When working toward long-term goals, it can be difficult to imagine how it will feel when your hard work pays off. What will your contributions and dedication over time eventually grow into? Saving requires giving up some of your enjoyment today for hopefully more later. This type of self-control is challenging, especially in today’s “instant gratification” society.

Writing a thank you letter to yourself from your future self is one exercise that might help you visualize what the fruits of your labor will become. I’ve shared mine below.

If you're struggling to visualize what you want in the future or lacking motivation when it comes to long-term goals, give it a try. I really think you'll find value in not only looking forward, but imagining what "future you" might be grateful for when looking back.

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Hey,

Figured I’d drop you a quick note just to say thank you for investing in yourself for all of those years. Doing the right thing financially usually means foregoing something now so it benefits you in the future...and that’s not easy!

Passing on vacations, running your clunker car into the ground, saying “no” to the new outfit...it’s hard to keep pushing forward and making these sacrifices without reaping any rewards. I’m writing this to tell you that those small decisions we made early on have made a huge difference in our life. Let me catch you up on where things are today.

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The kids went to college

The family is happy and healthy. The kids finished school and are off on their own doing well. Those small monthly contributions to the 529 plans you set up when they were born helped them graduate debt-free. It’s an amazing feeling because we both know what a strain student loans put on us growing up.

Financial freedom in retirement

Remember how impatient we were watching our retirement accounts early on? It seemed like no matter how disciplined we were with our saving, the needle was barely moving up. Be thankful you started early because it has paid off big time. The steady accumulation in your 401(k) really accelerated later in life as the power of compound interest took over. You are now sitting on a seven-figure nest egg and you don’t have to worry about the solvency problems of Social Security. I cannot tell you how relieved I am knowing that I have financial freedom in retirement!

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Living the lake life

Can you remember starting your brokerage account with $500? You let time do its thing and didn’t get cute trying to “time the market.” Yeah, you traded some play money on the side and had some very successful wins along the way, but you left your long-term investments alone. That money has grown substantially and allowed us to
purchase vacations, gifts, experiences and the lake house you’ve always dreamed of.

Prepared for medical expenses

Smart move opening up that Health Savings Account for the family! You maxed out contributions and, yes, we had to use some throughout the years. But what remained in the account continued to grow and compound. Today we have over $50,000 in the HSA, which can be used tax-free for medical expenses!

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Good money mindset

We hated the idea of budgeting and fought against it for many years. However, having a budget doesn’t have to be like dieting where you are forced to cut out the things you love. We found it gave our finances structure and helped us to be mindful of our spending habits. Once we knew where our money was going, we were able to cut wasteful spending and stay out of credit card debt once and for all.

Keep doing what you’re doing and know that ultimately things are going to work out better than you could’ve ever imagined. Thanks again for all you’re doing. Talk soon!

Yourself

P.S.  We haven’t needed that life insurance yet!

Jason is a Certified Financial Planner™ and earned a B.S. in Economics from Penn State University and a M.S. in Accounting-Tax from Southern New Hampshire University. Jason worked on Wall Street for over 15 years and has always been fascinated with the stock market. Throughout his career, he has enjoyed sharing that passion with his clients. He also loves helping people with their finances so that they can live the life they’ve always wanted to live. Outside of work, Jason enjoys spending time with his wife and three young kids. He is an avid distance runner, huge sports fan, and amateur hot sauce maker.