Setting Up a Financial Vision Board

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Prodigy Finance - March, 28 2024

6 min read

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At Prodigy Finance, we're committed to helping international talent to achieve their education dreams. We offer international student loans to qualified individuals attending top master's programmes in the US.

Imagine a tool that helps you visualise your financial goals and dreams. One where you use imagery, quotes and symbols to represent these financial dreams, and motivate you to make it a reality.

A financial vision board serves as a tool for visualising success. Being able to tangibly view your goals encourages discipline to stick to your goals, focus as well as resilience in your journey to studying abroad.

Understanding the purpose of a financial vision board

Definition and purpose

When faced with challenges along the way, you can look at your vision board to remind yourself of the welcome rewards when you achieve your financial goals. It provides you with:

  • Clarity and focus: by visualising specific financial targets, it provides a clear focus on what needs to be achieved.
    Motivation: using images and symbols that represent your study abroad dreams is a powerful motivator, reminding you daily of the reasons behind your efforts.
  • Positive mindset: The visual nature of a vision board helps focus on the positive outcomes you are working towards.
  • Goal setting: creating a financial vision board encourages you to set specific, measurable, and achievable financial goals, enhancing your planning and decision-making through this structured approach.
  • Financial discipline: regularly viewing the vision board reinforces financial discipline. It reminds you to make mindful spending choices and prioritise your study abroad savings.

Getting started with your vision board

Choosing the right format

Vision boards can take a variety of formats, from a physical, tangible collage, created on a poster or large, sturdy surface, to a digital vision board, and even a vision board in a journal format, visually representing your goals on the pages of a journal.

The choice is up to you and depends on your personal preference, but most importantly, you need to choose a creative process that resonates with you.

Think about your lifestyle and how easily you can integrate using your vision board into your day-to-day routine. A physical board might be more suitable for a visible space at home, while a digital version can be accessed on the go.
Digital vision boards are easily accessible from various devices and easy to share, while physical boards and journals offer a tangible and tactile experience. Ultimately, the effectiveness of a vision board lies in its ability to inspire and motivate you.

Whether it's a physical board, a digital creation, or a vision journal, the key is to choose a format that aligns with your personality and encourages regular reflection on your goals.

Gathering materials

  • Physical vision board: creating a tangible, visual collage will need magazine pictures, printed images, markers, ink, watercolours, glue and scissors
  • Digital vision board: should your preference be digital, you’ll want to gather a combination of images, quotes and online sourced graphics along with inspiration from Pinterest. You can collate it altogether using Canva or other vision board apps.
  • Creative journal vision board: As the journal or notebook will be your backdrop, you can use a selection of coloured pens, markers, stickers, printed images and quotes that resonate with you.

Identifying financial goals

Short-term and long-term goals

Setting SMART financial goals for studying abroad involves creating objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-sensitive. Here's a step-by-step guide to follow:

  • Specific: clearly define your financial goal, being precise about what you want to achieve.
  • Measurable: choose concrete criteria for how you will measure your success e.g. save $500 per month for 20 months to reach the $10,000 goal.
  • Achievable: ensure that your goal is realistic and attainable, based on your current financial situation. Remember to consider your income, expenses, and any external factors.
  • Relevant: align your financial goals with your overall objective of studying abroad. It should make sense in the context of your educational plans and future aspirations.
  • Time-sensitive: set a specific timeframe for when you aim to achieve your financial goal as this will create a sense of urgency and help you stay focused.

Visualising goals

It’s a good idea to think of symbols and images to represent your financial goals, and you can break these down to these tangibles:

  • Budgeting: Your vision board should include images and symbols related to budgeting and financial planning, so it’ll help you stay disciplined when managing your expenses and savings.
  • Income generation: include representations of part-time jobs, scholarships, or other income sources on your vision board to inspire you to keep an eye out for opportunities to supplement your funds.
  • Expense prioritisation: Visualising your key expenses related to studying abroad, such as tuition, accommodation, and travel, helps you to prioritise your spending.
  • Long-term planning: this prompts you to consider not just your immediate expenses but also to think of your future financial needs throughout your study abroad experience.

Creating your vision board

Organising your board

Think about the various sections to your vision board and whether you’d like to apply a phased approach for each, as you get closer to your goals. e.g. you may opt to use a bar graph to represent the various ideas for income generation.

Making it visually appealing

Physical vision board
Once you have cut out and glued images and quotes that represent your goals and arranged them on your board, consider adding personal touches like drawings or handwritten affirmations. You can even apply ink washes and image transfers as a way to add extra creative spark.
Digital vision board
The beauty of creating a digital vision board is you can easily customise and arrange images, quotes and visual inspiration - moving them and organising in a way that speaks to you. And it’s convenient to update or modify your vision board over time too.
Vision journal
A vision journal provides a more private and personal space for goal-setting, where you can decorate the pages with images, drawings and quotes to reflect your aspirations. It combines the benefits of visual representation with the reflective nature of journaling, so you can create different sections for various life goals or choose to rather use a continuous narrative throughout the journal.

Utilising the vision board

Placement and visibility

Think about where to position your vision board - ideally depending on the type you have chosen, it should be somewhere visible where you can see it daily. A collage or digitally-printed vision board could perhaps be hung close to where you work - so it serves to constantly motivate you to reach your goals.

Regular review and update

A financial vision board is only as good as when it is constantly viewed, reviewed and updated, so it’s important to consult it often.

When facing challenges or setbacks, the vision board serves as a source of emotional resilience. It reinforces the importance of your dreams to study abroad and encourages you to persevere through any financial difficulties you may experience.

Beyond your vision board

Tracking progress

  • Split larger goals to make them more achievable: if your overall financial goal seems overwhelming, break it down into smaller, more manageable milestones. This makes the process more achievable and less daunting.
  • Regularly review and adjust: periodically review your financial goals to track your progress. If needed, adjust your targets based on changes in your financial situation or unexpected expenses.
  • Consider contingencies: factor in unexpected expenses or emergencies in your financial plan to ensure you have a buffer in case of unforeseen circumstances.
  • Seek professional guidance: if necessary, consult with financial advisors or experts who can provide guidance on budgeting and saving for studying abroad.
  • Stay disciplined: developing financial discipline is crucial, so remember to stay committed to your savings plan.

Conclusion

In summary, a financial vision board is a valuable tool to use when considering studying abroad, providing a tangible and motivating representation of your financial goals, fostering discipline, focus, and resilience in your journey towards making your academic dreams a reality.

Remember, the more you update your financial vision board as you achieve your goals or your goals evolve, the more useful this tool will be as it keeps you connected to academic aspirations.

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