The power of visualisation

There are few certainties in life, but one thing we can be sure of is that we are all getting older.

While most people know that they need to save for retirement and that the state pension is too low to provide a comfortable lifestyle, many still don’t do enough.

Often this isn’t down to a lack of understanding or time. It’s because our brains are wired to prefer instant rewards rather than long-term, deferred benefits – and when it comes to money, this makes it hard to forego spending now in order to save for the future.

When it comes to retirement planning, there’s another dimension: people struggle to imagine themselves decades into the future, as ‘old’ people.

This inability to empathise with our future selves makes it difficult for people to lock away money in pension accounts that cannot be accessed until the age of 55 at the earliest.

One powerful method that can help in overcoming these barriers to reaching retirement goals is to use the sort of visualisation techniques that elite sportspeople employ to boost their motivation.

An athlete struggling with the monotony of their strict training regime and eating plan will picture themselves at a competition months or years in the future.

By allowing their brain to ‘see’ their body in peak condition, to ‘hear’ the roar of their fans and ‘feel’ the triumph of achievement as they mount the podium to receive a gold medal, athletes get the boost they need to maintain their focus today and keep working towards their goals.

How to do it

Retirement savers should picture themselves at an older age and imagine what it feels like to be free from any unwanted burdens around work.

Reflect on where you would like to live if money was no object – maybe you would divide your time between different homes or countries?

Think about what hobbies or interests you would pursue if you had fewer demands on your time. Would you change career, start a business or volunteer for a cause? All of these are possible when you have a substantial retirement fund to support you.

We can offer pension advice and help you stay motivated with saving and investing for retirement, just ask.

  • By Nick Jones of Throgmorton Associates. The value of an investment with St. James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds selected and the value may therefore fall as well as rise. You may get back less than you invested. The levels and bases of taxation, and reliefs from taxation, can change at any time and are generally dependent on individual circumstances.