There is an old Chinese proverb that you may have heard of before that talks about the best time for planting a tree. The best time to plant was twenty years ago, but the second best plant to do so is now. Which can be a great way to illustrate that it is never too late to do certain things, and there is no time like the present to make changes for your life and your future. We all have busy lives and things move at a fast pace. There are always things that need to be done or added to our to-do list. And of course, we all want get ahead and be ready for retirement someday, right? But all too often we delay any kind of future plans, because we have some much going on in the here and now. Young professionals in particular, are right in the thick of it all, as they have careers to build, as well as family and relationship commitments as well. If that is you, then it may feel like retirement is just a far off dream in the future. Planning, saving and even investing money ready for retirement seems like it might have to wait.
If you find it hard to plan ahead and plan for things in life, then there are some small changes that can help and make a difference. You don’t have to be planning out your retirement, for instance. Bt simply looking into a pension scheme as you are working and investing some money each month into it, can be a small thing that will help you to be more prepared for the future. So with that in mind, here are some other strategies that can hopefully help young professionals like yourselves, take charge of their future.
- Making a plan is one of the first things that you can do. When you identify the right goals that you have, and then are able to develop your written plan to make it so that you can get closer to reaching those goals, will make such a difference. If you can set goals, then great. But taking steps to achieve them and see them through is really what you need to succeed. When you make a plan, you will be more motivated to see those things, through, whether they are financial plans or bucket list plans.
- Sharing your goals is also another strategy that can help. When you share your goals, it can be really a really critical part of goal setting. Plus, when you share, you will benefit from the support from people around you, as they know what you are trying to work towards. If you are trying to save money, for example, then you may have friends or family members that will be more frugal with you and realize that you can’t be spending hundreds on a holiday when you can’t afford to do that right now. Even something like a weight loss goal can be better when it is shared as there is some accountability. Accountability, in whatever for that it takes, is a really powerful motivator.
- Take small steps forward as you plan and live your life. You may have big goals that can seem daunting, but by taking baby steps to get to them, it can help you get there, without the massive overwhelm. As you become comfortable with what you have planned, then it does become easier to add even more new goals to your plan, if that is what you want to do, as you’re not feeling overwhelmed. It can be easier to sustain changes and growth that you have managed to achieve taking small steps too. And of course, make sure that you celebrate those small things along the way.
- Making some smart decisions now can also really help you for the future, and for anything that can come along. For example, if you are looking for car insurance now, which many people will be, make sure that you are looking for ones that offer everything that you would need, should it come to needing it all. If you would need an accident replacement vehicle so that you can still commute to work, for example, then that will help massively. But you’ll only be able to get that if you make plans for it all now. Other things that you can decide about now that can make a difference, are things like home insurance, your health, relationships, and other life decisions.
- The next strategy is a simple one; be patient. The goals that you have may provide a sense of purpose and even some direction for your life, but it is easy to get into past bad habits or ways of doing things if you feel like your goals are taking a long time. But rather than give up when your goals feel a little elusive, use the opportunity to change your plans if need be, and perhaps choosing something else to focus on right there and then.
- Don’t be afraid to take a few risks as you go ahead in your life and your planning. This can include things that you’re able to invest in when it comes to retirement, or even the goals that you would love to achieve but don’t think is possible (hello, marathon running, anyone)? There may be some short term pain or volatility, but it can really help you to get you to where you want to be when you take some risks. For you, it might look like taking some risks with your career, and getting outside of your comfort zone. Just remember that you have time on your side. You have time to recover as well as time to learn from what has gone wrong.
Rather than take a view that it takes some discipline and effort to help you to build up the future that you want, try to embrace the view that clarity and confidence about your future can help to bring a feeling of empowerment, which can be more enduring and sustainable; bring you the future that you want.