Personal Finance

How to make 2019 the year you start to check off your bucket list

Key Points
  • Finances hold back 57 percent of people from completing bucket list goals, according to a survey.
  • Traveling is the most popular item, with financial goals a close second.
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Maybe you want to visit Australia, buy a home or go sky-diving before you die.

You're certainly not alone. More than 9 in 10 participants in a survey by Provision Living, an operator of senior living communities, said they had bucket lists.

Of those individuals, 66 percent said they'll complete at least one item off their list in the next year, according to the company's December online survey of 2,000 people.

So what's holding people back?

Money. Close to 6 in 10 respondents said finances were deterring their goals. Fourteen percent said "lack of time," while 10 percent cited family responsibilities as an obstacle.

"Finances are by far the No. 1 hurdle Americans are facing," said Collin Czarnecki, content strategist at marketing firm Digital Third Coast.Traveling was the most popular experience on people's bucket lists, followed by financial objectives, including paying off debt and retiring early.

How to get there

When it comes to bucket lists, people prefer experiences over things, said Josh Ackerman, a certified financial planner at Context Financial in Lexington, Kentucky.

When clients come to him, he gives the following advice:

• Know what it is you want to do
The clearer your goal, the more likely you'll achieve it, said Ackerman.

He said he tries to get his clients to visualize exactly what they want, since they're usually more willing to make changes once they have a goal in mind.

Ackerman said he once told a client contemplating a vacation to get a guidebook for that specific location to make it more real.

"The more you can polish up the future so that it looks appealing, the more likely you are to make changes today to get the thing you want tomorrow," he said.

• Cut out little expenses

Once you have the goal in mind, take time to look at your daily and household budgets and ask what you can take out of that budget to put into your bucket list account.

Review your credit card receipts, Ackerman said, since that's where most of the recurring bills are.

Be sure to look for the expired trials or subscriptions you may not use often. When was the last time you watched Hulu or used Amazon Prime?

Eating out is the biggest expense. "Everybody does it more than they think they do," Ackerman said.

"You're spending money on something that doesn't matter to you as much," he said.