Financial planning for the future by connecting with our future self

HAVE you ever considered if the person you are today and the person you will be 10 years from now will be the same person?

Research show that we tend to view – and treat our future-self as another person – much like a stranger to be exact.

This perhaps can explain why some people will choose to maximise their experience today, but not striking a balance. Consider an example of a person who made a conscious decision to smoke, for instance, knowing that this may lead to health risk in the future.

In another example, we may choose to continue to delay saving up for emergency but to maximise our ability to spend now. We know that one day, we may get into a tough spot should some unexpected events happen but because the reward today seems much more real compared to the threat in the future, we decided it can wait.

At the same time, if today you plan to exercise tomorrow, your future self tomorrow may drop the idea due to a lack of motivation. This makes it very tough for you to plan and create the future we want now.

So, perhaps we should to try think about our future-self more by trying to connect to our future.

Connecting with our future selves

Kevin Neoh

However, this seems like a very fictional idea, since none of us can time travel. But think about how we have been practising to get our future-self to do what we planned.

Consider the time we set a reminder to remind ourselves to call someone or to arrive at an event, or when you write down an important event in your calendar. These are your efforts to remind the future you to do what you have committed to do.

While we cannot literally and physically travel to the future, we can however, plant the idea and leave a message for the future us so that this ‘person’ is reminded of the importance or urgency of certain thing or task or action.

I have practiced to ‘write a letter to the future me’ for the past few years. Recently, on my birthday date, I receive a letter sent by the “me” from a year ago.

The contents of that letter was written when the past “me” was feeling calm and in a position of strength. In that letter, I reminded myself that it is important for me to practice self-compassion.

I also told myself of what I planned to achieved and why those items were important to me and encourage me to celebrate progress, and be less focused about making things perfect.

Indeed, that was quite a powerful reminder.

Many times, through my work as a financial life planner and coach, I engaged with clients on conversation with regard to their values and identify their future plans while increasing clarity to these important life transitions events and goals.

Through lifetime cashflow modelling, we are then able to take a look at how our financial life will unfold into the next few decades – make and make changes from there – then proceed to reviewing the progress regularly to ensure clients stay on-track.

This is how we increase the connection between our present-self with future-self, while putting in mechanism and truly personalised reminders to the future-self.

If you’d like to increase the sense of connectedness between your present-self and future-self, let’s have a chat. – March 26, 2023


Kevin Neoh is a CFP professional and a certified member from Financial Planning Association Malaysia, he is also a financial life coach.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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