Six tips for planning your bucket list and making it happen now!

Not everyone lives the life of a rock star, but one thing you may have in common with Elton John is a love of family and the plans that appear on your “bucket list.” When the 75-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer retires from touring next year, he’ll focus on the other things that matter most in his life, and they’re on his bucket list.

Once again, Elton John is setting the stage. He’s showing us that retirement isn’t just the next chapter in life—it’s the one that you get to compose and perform more than any chapter that preceded it.

Bucket list?

If you’re not familiar with the term bucket list, it’s a “collection of goals, dreams and aspirations that you would like to accomplish within your lifetime,” according to the Bucket List Journey website. It offers examples such as “Eat croissants in Paris, learn to cook Greek food, see the Northern Lights, ride a mechanical bull or bungee jump.”

Plan for what comes next

“At this stage of my life and my farewell tour, I want to take a moment to reflect on what I’ve done – and plan for what comes next,” Elton John said in a recent interview with the Alliance for Lifetime Income, the presenting sponsor for his Farewell Yellow Brick Road North American tour.

As you think about living your life to the fullest and on your own terms, making and keeping a bucket list is a fun and meaningful way to chart your course. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Don't be bashful, dream big! You don’t have to wear bedazzled eyeglasses to live your best life. Everyone has their own Yellow Brick Road to financial security, but how you get there calls for some planning. Keep your dreams big: hike the national parks, attend the Super Bowl, or buy that vintage car.

Take stock of what you’ve achieved. No one can deny that Elton John has lived most of his life loud and proud…and on his own terms. When you apply the bucket list concept to your life plans, remember it is an opportunity to reflect on what you’ve already achieved. Be sure to recognize, even congratulate yourself, for things you already accomplished. As you look ahead, have you thought about what you’ve already accomplished and then updated your bucket list? Which ones might need planning around how to fund them?

Identify what’s most important. While the five-time Grammy award winner already has a lot of big moments checked off his list, there are many things he still wants to accomplish:

  • Play more piano with his sons
  • Take Zachary fishing
  • Do more work for his AIDS foundation
  • Take his sons to Watford football games

Keep it short, but detailed. Elton John’s next act isn’t much different than many others. He wants to spend more time with family, pursue hobbies, volunteer and give back. Remember, it’s not a wish list. It’s a do list. Keep your bucket list brief, limited to things you genuinely want to try to achieve over the near term, and marked by specific details.

Use your gifts for doing good. The desire to help others comes in all forms and at many different levels. An act of philanthropy or charity is an ideal bucket list activity. Maybe you’ll want to start a charitable fund or award a scholarship through your local civic organization? Helping a grandchild go to college, buying a commemorative plaque for a park bench or participating in a cancer walk are also pursuits that can contribute to a sense of meaning and purpose. Whether you donate your time, money, or energy, it all matters and like Elton John, may have something to do with the happiness of living a full life. So, why not use your gifts for good deeds? It’s contagious and encourages others to do the same! In fact, helping others has a bonus, according to the Cleveland Clinic. It promotes good health, lowers blood pressure, increases self-esteem, reduces depression, and promotes longevity, greater happiness, and life satisfaction. Who doesn’t want a bucket list that pays those kinds of dividends?

Let your passion guide you. How on Earth does a 75-year-old man perform 350 concert dates on five continents, compose Broadway musicals, raise two children with his husband and run an AIDS foundation without passion? That fire is a powerful motivator and makes us excited to get up in the morning. Keeping an open mind about new ideas, new technology, and new generations will help you remain current, energized, relevant and live a more enjoyable life.

What's on your bucket list?

According to YouGov, American bucket lists are topped by getting healthier, traveling somewhere exotic and achieving financial goals. Not surprisingly, hopes and dreams are different for everyone, and your personal journey is all about what matters to you.

Some other tips to consider:

  • Update your bucket list regularly as you check off your accomplishments.
  • Create separate specialty lists around themes like travel, concerts, food, and unique experiences.
  • Share your list with friends and family, maybe even create one with them.
  • Get health and fitness on your list and keep them there.

Is your bucket list secure?

There are some wild and wonderful things we can do in this lifetime. Why shouldn’t we go after as much as we can? Some may require a funding plan. Knocking off bucket list items will always be more enjoyable when you’ve made smart and responsible decisions about your finances.

The potential for protected lifetime income from an annuity is one option that can help make sure your essential expenses, like your mortgage, utilities and groceries are covered, so you have more freedom to pursue your bucket list.*

“We have to plan for the journey down that Yellow Brick Road, that path to financial security, and we want people to be thinking about ways to avoid outliving their money, says Michael Harris, CFP, CLU, ChFC and Senior Educational Advisor at the Alliance for Lifetime Income. “Foresight is key. There are a lot of directions to take and protected lifetime income from an annuity is one route to enabling people to live their hopes and dreams.”

Talk with your financial professional to determine how protected lifetime income, such as the potential income from an annuity, can help you live the life you want in retirement. And be mindful to protect what you’ve earned and what you’ve saved, so that like Elton John, you can be the star of your own next chapter.

The extent to which Protected Lifetime Income is guaranteed will depend upon the claims-paying ability of the insurer that issues the annuity.

Product guarantees are subject to the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company. Annuities are long-term investments designed for retirement purposes. Partial withdrawals reduce the cash value and certain benefits, such as the death benefit amount. Early withdrawals may be subject to withdrawal charges. Earnings, when withdrawn, are subject to federal and/or state income tax, including a 10% tax penalty for withdrawals before age 59½.

Some income guarantees offered with annuities take the form of optional riders and carry charges in addition to the fees and charges associated with annuity products.

There is no guarantee that any investment will achieve its objectives, generate positive returns, or avoid losses. Investments in annuity contracts may not be suitable for all investors.

Northern Lights Distributors, LLC, a FINRA/SIPC member, has been retained to facilitate FINRA review of the material in order to meet certain requirements of its business partners. Northern lights Distributors, LLC is not affiliated with The Alliance for Lifetime Income.

Corebridge Financial is a founding member of the Board of Directors for the Alliance for Lifetime Income.