Six Tips For Your Future Self
Dear Future Self,
If you’re reading this you’ve probably spent the last five or ten years working on all those plans I laid out for you, and no doubt, messing up a few of them, getting rid of some, and adding others too. But now that you’ve been through all that you have, I just want to give you some advice. Things you know you know, but ignore anyway.
- Retirement – Keep on contributing to our retirement plan. Seriously, don’t touch it! Not until you are ready to retire anyway. We spent a lot of time budgeting and saving for our retirement and the interest is compounding. So if you should borrow from it then we’ll end up with much less than we planned to have. Resist the temptation, and instead, keep adding to it. And as your salary increases, remember to increase the amount you contribute, even if it’s just 1% each year.
- It’s time to increase the percentage of your salary that goes into savings since your salary has increased. Our retirement contribution isn’t the only thing that needs to be increased over time. The amount required for your emergency savings is a percentage of your income, and your investments, and general savings need to increase as well. Make adjustments with life events like marriage, moving, switching jobs or having kids.
- It’s time to move all that savings from our regular bank account to a long term investment with great returns. First of all, congratulations on not using all our savings on “emergencies” and using the emergency savings for exactly what it’s meant for. Now that we have all that money saved in our bank account, it’s time to put it to work. Yes, it’s earning interest but it can do so much more. Instead, invest that money in stocks, bonds, treasury bills, or commercial paper and get even better returns. And talk to your investment advisor about collective investments like a managed or a unit trust. They can open doors to opportunities otherwise unavailable.
- You should be almost out of debt by now. Don’t dig the debt hole any deeper. By the way, are the student loans all cleared now? If you are still in debt, please take care of that as soon as possible. If not, create a realistic plan to repay all debt. Create a spending plan for when all that debt is gone to prevent it from happening again and remember there’s no need to do it alone so talk to an investment advisor.
- If you’re still good at painting, go get that extra money. I just sold one of my watercolor paintings from art class! I didn’t make much but can you imagine the extra money you could be making now if you apply yourself to it. Or maybe you’ve gotten better at baking, tutoring, or maybe there’s some new skill even. Make the most of your skills, offer them to others at a good price and earn extra income. Use this to help clear debt, add to your investments or reinvest into your side job.
- Live for today, prepare for tomorrow. Don’t forget to work for what you need and remember to have fun. It’s great to plan for the future (even better when we stick to the plan) but don’t allow that to get in the way of enjoying today. Make short term goals, treat yourself now and again, invest in yourself and take care of yourself. Staying healthy and happy means you’ll spend less time and money fixing problems caused by neglecting yourself. Feel free to edit our goals and dreams but don’t kill them. Improve on them and keep working on them.
Now that you’re older and wiser, why not leave some good advice for your future self.
Your Awesome Younger Self.