As we leave school, and come of age, most young people start to think about finding work, and or starting a career. We focus more on salaries of today, than the future. We rarely think of planning our finances to make sure that we have enough money during our entire lifetime. If you truly want to take ownership of your financial life, that is exactly what you should do right now.
Ask yourself this: how am I going to take care of myself in the next 30 years? If you can’t answer that question just yet, here are tips to help you visualize, and manage your financial life.
Establish a wealth vision
Every woman, regardless of how much money she earns, should have a wealth vision that describes the level of wealth she wants to acquire in life. The wealth vision is your long term wealth goal. This should include all the important things that you would like to have, and the lifestyle that you would like to enjoy. Examples include real estate or land acquisition, car ownership, jewelry and precious stones, travel, wedding, children, education, charity, and of course cash.
Your wealth vision may depend on any of the following factors including: your career, marriage, inheritance, business partnerships, investments, etc. You can create a vision board with pictures of your dream goals and symbols of wealth. Pinterest is a great tool for that.
Make a personal action plan
It can be overwhelming to have general goals for your lifetime. They become more manageable when you break them down. For that, you need to set milestones: what do you want to have achieved in 1 year? 5? 15 years? 25 years?
In 5 years you might want to dedicate yourself to stability: settling down and building your savings. Whereas in 15 years, you might be more concerned about investments in jewelry, stocks or bonds, and real estate.
There are no magic recipes or legal shortcuts to accumulating wealth. It comes through hard work, and smart financial decisions. Your wealth vision is not a wish list of your heart’s desires. It is an ideal projection of the outcome of your career or business development.
Your action plan is about how to make your money work for you. It is linked to the milestones you have set in your wealth vision. So, whatever goals you have for the next 5 years, you need to manage your earnings in such a way that you’re working towards those goals.
Based on how ambitious you are in your career or for your business, you should have an idea of your earnings throughout the years.
For instance, you’ve graduated in marketing and decide that in 5 years you would like to be at a senior position in your firm. In 15 years, you wish to be the head of the marketing department in a multinational like Nestlé.
Technically, you need to know the skills and the network that will take you there. Financially, you need to have an idea of how much you can aspire to earn at each position. That will give you a basis for your action plan.
Your plan will evolve throughout the years and is meant to be revised based on your achievements, and your setbacks.
There are so many temptations to get access to easy cash or for opportunities for embezzlement. We all remember last year’s scandal that involved a female deputy minister who admitted that she was going to use her political office to make $1 million. She was clearly okay with stealing state funds to fulfill her wealth vision. That didn’t take her far and will cause anyone more harm than good.
If you have dreams that don’t match your current status, your career, and your work ethics, those dreams will be farfetched….unless of course you have a thriving side business, you win the lottery, or you marry rich hoping your husband will give you his earnings. Most of these are not guaranteed options to meet your wealth goals.
To avoid taking unethical shortcuts, and pitfalls, get to know yourself: your strengths and skills, your career goals, and what or who you can count on. You also need to be realistic and focus on what you are actually able to achieve for yourself. Finally, you have to make a commitment to planning your finances in order to sustain your lifestyle.