#1 Develop the blueprint: Determine your retirement goals and desires.

ThinkstockPhotos-474715738Be absolutely clear about what you want out of your life before you decide what you’re willing to put into it. Why is it so important? Because getting clear about your future creates focus, energy and passion. That creates purposeful living and becomes a compass that gives you your heading when you get lost in the fog of emotion. In any life endeavor, there are going to be moments when you experience fatigue, frustration and doubt. In those moments, you are acutely aware of what you are doing, how exacting it is and how much easier it would be to just quit – to take the easy way out. You need that clarity of purpose to provide the perspective and perseverance when the road gets rough.

What do you want to get out of life? What would make the hard work worth it? What would make you take the extra hours to learn as much as you could about it? We suggest that you take the time right now and write down what you want.

Be as specific and vital and real as you can. Write down the things you want out of life. Make several copies. One copy is for you to carry at all times. That way you can answer the question when your inner voice demands to know: Why am I doing this? Send a copy to someone who can gently remind you that this is very important and real and you have excellent reasons for staying with it. If the reasons are strong enough to get you started, they’re probably strong enough to keep you going.

Going from a Saver to an Investor. (2004). The First Time Investor. (3rd ed., pp. 12-13). McGraw-Hill