Planning for the future can seem like a waste of time while you’re in your twenties.
A person’s professional life, marital life, and even retirement might all feel like they’re happening to someone else.
However, now is the time to start planning for the future since the world is your oyster, and you should seize the opportunity.
I understand how challenging it may be to settle on a course of action when unsure of your ultimate goals.
I get it because I am the undisputed champ of mid-stream decision-making.
One minute I want to write a novel, and the next, I want to live in a lighthouse and work on a farm in Costa Rica.
Choosing your desired future outcome, whatever that may be, is an integral part of long-term planning.
Naturally, your objectives may shift as you progress, and if they do, you’ll need to reevaluate your approach.
No one can tell you precisely what to do with your life, but once you determine your priorities, you can start progressing in the right direction.
Here are six suggestions to help you plan for the future, from brainstorming through implementation.
1. Jot Down Your Goals and Write Them Down
Making a five-year plan may seem cliché, but it can be a valuable tool for focusing your efforts over the following few years.
Have you considered starting a business, traveling, or returning to school?
The first step in accomplishing anything is deciding what you want to do.
I recommend keeping a journal in which you record your interests, goals, and ideas for personal development. I did that, which helped me zero in on the few genuinely aspirational objectives. You can begin taking action and devising strategies once you’ve done this.
2. Visualize Everything Going Your Way
Creating a mental picture of how your five-year plan will unfold may be even cheesier than actually writing it down, but it can be beneficial nonetheless.
A mood board, a list of actionable steps, some daydreaming about your life in five years, or long, in-depth conversations with your mom can help you figure out what you want out of life (my personal favorite).
These actions can help solidify your plans, allowing your brain to fit the many pieces together.
3. Create a Savings Account, Because We Could All Use Some More Cash
Unfortunately, in most situations, financial resources are essential.
Maybe you can get by without cash if you have a sustainable farm in Montana and shear your sheep, but that’s not a viable option for most people and has never even crossed my mind (cough).
The truth is that we have bills to pay, and sometimes those costs can make it difficult to pursue other interests or dreams, like going on a trip.
Everyone should save at least a little of their income every pay period. When the time comes when you want to or need to make a substantial purchase, you will have yourself to thank.
4. Set Up a Retirement Account, Too
Being able to retire can seem like a distant fantasy to a young person because, well, it is.
My savings problem is that I can’t even manage to put money aside for the next month, let alone the next decade.
But here’s the kicker: if you start putting money away for retirement right now, you might be utterly flush with cash by the time you hit your 60s.
According to Kiplinger.com’s Jane Bennett Clark, a financial advisor, “If you start saving $200 a month for retirement the minute, you get your first full-time job at age 22, and your investments grow at an annual rate of 8 percent, you will have more than $37,000 after ten years. More than $122,000 will be in your account after 20 years, and $1.2 million will be there when you’re 67 years old.” Put that in your mind for a moment, and then head to the nearest bank.
5. Associate with Those Who Are Eager To Offer Assistance
Suppose there’s one thing I’ve learned from my own professional experience that gives me optimism about my future. In that case, established professionals in your area (or any field, for that matter) are eager to share their expertise with those just starting. That’s why it’s essential to hang out with role models.
You won’t only pick up on their ways, but they’ll also give you pointers and encourage you when you feel like giving up.
6. Avoid Cutting off Potential Future Communication
The most self-reliant and ambitious individuals nonetheless require assistance at times.
I’m thankful that I’ve maintained relationships with former teachers and employers because they’ve all helped me land jobs.
If for no other reason, I beg you not to burn bridges.
Never assume that you won’t need to contact someone from your past for assistance.
Seeing a clear path forward can be challenging, and your desired outcomes may seem unreachable.
But if you sit down, make a strategy, put away some cash, and hang out with the proper people, you’ll have a better shot at realizing your dreams.
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