Will you complete your bucket list?

16th January 2018

The Author: David Cooper
Financial strategist, investment adviser and Sales Director for United Advisers

Do you have a bucket list and, if you do, what’s on it?

Everyday use of ‘bucket list’ these days is a popular expression coined for a list of things you want to do someday, although the term was originally used in a completely different context.

Before 2006 a ‘bucket list’ was the result of running an algorithm on a computer to sort items numerically or alphabetically; a ‘Bucket Sort’.  But, in 2006 UPI Newswire announced the film “The Bucket List”, released in December 2007 starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, and defined a new meaning for the phrase;

“…two terminally ill men make a wish list of things they want to do before they kick the bucket – called the bucket list…

The film heralded the use of the expression in everyday language and the rest, as they say, is history.

Personally, I like to go with the Freeman and Nicholson version of the bucket list; stuff I want to do before I ‘kick the bucket’ and mine, in no particular order, includes:

  • Buy a house in the country.
  • Write the book(s) I have in me.
  • Equip my children with everything they need to take on the world I leave them.
  • Visit the Grand Canyon.
  • See Niagara Falls.
  • Buy a holiday home somewhere with a hotter climate than England.
  • Take a World cruise.
  • Drink a really, really, expensive bottle of wine.
  • Spend more quality time with the people I love.
  • Take a trip on the Oriental Express wearing 1920’s gear.
  • Learn to fly.
  • Jump out of a perfectly good aeroplane (preferably wearing a parachute, and most definitely not while I’m flying it).
  • Retire earlier (if I make it that far after jumping out of a plane).

Why do we develop a bucket list?

For the life of me, though, I still can’t quite fathom why on earth I want to jump out of a plane.  Maybe that’s better defined as “Do something that scares the bejesus out of me.” Mind you, if I’m honest, ‘Equipping my children with everything they need to take on the world” might also fall into the ‘scared witless’ category. Although I’m probably more scared for them than I am for me. Such is the burden of parenthood, right?

One thing that might strike you about my list is that, while some of the items are well-defined goals, others seem nebulous; perhaps needing additional digging to uncover the goals hidden within them.  For instance, I’d like to drink a really expensive bottle of wine. But which wine? How much is really expensive? And when would I like to do that exactly?  I’d like to spend more quality time with loved ones, but who are they, and what does ‘quality time’ actually mean?

When it comes to my children, as well as being present to teach them life lessons they might need to survive in this fast-moving world, I want to be able to offer them access to the best education money can buy, and I absolutely want to be able to do that when they need me to do it.

In common with most bucket lists, you’ll probably also notice that mine has no dates attached to the goals, no plan of action.  This raises questions like; in what order do I want to do these things? When do I want to do them? What will they cost? How will I pay for them?

It raises the question, do we just let our future happen, or do we plan our future?  Is life something that happens around us while we’re ‘busy’ doing other stuff?  Are we too busy to plan? Too busy to make the things we want to happen, happen?  If we don’t plan, will our bucket list just become a wish-list of unrealised dreams?

Curiously, most people spend more time planning a holiday than they do planning their future.

Maybe, for some, analysing where they are now, where they want to end up, what they’ll need to do to get from one to the other,  and how much it will cost them, is just as scary, if not more so, than jumping out of a perfectly good aircraft.  After all, doing this requires a commitment.  A commitment to your own future.  Human beings, on the whole, tend to prefer procrastination over commitment, and that’s probably why the majority of bucket lists remain wish lists.

How to turn your bucket list into reality.

Your bucket list, especially if it’s the lifelong kind, reflects your goals. You could view it as representing a series of snapshots of the type of lifestyle you envisage evolving for you and your family over time, through the various stages of life, and into retirement.

I’m pretty sure if you close your eyes you’d be able to picture each of the defining events in your bucket list, be able to experience how each moment feels… that family holiday to end all holidays, life in your country home, your son or daughter’s graduation, your daughter’s marriage, welcoming everyone to your holiday home in the sun.

Now, open your eyes.

Turning those dreams, those feelings, into reality is going to take planning, action and commitment; but you don’t have to do it alone.  At United Advisers, we provide a service that helps you do just that.

We analyse, in depth, where you are now.  Your vision of the future and the snapshots you have in mind are transformed into a set of goals and milestones. We work with you to produce a plan for your future that shows where you are now, where you want to go, and how to get there, and, as your future evolves, we make sure your plan develops in line with your goals, and your lifestyle.

We call this service Lifestyle Financial Planning.

If you’re ready to commit to the kind of relationship that will benefit you into the future, we’re prepared to welcome you into our family, so get in touch.

If you’re unsure but would like to talk to someone about taking practical steps to turn your bucket list into something more than just wishes, we’re here to help. Contact us.