I don’t know about you, but right now, every time I turn on the TV or listen to the news on the radio, it’s pretty clear that there is a lot of worrying things going on in the world right now. No matter what side of the political divide you lie in, it’s clear to everyone that we are on a rocky road, the likes of which we haven’t seen before.
It got me thinking – what is our future, and that of our kids, actually going to look like? And what on earth can we do to ensure we are safe, happy and content?
Some things are out of our hands, of course. None of us can stop global problems and world leaders doing what they like on an individual basis. But what we can do is to give ourselves an opportunity to forge a secure future, no matter what happens. Here are some suggestions that might help you get through this particularly rough patch and come out the other side intact.
Have yourself some fun
While you’re young, it’s important to get out there and enjoy yourself. Sensible financiers might tell you to pump all your money into a retirement fund and investments, and while this is excellent advice that you should consider following, it’s not the be-all and end-all. It’s all about striking the right balance, between spending good times with those you love and preparing for a sound financial future at the same time. You don’t need to live like it’s the last day of your life, but you do need to enjoy yourself – so make sure leisure and social activities are on your agenda, as much as financial planning. Ultimately, the friends you make now could be the support you need in the future – and money can’t buy you that kind of loyalty and friendship.
Invest in yourself
If you want to enjoy a happy lifestyle in your later years, you need to invest in yourself. Ultimately, the rewards you get from life will be down to your knowledge, skills, and experience you pick up, and the sooner you invest in your education and learning, the better off you will be. Start seeing yourself as an asset, and one that if you invest in will pay off for many years into the future. Work hard, learn everything you can, and make the right career choices, and you will not have to worry about financial dependence in later life.
It’s easy to say you want to be a millionaire by the time you retire. But if this is your only goal, it will be almost impossible to achieve. You have to break that aim into small chunks and focus on setting yourself a string of short-term goals, which will eventually lead to achieving the long-term objective. A lot can change in the next 25-30 years, so take thing slowly and make your decisions based on the current climate. For example, perhaps you could start matching your company’s retirement contributions so that you maximize your returns. Or maybe you could focus on paying off all your debts within a couple of years. Take baby steps, and you’ll find that your overall dream starts becoming more likely.
Take care of yourself.
Your genetics will have a significant role to play in your later years, but there’s even more you can do right now to ensure you are happy, healthy, and content. It’s critical to start living a healthy and active lifestyle, and the earlier you start, the better. No one knows what the future holds, of course, but if you invest in your health and fitness right now, your life expectancy will increase.
Plan for ill health
However, as everyone knows, the older you get, the more likely it will be that you suffer from ill health. You just don’t know what’s going to happen, and the best time to start preparing for potential problems is right now. You might need money to fund your memory care, meet your physical needs, or even expensive medical costs that aren’t available via social security or your insurance plan. All of this can add up to an eye-watering sum, and unless you have a solid financial foundation, you will either go without or have to rely on your children’s money. So, start saving, making safe investments, and ensure you are ready for anything.
Educate yourself financially
Anyone can make money – it’s what you do with it that counts for the future. And given that financial literacy isn’t taught in schools, the best thing you can do for yourself is to learn about how to manage and invest your finances in the right places. Research proves that those who know their numbers will almost always be better off in old age – and their kids will enjoy a wealthier lifestyle, too.
Check your lifestyle
Most people earn more money than they actually need to spend. The trouble is that this excess income is often wasted, and pumped into fleshing out a more luxurious lifestyle. But at the end of the day, a $4,000 TV is going to last just as long as a $500 alternative that you find in a sale. And once you start spending on your lifestyle, it’s a lot harder to return to a more frugal way of living. So, no matter how much or how little you earn, always make sure the cost of your life is less than your income growth – and put what is left away in savings.
Borrow to invest
Finally, don’t be afraid to borrow money. As long as you are doing it the right way, debt can be a useful investment tool. However, never put lifestyle choices on credit, and only ever use debt as a platform to make money. Mortgages, business loans, stocks and bonds – and even your education – are all areas where borrowing should pay off.
No one can be certain of what will happen in the future, particularly in these troubling times. All you can do is focus on your future and that of your family. Make the right choices now, and you should be able to avoid any of the potential clouds that could show up in the years to come.