Live Life to the Fullest – Create a Dream and Life Values Based Approach to Personal Finance – Part 4 – Place Your Dream and Life Value Savings Plan on Autopilot

Thus far, in the My Money Blog – Create A Purpose Focused Financial Plan Series, we have defined the role of money in our lives and identified and created an action plan of help us live according to our dreams and life values. This idea is based off of David Bach’s bestselling book – Smart Couples Finish Rich
The links to the 3 Parts in this series are shown below if you are interested in discovering more:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

In the action plan, we have defined end goals for our dreams and values and identified specific actions that can be taken in the next two days.

However, what we have not addressed is what sort of financial actions are required in order to make your life value goals and dreams become a reality. This (Step 6) will be the focus on today’s posting.

Step 6 – Financial Actions To Take to Automate Your Life Value Goals and Dreams

How to Save for Life Value Goals – Next 12 Months
Since everyone’s goals that they will want to accomplish are different, it is hard to make blanket statements about how you should save for them. However, there are two critical aspects of savings plans that you should consider incorporating in order to achieve your goals.

1) Make it automatic – set up your accounts to automatically transfer money at a designated time each month so that you don’t have to think about it.

As I was filling out the life values and dreams action plans, I found myself asking, “Why have I not gotten it together enough to execute on these actions before, given that they are obviously very important to me.” I suppose the best answer to this is that life just got in the way and distracted me.

I feel like an example will illustrate this very well for everyone. For this analysis, let’s look at my Freedom value based goal of going to the Grand Canyon in 2011. This is something that I have wanted to do since 2007-2008. Even though I have enough money to go on this trip, I just have not gotten myself in line and disciplined enough to specifically save the money and plan for it.

What has happened is that when my income comes in around the 1st of the month, it gets saved through my normal process of moving it to my individual and retirement investing accounts. And, no funds are committed specifically to achieving this life value goal of mine.

I’m sure this type of thing happens to a lot of people!

How the automatic solution helps:
However, what I can do to fix this annoying situation going forward is to 1) calculate the total cost of the trip to the Grand Canyon, 2) calculate exactly how much I must save each month in order to be ready for the trip by the set date, and then 3) set up my high yield online savings accounts to automatically transfer that amount each month.

If you are in the market for an online high yield savings account, I would recommend ING Direct (it is what I use as well). Just click on the link below to visit their page!

2) Keep your savings liquid (since will be used within next 12 months)

Since David Bach’s book instructs us to only set goals for our life values for things we want to achieve within the next 12 months, we will only want to invest our savings in short-term, liquid investment instruments.

Online high-yield savings accounts work very well for this purpose! For more information on these types of accounts, click on the link below.

My Money Blog – High Yield Savings Accounts

How to Save for Life Dreams
David does a superb job in his book discussing the various ways to invest your savings for your life dreams. I especially like the way he breaks up the decision according to the time frame for which you are wishing to realize your dreams.

  • How much should you save each month for funding your dreams?
    • David suggests setting aside 3% of your take-home (after taxes, retirement deductions, etc) pay in to your dream account.
    • I think this is appropriate, and I have set up an automatic transfer accordingly.
    • To reiterate, make sure you make the 3% transfer automatic so that you don’t have to think about it.
  • How to invest for short-term dreams (2 years or less in the future)
    • Because this is in the very near-term, we will only want to invest in highly liquid instruments, such as the high yield online savings accounts described at the link above.
    • Since the dreams I am planning for are less than 2 years away, this is the instrument I will use for the time being.
  • How to invest for mid-term dreams (2-4 years in the future)
    • Short-term bond funds
      • If I were investing in a short term bond fund, I would choose the Vanguard Short-Term Bond ETF with the ticker symbol, BSV (shown at the following link) Vanguard Short Term Bond ETF.
      • It follows a passively managed, index approach to investing of which I am a fan.
      • I would not invest in a mutual fund from Vanguard because it would require that I have the $3000 minimum investment to buy the fund.
    • Balanced funds (is one fund that invests in both stocks and bonds)
      • If I did have a mid-term dream, I would prefer investing in a short-term bond fund over a balanced fund to minimize risk.
  • How to invest for long-term dreams (4-10 years in the future)
  • How to invest for very long-term dreams (10+ years in the future)

I hope this post has been useful for your to take further action on executing on your life value goals and dreams. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Keep on learning!

Jacob

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About the Author Jacob A Irwin

Hi folks! My name is Jacob. I am the owner and operator of My Personal Finance Journey. I started this blog in January of 2010 and have enjoyed the journey ever since. Since finishing up graduate school in Virginia in 2014, I have been working in biopharmaceutical development in Colorado. You can read more about me and this site here​. Please contact me if you have any questions!

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