We sat down and talked to our client Lauren about vacation planning as part of a financial plan. The reason? She and her husband have a clear idea of why they want take vacations and a financial path to get them there. They’re not just saving for travel in retirement, they’ve made it a family value to unplug and get away at least once a year.
When her son was born in 2004, Lauren suffered a life-altering event that she details in her book Why Not Now. Suffice it to say, she has learned the value of slowing down. She and her husband have made the decision to build vacations into their family life.
“You can’t take stuff with you when you die but you can leave loved ones with fun memories of family vacations. As I child, I rarely remember going on vacation. It wasn’t until high school when a friend invited me on their family vacation to La Jolla, that I realized how great vacations could be,” says Lauren.
She and her husband took their son on his first trip when he was 18 months old. They went to San Diego, a place they have visited every year since.
“Vacations are about creating experiences for our family,” says Lauren, “And a reminder to me about unplugging and just being in the moment with loved ones. There’s no replacing that with buying things.”
To afford vacations, Lauren and her husband adhere to a budget throughout the year. Vacations are part of their financial plan for today and in the future when they retire at the ages of 55 and 58 years old.
Budgets get a bad name but they shouldn’t and here’s why.
Lauren views her budget as a vehicle that takes care of monthly expenses like mortgage, utilities, groceries, and gas while also allotting for saving for vacations and retirement.
In the Heritage Financial Strategies article What do Vacations and Financial Planning Have in Common, we define a budget as, “...simply the action plan for your financial future. It’s a visual to which you refer to see how you spend on expenses and save to accumulate wealth while at the same time decreasing debt.”
Living within their means, Lauren and her family are able to enjoy their time together as part of the Gilbert community while saving for future vacations. In addition to their budget, they have retirement savings and non-retirement savings, the latter of which is designed as a vacation savings account that grows for use later.
One of the reasons they chose Heritage Financial Strategies is because they are able to talk to Shanna Tingom about what is possible. Lauren and her husband thought about the answer to questions like these as they planned their financial future:
● How old do you want to be when you retire?
● Will you work part-time after you retire?
● What lifestyle do you want in retirement?
● Are there life events for which you want to save before retirement?
● What type of philanthropic giving do you want to do?
● Where will you live?
● How often do you want to travel?
● Where do you want to travel?
For Lauren and her family, what is most important are the experiences they have while travelling. While your financial goals may differ, it’s important to the financial planning process that you understand what is most important to you. That way we can plan ahead.
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