Recently came across a very interesting article:In The Early Stages Of Your Career The Wisest Investment You Can Make Is In Yourself. This made me think did I invest correctly? or did I invest at all? what exactly I could have done better few years back when I started my career.
In the retrospective, I can look back and try to exactly pin point what were the moves or choices that worked for me versus what were the moves and choices which did not work. But one of the common issue that everyone, almost everyone(including me) faces is that we live in the present but fail to learn lessons from the past. If we start learning lessons from the past and apply the learnings to the present, then life will be relatively future proof.
Thinking about being future proof brings a question: What exactly is meant by being future proof? Does it mean that we have enough money so that we can be financially free? that is, we will be comfortable to support ourselves and our family even if we stop going to our day job. But why just money? Is money the only factor to be considered while thinking of being future proof? because ofcourse money is not everything, money is just one of the important things and most people believe that just having enough money will not make them happy. But there is a strong counter argument to it, that is, money does not buy or guarantee happiness but the lack of money brings in misery, struggle and challenges. Life becomes a uphill battle everyday when someone has to struggle non-stop in order to make ends meet. That is why lack of money is a dangerous thing and hence money is a very very critical factor in being future proof.
That led me to think what possibly may be some of the steps that a young individual in early twenties can take to make his life future proof. Here is a list that I could come up with:
1. Begin with the end in mind. Reverse plan your life. Picture yourself as a sixty year old, what kind of lifestyle would you like at that age? what kind of financial security would you like to have at that age? how much bank balance and what kind of money would you like to save for your children after your retirement? What would be your ideal state of health at that age? Visuvalize it. Write it down and create a plan for yourself. This plan should have milestones and short and long term targets. In short this is an organized and planned approach for your life. Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail.
You may also want to read Stephen Covey's book: Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. This book gives powerful lessons in personal change.
2. Be Disciplined, Commited and Determined to the plan you created for yourself in step 1. Identify distractions and get rid of them. Watching TV or Youtube for hours and hours will not lead you anywhere. Value your time. Create a schedule and stick to it. Being disciplined is not easy and it takes a lot of effort from within your soul. Be ready from within to do what it takes.
3. Be Action Oriented and Decisive. Successful people have the ability and habit of making quick decisions and taking actions. They dont change their decisions very frequently. On the other hand people who struggle generally lack clarity of thought, they take a lot of time in making decisions and at times change their own decisions very frequently. For example, they change their job frequently or move from one domain to other or from one technology to another.
4. Use Power of compounding. They do teach you the concept of compound interest in school but dont teach you how to use it in real life. We can execute simple steps for wealth creation. There are high, medium and low risk options available for wealth creation, but some of the simple options are tried and tested by people all around the world, these are easy to adopt. For example, in India, you can opt to invest in Public Provident Fund(PPF) which is popular long term investment option. Here is an example of how your money grows with the power of compounding in PPF...
Rate of interest considered for the above calculation is 8.1%, which is subject to change. In short what is depicted here is that if one can invest Rs 150,000 per year, that is, Rs 12, 500 per month then after twenty years it is possible to create wealth equal to Rs 65 Lakhs. Ofcourse, this is subject to change based on the interest rate approved by government. There is also a lock in period.
Disclaimer: Author does not claim or provide guarantee of the above calculation/outcome. Individuals should contact the authorized government institute for valid/ approved numbers. The purpose of this post is to just provide a view of possibility.
You can invest as less as Rs 500 in this option. The calculations will change with the amount of investment done, you can google and find an online calculator or message me if you need one.
5. Always take ownership of your own success or failure. Taking ownership always ensures that you are in driving seat and in control. If you start blaming others or put ownership on others then you lose control of the situation. For example, if you dont get along with your boss then there is no point in cribbing about it for days, months and years, it is wise to change your boss. If that requires you to change your job then be it, but you cannot lose control by saying that I am not succeeding in life or career because I have a very bad boss.
6. Never stop investing in yourself. Always be ready to learn new skills, new methods, attend trainings, seminars and events where you can learn about changing business and technology trends. It doesnt matter whether you are self employed or have a retail store, it doesnt matter whether you are a government employee or a software engineer, upskilling and reskilling are need of the hour. Reinventing ourselves is a need in the ever changing era where technology dictates terms.
7. Mentorship is key to finding right direction and avoiding mistakes done by others. Find a right mentor and seek some quality advice for your career and personal growth. Lack of mentorship may lead to trial and error which results in unnecessary waste of time.
The points mentioned above are few key areas where one should focus during early years of their career. This may not be a complete list but still this is a very good list to start with. To conclude, here is a quote from Benjamin Franklin: 'An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.'
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