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4 Steps to Take Toward Your Dream Retirement

4 steps to take toward

By Jeff Gilbert

As financial advisors, we are often very focused on the long-term goals and the big picture. While this is certainly a good strategy because solid financial plans take time and consistency to be successful, it’s easy for us to forget about the present. Sure, it’s great to know that you’re getting top-notch financial planning and investment management, but we are also interested in improving your day-to-day life now—not just in the distant future. There is no guarantee about what the future will hold, so it’s our mission to strike a balance between the present moment and your long-term goals.

At Balboa Wealth Partners, we take financial planning further by helping our clients create a balance between working toward the retirement of their dreams and living their retirement dreams now. Here are four tips to help you get started.

What Do You Want Your Life to Look Like? 

Financial conversations can often be left-brain dominant. But since money impacts every area of your life, it’s critical that financial discussions also include your hopes and dreams for life. That means we need to dig into the emotional side of our thinking.

One simple way we do this is by asking our clients specific questions about what their retirement goals look like, such as:

  • Tangible goals: What would you like to have? 
  • Conceptual goals: What would you like your life to be like?
  • Freedom goals: What would you like to be able to do?

Principle in Action

Many people don’t even know where to begin when faced with the above questions and will sometimes provide a surface-level answer, something like “I’d like to travel” or “I’d like to spend more time with my family.” These are great starts, but it may take some time to truly uncover what’s most important to you. That’s okay. Even if you don’t know exactly what you want, there are ways to take practical steps toward leading a happier, more fulfilled life now. 

1. Expect Less

It’s no secret that money can buy comfort, stability, and less stress. But can money buy you happiness? The answer? To an extent. Researchers have found that increased income is associated with increased levels of happiness and life satisfaction up to a point—$105,000 to be exact. (1) Beyond that threshold, happiness levels plateau and additional increases in income result in negligible changes in happiness. 

Instead of focusing on the ultimate retirement dream (e.g., a certain amount of money in the bank, or a specific car or household item), try focusing on what you do have and live in the moment as much as possible. Practicing meditation or mindfulness can have significant impacts on your overall sense of happiness and well-being, (2) and letting go of expectations of what your life should look like can be a great first step in living your retirement dream now.

2. Set Sub-Goals

If your dreams are more on the tangible side, that’s great too. To help with these goals, try setting smaller sub-goals that can be achieved more quickly than the ultimate retirement dream. For instance, if your retirement dream consists of retiring in a condo on a beach in South Florida, maybe set a sub-goal of vacationing in South Florida first. Taking that trip could inspire you even more to make your ultimate dream a reality, while also allowing you to live your dream in the moment as well. 

3. Find Purpose

Studies show that individuals who live a purpose-driven life are happier and healthier on average than those who don’t. (3,4) Not only that, they also live longer! (5) A purposeful life is commonly associated with fulfillment and motivation, and can be found in many ways. Volunteering for a local nonprofit or church, spending time with your children, or pursuing a newfound hobby are great ways to find purpose in your day-to-day life.

4. Prioritize Family & Friends

This one sounds obvious, but it’s often one of the hardest things to do. Life gets in the way and before you know it, you’ve spent a whole month getting stuff done but not really spending any true quality time with the people who matter most. Living your retirement dream now often comes in the form of just slowing down for a moment. Realizing that the laundry list of stuff to buy, deadlines to meet, and things to do is important, but so is connecting with and learning from those around you.

The great news is that you don’t have to wait until retirement to do that. You can start setting aside time every week to check in with your loved ones and find meaningful ways to connect. You might just find that in doing so, your to-do list becomes a little lighter and maybe even easier to accomplish.

Get Started Today

So, what are some of the action steps you can take to start pursuing your dreams now? You may be surprised to realize that some of your goals can be accomplished sooner rather than later. 

At Balboa Wealth Partners, we are here to celebrate your successes and cope with your challenges as you work toward living your retirement dream now. Learn more about how we can help by calling our office at 949-445-1465 or emailing me at [email protected].

About Jeff

Jeff Gilbert is the founder and CEO of Balboa Wealth Partners, a holistic financial management firm dedicated to providing clients guidance today for tomorrow’s success. With over three decades of industry experience, he has worked as both an advisor and executive-level manager, partnering with and serving a diverse range of clients. Specializing in serving high- and ultra-high-net-worth families, Jeff aims to help clients achieve their short-term and long-term goals, worry less about their finances, and focus more on their life’s passions. Based in Orange County, Jeff works with clients throughout the entire country. To learn more, connect with Jeff on LinkedIn or email [email protected]

Advisory services provided by Balboa Wealth Partners, Inc., an Investment Advisor registered with the SEC. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Balboa Wealth Partners and its Investment Advisor Representatives are properly licensed or exempt from registration.

Securities offered through Kingswood Capital Partners, LLC, member FINRA, SIPC.

Balboa offers advisory services independent of Kingswood. Neither firm is affiliated.


(1) https://www.gobankingrates.com/money/wealth/minimum-salary-to-be-happy-state/

(2) https://www.helpguide.org/harvard/benefits-of-mindfulness.htm#

(3) https://living.medicareful.com/finding-a-purpose-makes-you-happier-healthier

(4) https://psychcentral.com/news/life-purpose-linked-to-better-brain-health

(5) https://hrs.isr.umich.edu/publications/biblio/11635