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I can see for miles

A vision is a destination; whether it’s a physical place, a state of mind or a set of circumstances, it’s something we aspire to. For many people though, it’s less a source of inspiration and more a wish list of things they hope the Universe will one day deliver.

If you believe The Secret and other systems of applied intention, you will be convinced that all it takes to get what you want from the Universe is the ability to think about something all the time and it will simply fall into your lap: whether it’s the parking spot right next to the door or cheques that magically keep coming to you in the mail.

If you’re not convinced this is the route to a happy life, your vision then is the mental picture you create of how your life will look, what you will be doing and how you will do it. It can include a new career, a focus on improving yourself through education or training, physical disciplines, spiritual journeys and financial objectives. Think of it as a series of snapshots, each representative of something you want to happen in your life; all combined in a collage that gives you a complete picture of the life you want.

The first step in defining your vision is seeing it. The next step is planning it out. Like a long road trip, it’s best to have your route uploaded to the GPS, your main stops along the way identified and booked, and some alternatives should the unexpected occur. This is the part where you identify the steps you need to take to get there. These steps are the things that make up the journey that is your retirement; sometimes though, things come out of left field and plans need to be revised.

The third requirement then for a successful vision is the adjustments you make along the way. There are no perfect paths when it comes to visions, things may go for years without a hitch; all of a sudden a health or personal issue shows up and you find yourself unable to keep doing what it is you’ve always done. It might be financial, it might be physical, but we will all meet with challenges in our retirement years. This is where flexibility and planning come in. As we create our vision, we need to have contingency plans in place. At the very least we must consider the possibilities so we are not blindsided when stuff hits the fan. Most importantly, we need to be flexible enough to do things differently.

Let’s say you were an engineer in your past life and a passion for you has always been woodworking and creating things. Your spouse on the other hand is a lover of the theatre and volunteers at the local playhouse during events. There’s not a lot of common ground there, but it’s important you are active together; also that you are able to work with your hands as much as possible. Your spouse comes home one night talking about the new play that is being produced at the theatre; unfortunately there is some challenge with the set crews because the construction business is booming. You get to thinking that it might be a great opportunity for you to get involved, hang out with your spouse and create some things of meaning. Forty shows later, ten years have gone by and you’re still hard at work doing what you love.

Creating a great retirement is not about avoiding problems or getting lucky, it’s about having a realistic vision, knowing that nothing is guaranteed and being willing to change the way you do things if it becomes necessary. There will always be challenges in our lives; the key is never how hard we fall but how quickly we get up.


This is for information purposes only. It is recommended that individuals consult with their financial advisor before acting on any information contained in this article. The opinions stated are those of the author and not necessarily those of Scotia Capital Inc. or The Bank of Nova Scotia. ScotiaMcLeod is a division of Scotia Capital Inc., Member CIPF.

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