I had the wonderful experience of moving into a new apartment with my girlfriend, becoming a proud owner of a husky puppy, and I did rather well in my work.
The last few months have been somewhat rough. I lost two of my grandparents and my girlfriend lost one of hers. There were a few rocky parts about the “what’s next” in the relationship. The holidays certainly added to the overall pressure.
But in the end, I am grateful for what I have experienced. It really helps to shine a light on the important things in life. It reminds you of the old saying of “when life gives you lemons … make lemonade” but, for me, it became a thought of “look to the future”.
The things that became Increasingly Important
I can’t speak for all of us, but when you’re faced with these types of ups and downs, you can’t help but think of the big picture.
The more I age, the more it has become increasingly important (and apparent) that I figure out what’s in store for my future.
These are items like:
• If I had a child how would I pay for their college?
• Why do I get wrapped up in the “rat race”?
• How am I going to plan for my retirement?
I know these are some of the very same thoughts you have and I believe I might be able to share a bit of wisdom about these topics.
1. Keeping Healthy
I like the concept of “your body is your temple” because it helps you understand that you have just one and what you put into it really does matter.
It doesn't matter if you let yourself go, if you’re already lean, or if you’re dealing with some kind of setback. What matters is that you take control of your health and the best way, on the fundamental level, is through proper food.
Don’t continually wait for the New Year to make a commitment to better living. Start learning healthier options for your cooking. Start getting out there and exercising (even just 15 minutes a day). Get the whole family involved – get them excited.
You’ll add years to your life if you make the commitment to be healthy – and you’ll certainly want to see the same for your family.
2. Finding Acknowledgment in a Career
Being proud of your work and gaining acknowledgement of your commitment is very rewarding on a psychological level.
I noticed this with my grandparents. They were from another time so they were the type to put in the hard hours even when the task was far out of their league. They went through times far worse than mine and came out very successful.
I think you should do the same.
Your career doesn't need to suck away the time you can spend with the family. On the contrary, you should strive to increase proficiency in work rather than throwing more time at it. Not only will you have that extra time to spend with the family but you’ll set in motion what’s needed (savings and investments) to ensure your child has the opportunity for a higher education.
3. Knowing what’s at the end
We all meet our end, which is a scary thought in and of itself, but even scarier when you think about what you leave behind to your children.
Bills? Maybe. Inheritance? Hopefully.
It doesn't matter how you start – just the fact that you do start planning for your retirement. This can involve any number of savings plans. Schwab recommends investing in an IRA account, but that's just one of multiple options.
You won’t always have the same energy or skill set to compete in your career. You will eventually retire. You also want to plan for the unexpected (those lemons).
Get real about your life and how you impact others. Save anything (even a little) for the future. Give up chasing material possessions that holds you back from enjoying the bigger picture. Solidify the well-being of your family (and all those after) by committing to planning for the end.