For an expression that is now in common use, “bucket list” only appeared relatively recently. According to Slate, it originated in 2004, and then reached wider prominence after the release of the film of the same name three years later.
A bucket list is simply a list of experiences or achievements that you’d like to accomplish before you die. You might also refer to it as a “wish list”.
There are no hard and fast rules over what can be on your bucket list. Items can range from the extravagant to the mundane. Your list is unique to you and very much about your own personal choices or goals.
It’s likely that there may be a financial aspect to some of your goals – and it’s almost certain that you’ll need to take finance into account when it comes to ticking items off your list.
You’re making a list, you’re checking it twice
So, how do you go about making your bucket list?
It’s possible that you may already have some kind of list in place. When it comes to thinking about your retirement, for example, your thoughts will inevitably turn to some of the things you want to do when you finally stop work and have time to start enjoying yourself.
As I’ve already mentioned, your list is unique to you. However, one tip I would suggest is that you try to make it more about lived experiences than consumer purchases. Actual experiences can have a much longer-lasting value in terms of memories than buying something.
So, depending on your personal tastes, maybe “I want to visit Machu Pichu” ahead of “I want to buy a Porsche.”
You might also want to mix in some challenges that will give you a real sense of achievement – such as learning a new language or writing a book.
Ticking off the items on your bucket list
You’ll probably be able to fulfil some things on your list during your working life. There’s no reason at all why you have to wait until you’ve retired before doing certain things, especially if they require a level of fitness more likely when you’re young.
Others will clearly take more time and you may have to save money to be able to accomplish them. So, you’ll find that perhaps a career break or your retirement years could well be the best time for this.
Financial issues around your bucket list
You’ll be able to maximise your chances of getting things on your list done by incorporating them into your long-term financial plan.
You should start off with a rough outline of when you want to achieve certain things, and then work out an approximation of how much they will cost.
This will then help inform your investment and savings planning. You may well want to set up a totally separate investment fund devoted to bucket list items.
The sooner you start saving, the sooner your money can start working for you. Our old friends, compounding and dividends, will be two key allies when it comes to building your bucket-list fund, so you’ll want to get them working for you as quickly and for as long as possible.
It’s possible that you may have mentally earmarked some of any tax-free lump sum you may get from your pension fund for bucket-list purposes. While there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do this, you may want to consider building another pot of money alongside this for extra flexibility.
By investing your bucket-list fund effectively, and in a tax-efficient investment vehicle such as a Stocks and Shares ISA, you can maximise your chances of having enough to tick off even the most expensive items.
Financial-related issues that could be on your bucket list
Of course, your bucket list is personal to you. However, it would be remiss of me if I didn’t suggest some financial goals you might want to consider including on yours.
As well as being sensible goals, you may well find that being able to execute them will make it easier to fulfil other, more experience-related, items on your list.
Some financial bucket list items could include:
Unsecured debt can be a drain on your wealth. Clearing outstanding credit and store card borrowing will free up money you can then devote to your bucket-list savings pot.
Having an emergency fund in place
It’s important not to lose sight of important issues while you’re indulging in blue-sky thinking and putting your list together. Having an emergency fund in place can give you the peace of mind that you’ll be able to use your savings and investments for what you want, rather than for emergency items.
A rule-of-thumb is that your emergency fund should amount to between three and six months’ household net income.
Securing your retirement income
Ensuring you have the means in place to enjoy a comfortable and rewarding retirement should be one of your key financial priorities. You want to be in a position where you won’t be tempted to dip into your pension fund to realise some of the items of your list.
By focusing on getting those three items on your list ticked off, you’ll create the freedom to really enjoy your other aims – and make it more likely you’ll be able to.
Get in touch
If you want some guidance around the financial aspects of your bucket list, please get in touch. Call me on 07769 156 250.
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A pension is a long-term investment. The value of your investment (and any income from them) can go down as well as up which would have an impact on the level of pension benefits available.
Your pension income could also be affected by the interest rates at the time you take your benefits. The tax implications of pension withdrawals will be based on your individual circumstances. Levels, bases of and reliefs from taxation may change in subsequent Finance Acts.
The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax advice.