“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb
We are constantly on the move … with too many things to do, people to see and places to go. We all want to be ready for retirement some day, but too often we delay planning for our future. Young professionals, in particular, are so focused on building their careers that they haven’t the time nor the inclination to think about when that career will be behind them.
Here are a few strategies to help young professionals take charge of their financial future:
- Make a plan. Identifying the right goals, developing your written plan to reach those goals, and implementing those steps required to attain those goals can make all the difference between financial success and failure later in life.
Share your goals. When you share your goals, you benefit from an instant support network of people who have a vested interest in your savings success, and also makes you accountable to others – a powerful motivator!
Set resolutions. Avoid making rigid resolutions such as, “I won’t go to Starbucks anymore,” or “I will go to the gym every morning.” If you deviate at all from these goals, you may feel like a failure. Instead, try setting goals that can advance your progress, such as, “I will go out for coffee two or three times a week instead of every day,” or “I will increase the number of times I go to the gym each week.”
Take small steps forward. While accomplishing your biggest goals may seem daunting, savings and investment goals become attainable when you take baby steps. As you become more comfortable with saving and investing more, it becomes easier to add new goals to your plan and to sustain the growth you’ve accomplished. Celebrate your financial success along the way!
Be patient. Savings and investment goals provide a sense of purpose and direction, but it’s easy to revert to past habits and abandon your resolutions. Rather than give up when your goals feel elusive, use the opportunity to modify your plan by selecting an alternative activity, adjusting your savings, or rebalancing your investments.
Don’t be afraid to take a few risks. Smart career risks, such as reaching outside your comfort zone in terms of opportunities you pursue or assignments you undertake, can help you move up in rank and compensation. You have time on your side: time to recover and learn from mistakes in the savings and investing spheres and elsewhere, so that your next professional and investment moves become smarter and more strategic.
By following these helpful strategies, you should be able to embrace the confidence that comes with planning for your future: a feeling of empowerment!