“A good financial plan is a road map that shows us exactly how the choices we make today will affect our future.” – Alexa Von Tobel
You decide your goals.
Not your mom. Not your dad. Not your boyfriend or girlfriend. You decide what kind of financial reward you want for the work you do.
According to Glenn Carter of Listen Money Matters, when you’re setting goals, it’s important to first figure out what it is you want. Carter writes, “You can’t do anything meaningful until you decide on some goals for the short term (this month), medium term (next 3-6 months) and long-term (1-2 years).” People should consider, “What stage are you at in life and where do you want to be?”
When you’re thinking about where you want to be, take these questions into consideration:
- What kind of lifestyle do you want?
- Do you want to have a family?
- Where do you want to live?
- What kind of food do you want to eat?
- What kind of car do you want to drive?
- Do you want to travel?
- What kind of giver do you want to be?
Only you can decide how much money you will need to earn to consider yourself a “success,” but you need to determine that amount. Then, come up with a plan to achieve those financial goals.
Talk to a financial planner.
When I was first starting my career, I should have saved more of the money I spent. There was one winter a coworker and I went Christmas shopping together, and we literally blew through thousands of dollars. That’s the reason I advise every young person in business to hire a financial planner who can help you early on in your career to set and stay accountable to financial goals.
Having a financial planner can help you decide your saving strategies early on in your career, as well. When you get paid, you should put some of your income aside into savings, even if it is only a tiny bit. What’s important is for you to begin accumulating wealth and make it a habit.
Partner with a financial planner or advisor as soon as you get your first job. It doesn’t matter whether it pays $20,000 a year or $200,000. Not only can they advise on how to save for retirement, they may also provide insight on how to maximize your employer’s benefits package, or numerous other advantages.
As your career continues, you have to decide if the financial reward is worth the effort you are putting into your career, at every stage. This reevaluation can impact where, when, and how much you work.
If you like what you are doing and your employer gives many additional benefits, you may also determine you can work for less money and still consider yourself financially successful.
Don’t confuse money with fulfillment.
People often want to do something because it’s well paid. That doesn’t pose a problem, as long as the work involved is something you actually want to do and could see yourself enjoying.
If not, you may discover financial reward is not enough to make you happy. More money does not necessarily equate to more happiness. If you make $300k/year, but are working 70+ hours a week, constantly traveling, and have no time leftover to spend with your family or friends, let alone yourself, you may want to reconsider if the money is worth it.
According to Eric Roberge of Forbes, “When we look at more money as the ultimate goal, we will never feel satisfied that we have enough.” Money, therefore, shouldn’t be the primary objective. It’s merely the tool we use to obtain our goals, goals I believe should be centered around enhancing relationships and creating memories.
There is one question that will come up no matter what you end up doing: How much is enough?
This is a judgment only you can make.