly what action you could take now to achieve your long-term goals.

Written by Hannah Smith – Financial Journalist


Note: Whilst we take care to ensure Talking Finance content is accurate at the time of publication, individual circumstances can differ so please don’t rely on it when making financial decision. The opinions expressed within this blog are those of the author and not necessarily of OneFamily.