If you’re under 50, you’re probably reading the title of this blog and thinking “I’m not even 50 yet, I’ll deal with that later!” But I’m going to stop you and say “You’re making a huge mistake!”

Have you ever had moments in your life where you’ve felt that time has just flown by? You just celebrated New Year’s Eve and now it’s August! Or you were spending months planning that amazing vacation and now it’s over. Where did all that time go? Wherever it went, you’re entire life is flying in that same direction.

Time is a very perceptual thing. Sometimes five hours can feel like just half an hour and at times, a day can feel like a week. So even if you’re in your 20s or 30s and feel like you have many years before you need to think about retirement, you may unfortunately find that it creeps up on you very quickly and takes you by surprise.

The best time to start planning is NOW. Now is the only time that exists. The past exists only in your memory and the future in your imagination. When the future gets here, it’s now! So don’t fall for the trick of putting things off for “later” because that “later” doesn’t actually exist.

Okay, so assuming that my philosophy of time has convinced you to start planning now, what do you actually do?

First of all, just sit quietly and think about the kind of life you want to live when you retire. I’m talking about more than just meeting your living expenses. I’m talking about what exciting and inspirational things you want to be doing when you retire. Do you want to live by the beach, or in a country home? How many vacations would you like to take a year? What hobbies or passions do you want to explore? Get as specific as you can and create a vision in your mind. Add lots of colour, sound and emotions to make it as real as you can. You’ve just created a blueprint for your retirement lifestyle.

Remember, your mind is like a missile. It’s a goal-seeking mechanism and when it locks onto a target, in this case your retirement vision, it goes for it. Once you have your vision all set, make an appointment with someone who knows and understands money and how to make it work for you. Any financial professional who knows what they’re doing will ask you first and foremost what your retirement goals are. They can’t help you unless they know what you want.

Tell them about your vision. Share as many details as you’re comfortable with. And then watch them build a bridge from where you are to where you want to be. You’ll be amazed at the different investment and saving options available to you, outside the bog-standard pension, savings accounts and ISAs.

No matter how old you are, or what your financial circumstances are, there is something you can do to plan for retirement.  Don’t wait for the perfect time, it doesn’t exist. Start now.