Financial planning is the traditional method used to determine one's monetary situation and plan accordingly for the future. However a new style of planning is beginning to take root, most often referred to as life planning. Where financial planning takes a traditional, one might say conservative and boring approach to finances, life planning takes a more active and varied approach.
Not solely content to ensure you're adequately prepared for retirement, life planning is devised to let you live out your dreams, both now and in the future. After all, while ensuring you have a proper fund set aside for the future is important, living for the present is also just as important. Financial planning too often leaves us with nothing to look forward to but that distant future, while life planning is about a total approach or change to one's lifestyle that brings positivity for the both the present and future.
Life planning as a concept has only gained prominence recently, and is believed to have been developed by the baby boomers, those fun-loving, free-wheeling hippies who had a connection to spirituality and creativity that has been somewhat lost since. Those same free-spirits are now cooped up in offices across America, nearing the age when they can finally get out of that grind and get back to something more surreal. Where life planning truly differs though is that many aim to escape the grind much earlier than traditional retirement plans would allow.
To these people, the end result is about much less than how much money one had or many expensive gadgets and gizmos, but instead about who gained the most out of their experiences. This is an immeasurable value that is uniquely defined by each person.
Retirement is less about reaching the end of the line and living it up, and more about continuing to live on, doing something one always had a connection with or dream of doing. The creativity they had in their younger years is what is most often cited as a prime motivator, be it becoming an artist, poet or author. Even something as simple as a cabin in the woods with a nice little stream gurgling nearby.
Like traditional retirement plans, these ideals do require money as well, and there's only so far that money can stretch, depending on the funding needing for one's ambitions. For many this may require a change in lifestyle fixing poor credit options and the foregoing of present day amenities. Sure you could always work harder, but that goes against the philosophy of the life you're trying to live. Instead trade in that high priced house or car and live with something more modest. Give up the expensive trips and exotic meals at expensive restaurants.
The trade-off of being able to reach one's dreams at an earlier age is worth it for many Americans, and is being seen in increasing numbers across the country. Taking a cut in pay and financial freedom to live the way one wants to do, doing something they love is a reward that few experience.
So instead of planning for the future, why not plan for the present? Your dreams don't need to wait until your 65 and past your prime. They can be enjoyed as soon as you want to, as soon as you're willing to let yourself do so. With a little planning, making the transition from 10-15 more years of repetitive, soul-sucking work for the benefit of a few good waning years to living your dream now instead really is easier than you may think. It's all up to you and how you want to live your life.
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