Covid-19 has delayed many vacations, family reunions and special events this year. But as we all navigate the space between things we can do, things we can't do and things we still want to do in the future, there's an opportunity to reflect on the bucket list goals that are truly important to us.
Get your family together and ask yourselves these three questions. Your answers will help you build a better bucket list full of things you'll enjoy doing today and look forward to doing someday soon.
1. How disappointed are we?
Before Covid-19, you probably felt free to fill up your bucket list with anything you could responsibly budget for. But it's possible that not all of those items were of equal importance to you. An African safari or a trip to Europe that you and your spouse had been planning for years is probably dear to your heart. A spur-of-the-moment booking for a weekend get-a-way, maybe not so much.
If you're sifting through a bunch of returns, refunds and cancellations right now, think about how you really feel about those disrupted plans. Are you disappointed? Indifferent? Relieved to be getting that money back? Is this a trip that should stay on the family bucket list? Or would you rather use those funds to add something even more special to a trip everyone really wants to take?
2. Why did we want to do this?
If you're trying to sell your children on a substitute for Disney World … well, good luck. Keep that trip on the bucket list for next year.
But the motivations behind some of your other bucket list items might not be as clear-cut as riding roller coasters or visiting a favorite beach. Was this bucket list item a true dream destination or was it just a pit stop on your way to somewhere else? Were you just looking for a reason to cash in some saved vacation days? Is this really an activity your children will enjoy? Are you forcing a trip – any trip – just because you want your whole family to do something together?
3. What can we do instead?
Some of your answers might lead you to alternative fun closer to home. If the real purpose of a trip was golf, the money you're saving on travel could buy you quite a few rounds at a nice course within driving distance. Buy a couple lessons while you're at it and you might enjoy that dream round even more when you finally tee it up.
You might not feel comfortable packing up the camper and heading to the Grand Canyon right now. But the U.S. National Parks system is more extensive than many people realize. There's probably a scenic spot closer to home that you've never explored before.
Many families are also adapting to Covid-19 by focusing on new, short-term bucket list items. If you're not going to travel this summer, you could take online classes or learn an instrument. Rescheduling your trip to Mykonos? Take family Greek lessons so you'll have an easier time getting around when you do go. Get serious about your exercise goals and develop a running or cycling regiment you can stick to. Set a family reading challenge. Could you learn to cook a new French meal every week? Basketball camp might be cancelled, but the hoop above your garage is still there. How high can your daughter increase her free throw percentage before the end of summer?
There are no perfect substitutes for all your bucket list items during Covid-19. But with a little flexibility and some creativity, your family can still have a fun and fulfilling summer.
And if you need one more activity to round out your week, schedule a family brainstorming session for trips that are staying on the bucket list. Let everyone share their ideas on how to make the trip you couldn't take this year into an even better trip next year. Planning ahead will give everyone something to look forward to.
Is there anything we can do to help you make progress on your bucket list? Don't hesitate to call us up if you want revisit your plan or start budgeting for all the summers still ahead of you and your family.
Lindsey Hansen, CFP®
Partner, Acadium Financial Partners
3601 PGA Blvd, Suite 301
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410
Any opinions are those of Lindsey Hansen are not necessarily those of Raymond James. Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. member FINRA/SIPC. Acadium Financial Partners is not a registered broker/dealer and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services. Investment Advisory Services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc.