As a financial planner, I often see clients who dream of retiring early but struggle to make it a reality. This often comes from a lack of clarity on what’s most important to them. Part of any financial plan needs to be building your bucket list.


If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, go and read this blog first to get yourself up to speed.


Your Bucket List items are, most likely, going to be the big one-off expenses you’ll encounter in the future if you are going to live the life you want to live. Understanding the difference between “stuff” and “experiences” can play a critical role in building your bucket list.


Stuff vs Experiences

We classify “stuff” as the tangible things you’re going to buy over time that help you maintain your lifestyle.


This might include multiple properties, changing your car, jewellery or designer watches. Maybe you are into sailing and want to buy a boat, or you love fast cars and always wanted to buy an Aston Martin.


All of these purchases are perfectly good and fine, so long as they’re playing a role in achieving the quality of life you want. However, from working with hundreds of families over the years, we have the experience and depth of research to say that the real value your money can add in retirement is by investing in experiences.


Experiences often bring more fulfilment and have a longer lasting impact on happiness. They enable you to create memories that are invaluable and bring joy for a lifetime. Experiences are all about having the freedom to do what you want, when you want, with who you want. As far as we’re concerned, that’s true financial independence.


Let’s not forget that “stuff” can also be used to enable great experiences. Having a holiday home by the sea that your family want to spend time in every summer can create great memories. Likewise, that sailing boat that gets your family out on the water every weekend can provide the bonding experiences that will stick with you forever.


Stuck for ideas?

So, let’s get started on that bucket list. If you need help getting your imagination going, here’s a list of 40 exciting things you might want to experience. Many of these are “big experiences” but remember that yours can be as big or as small as you like – it’s your life and your bucket list, after all!


This is by no means an exhaustive list! Try thinking about who you are going to do these things with and what age you’ll be when you do them.


Get out a pen and paper (you’ll be surprised how much the physical act of writing vs typing it out helps) and start putting down some ideas. Sharing it with your financial planner can greatly help with planning around what’s most important to you.


40 things to get you started


    1. Take a luxury safari in Africa

    2. Visit the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

    3. Host a private wine or whiskey tasting

    4. Take a culinary tour of Tuscany, Italy

    5. Start a charitable foundation or non-profit organisation

    6. Bring the kids to Lapland in December

    7. Attend Wimbledon or the Super Bowl

    8. Take a private flying lesson

    9. Visit the Great Wall of China

    10. Go on a private spa retreat with your best friends

    11. Go skiing in the French Alps

    12. Order a custom piece of jewellery

    13. Take a cruise to the Norwegian fjords

    14. Book a 1:1 dance or acting class with a professional

    15. Travel to Pompeii in Italy with your family

    16. Bring the family to Disneyland Florida

    17. Charter a boat ride around the Amalfi Coast

    18. Buy a second home by the sea

    19. Take a helicopter ride to the bottom of the Grand Canyon

    20. Visit the Palace of Versailles in France

    21. Explore the ancient city of Athens, Greece

    22. Stay and swim at the Blue Lagoon retreat in Iceland

    23. Go on a hot air balloon ride on your anniversary

    24. Visit the ancient city of Ephesus in Turkey

    25. Buy a piece of rare artwork at auction

    26. Take a pottery or sculpture class

    27. Learn a new language

    28. Take a private tour of the Alhambra in Spain

    29. Visit the Galapagos Islands

    30. Take a private tour of the Forbidden City in Beijing

    31. Visit the ancient city of Rome, Italy

    32. 14-day Lord of the Rings tour around New Zealand

    33. Host a large-scale charity event

    34. Stay in a villa at a 5-star resort in Bali

    35. Visit the ancient city of Carthage in Tunisia

    36. Dine at the top of the Empire State Building

    37. Explore the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru

    38. Book a week’s cooking classes in Ballymaloe

    39. Hold a koala bear

    40. Eat at a three-Michelin-star restaurant


Tell us what’s on your list

If you’re ready to get planning, or want to share your new goals with us to see how we can work them into your MetisLifePlan, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01 908 1500 or email us at


Cian Callaghan
Private Client Manager



Metis Ireland Financial Planning Ltd t/a Metis Ireland is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

All content provided in these blog posts is intended for information purposes only and should not be interpreted as financial advice. You should always engage the services of a fully qualified financial adviser before entering any financial contract. Metis Ireland Financial Planning Ltd t/a Metis Ireland will not be held responsible for any actions taken as a result of reading these blog posts.