"A budget tells us what we can't afford, but it doesn't keep us from buying it." – William Feather

Whenever we are dealing with our finances, we always face the predicament of balancing our desires to live well and retire well, and if doing such is possible. This article will help you how to balance lifestyle goals and retirement goals using the four-step process.

Analyze Your Lifestyle. List down the questions you want to ask yourself through the ‘happiness barometer’. Some examples of questions include "Am I happy with my lifestyle?" " Do I have sufficient resources to sustain it?" "Are there things I still want to do, but have to pursue yet?" "Am I happy and contented?" Then, look at your finances and determine if you are saving enough for your retirement.

In case you answered no to most of the questions, you may need to realign some of your goals, change your lifestyle, or both. Just remember these two things: Focus on needs over wants, and on things that will give you joy and satisfaction. You need not to spend so much money in order to enjoy life, especially if your future is at stake.

Develop New Goals. If both goals are not in harmony, either come up with new goals or revise your prevailing goals. Ensure these goals are realistic and feasible according to your financial resources. Again, separate your needs from wants.

  • Lifestyle Goals. Jot down all the things you want to do. It can be any pursuit that can make your life more pleasing. The list includes hobbies you would like to pursue, places you like to visit, restaurants you want to try, the car you want to drive, and charities you want to help, among others.
  • Retirement Goals. Review your retirement goals to find out whether you are still on trail with your financial objectives. It includes evaluating your budget and revising it, if necessary.

Create a Plan. Once your lifestyle and retirement goals are connected, figure out whether these two goals can co-exist. Integrate these into your budget, and put numbers on each lifestyle goal. This is where you start cutting down non-necessities, if needed.

It is useless to fulfill your lifestyle if it will jeopardize your retirement goals. So it is better to cut back on less significant budget items. If your finances won’t enable you to enjoy a certain hobby, either remove it from your list or find elsewhere in the budget for a funding source. Reexamine every goal and know what you need to work out in your budget to make this goal attainable. Make the budget work for you, not the other way around.

Monitor and Evaluate. After putting these plans into action, monitor plans and reassess your goals, objectives, and budget at least once a year. Make sure you identify what went well, what did not, and what you need to change. Incorporate change in the process but never abandon important goals.

Through time, if you are one with your goals and objectives, your quality of life – and your retirement map – will improve. Can we really enjoy life while saving for later? Yes, for as long as everything is balanced and in order.