“Where do you see yourself in five years?” “How about in 10?”

These were always the sorts of questions that I dreaded, the ones that scared the hell out of me in job interviews. And I always admire those who have mapped out their goals and seem to know how it will all play out. I can’t always picture it.

One thing’s for sure – we will all want our finances to be in better shape than they are today. If running our money is like running a bath, we want to make sure that it’s filling up, not draining.  

Can you see yourself enjoying that bath? Seeing future versions of ourselves is tough, which makes saving and investing for the future all the more difficult. It’s like giving away money to someone you don’t know! Researchers have had some success in helping people make more future-oriented choices when they are able to interact with computer-generated images of their older selves.

Setting goals and working towards them also helps you focus on the future. But for those of us who have difficulty seeing it, I’ve often found it easier to visualise the process of getting there. This has been particularly helpful when I’m preparing to give a seminar or perform my music – it’s like rehearsing in my mind. Not so much fantasising about enjoying that bath, but rather on visualising the bath not leaking and steadily filling up.

Sorted’s net worth calculator helps you see the future, too – 5 and 15 years ahead, to be precise. One of my favourite things about it is a tiny tick box marked ‘Plan for future years’. Ticking it lets you figure out what financial shape you’ll be in down the line. And if you play with the numbers a bit, you can see where setting aside your dollars today will help your future self (and of course those around you) the most.

Even if you have difficulty picturing yourself so many years on.

 

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