How to create a financial goals vision board that works (2024)

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Every year (since about 2015 or so) I've been creating a vision board at the start of each new year. It includes imagery of what I want to achieve in the year ahead, and it also serves as a financial goals vision board, too. After all, everything I usually put on the vision board (places I want to travel, home projects I want to complete) is something that is going to involve money. 

If you were to create a financial goals vision board for yourself….what would be on it? Would it be full of images of love, friends, money, success? The great part about creating a vision board is that it's a completely personal goal setting journey. Nobody can tell you how to create your vision board but you.

First, what is a vision board?

Is anyone reading this a fan of the show “Happy Endings”? MAN. That was the best show. #Gonetoosoon, I tell you. If you haven't watched it, I highly recommend it. 

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They had a full episode once about the power of vision boards, where one character (Jane) asserts that anything you put on a vision board comes true. Penny (pictured below) doubts the power of vision boards, so Jane starts buying her presents and sending her flowers from her crush to prove that vision boards really work. In typical sitcom fashion, it gets out of hand and is then subsequently resolved by the end of the 30 minutes, but I'm in Camp Jane. Vision boards work.

how to create a vision board

I can't tell you exactly how they work, just like I can't explain how magic works or why miracles happen or where exactly Cape Cod is, but just trust me on this one. You want to create a vision board if you plan on “living your best life” this year

My own financial goals vision board exercise

My girlfriends and I have an annual vision board party in early January each year. It's a time where we pool our leftover magazines and get together and talk about what we want in the year ahead. At a bare minimum it is a fun time and excuse to get together with friends and say what you want out loud, which helps us hold one another accountable too. It is one of my favorite nights of the year and is something I look forward to in those dark, quiet, cheerless days just after the holiday season ends.

Do financial goals vision boards work? 

money vision board

So, above is the vision board I made for 2016. (I'm updating this in December/January 2024 so this vision board is dang old but stay with me. I'm going to use an example from my real life!) You can see I chose different corners of the board to represent different “areas” of my life – health, happiness, work and my love life. That last corner got covered up by various to-do lists and business metrics after my then-ex boyfriend and I broke up shortly after I made the board.

The breakup really got me down, but I didn't stop believing in the vision board. I kept it in my home office and looked at it every day for inspiration and positive affirmation.

Then in the fall when my life started to crumble, I put the vision board away. I just didn't have the energy to vision my best life into existence amid the chaos happening around me, and it hadn't really worked for me all year long, so why bother, right?

During a quarterly de-cluttering project in early 2017, I came across my 2016 vision board, which I'd stashed in a closet in my new apartment, and — to my astonishment — I realized a lot of the things I'd deeply wished for had come true.

Even though I was no longer looking at my vision board every day, the visualization of my written goals must have stayed in my subconscious mind. This is the power of manifestation and the key to manifesting — it must be written down and spoken out loud.

What came true back in 2016/2017

You can't see it in the picture above, but there's a sticker on top of a picture of a beautiful new home. I thought moving out of my old house was impossible, but in August I found some great tenants and was able to move into a lovely new space that I loved waking up in each day. I put pictures of foreign places on the board, and in 2016 I unexpectedly got an opportunity to travel to Europe for the first time. It was the most amazing experience. 

How to create a financial goals vision board that works

You can create your vision board around a central theme, or you can put up images that inspire you from all different sources. The beauty of this exercise is that you own it. All that matters is that the images and words you use have a positive association. You want to be able to look at your vision board and feel happy and motivated.

What is needed to create a vision board?

To create a vision board, you need:

  • Posterboard – I used to do the big “classroom project” sized ones, but now I do a simple 8.5 x 11 sheet.
  • Magazines
  • Scissors
  • Glue Stick
  • Pens
  • Stickers, photographs, anything you want to put on your vision board to make it your own

Now keep in mind that everyone has his or her style. The following is a step-by-step guide to how I work on creating a vision board, but feel free to tailor the process to suit your style.

Need help getting started? Here's an article that prompts vision boarding and offers cute printables as well.

Step 1.

Get your favorite music queued up, and make sure you have no immediate plans, to allow for full immersion in the experience of creating a vision board. If you want, you could even light a deliciously scented candle or some incense to really put your mind at ease.

Step 2.

Look through the magazines, and cut out any relevant images and words that inspire you. The first step is more about brainstorming than execution, so don't hold back or do too much filtering. If it looks appealing, cut it out and save it for later. You never know what you may need!

Step 3.

Once you have images and words selected, you can begin attaching them to your vision board. You can still continue to look for relevant content from the magazines, but getting some things on paper will help kick off your vision board.

Step 4.

Using the markers, you can write on the images. Inspirational words, quotes, song lyrics – anything goes. You can also doodle to bring extra focus to certain messages or images.

Step 5.

After you have finished creating your vision board, place it somewhere in your living space that you frequent regularly.

Nobody knows the right spot except for you. If it is helpful, observe your movements inside your home for a day or two. There will likely be a path that you tread often. Is it from the front door to the kitchen? Kitchen to the bedroom? Where do you spend most of your time?

That is where you should put your money vision board for maximum effect. If you find that creating one vision board isn't enough, you can always make more. You can have one in every room, if you wish! You could even create a vision board art journal. The key is to create a positive space for you to go mentally.

Can't I just use Pinterest to create a digital vision board?

Pinterest is such an amazing tool. I love to use it to curate ideas about what I'd like for myself – whether they're styles I'd like to try or projects to do around the house.

The thing about a Pinterest board is that it is way too easy to just choose and choose and choose images. And there is unlimited space to “pin.” When you're using the “old-fashioned” method of paper, magazine cutouts and glue, you're forced to choose what's most important to you (after all, you only have a certain amount of space).

You get to select images that really, truly resonate. The old-fashioned method is a lot more intentional, is what I'm saying.

I think when we want the best results, it's important to be as intentional as possible.

The TL:DR – Be specific

I like creating a vision board with abstract ideas/images (travel, rest, beautiful houses, etc.) but when it comes to financial goals, I think specificity is key. I think there should be both on any good vision board.

For example, in 2023 I set a revenue goal for this website. I wrote down “I want to earn (X) per day by the end of the year.”

With your own financial goals you should say an amount and a very specific time frame.

  1. I want to pay off $8,000 of debt by the end of the year.
  2. I want to save $5,000 in the first 3 months. 
  3. I want to contribute $175 per week to max out my IRA by the end of the year.

Write it on a Post-it note and stick it on the vision board. Or, if that feels too personal, stick it in a private place. If you take one thing away from this piece — just write your wishes down someplace so the universe knows exactly what to bring your way.

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