From the time we’re little kids, we’re shaped and molded to get prepared to be upstanding, productive adults. But sometimes, “adulting” gets so hectic and busy that we forget that we need to continue preparing for the future.
When you were young, it may have seemed like the end goal of life was finding a good career and providing for your family. Now that you’re there, you realize there’s still a lot of future to plan for!
From protecting your family in case anything happens to you, to readying your assets for retirement, you have a lot to do.
There’s no need to get overwhelmed, though. These seven steps will help you better prepare for your future, so you can enjoy today to its fullest!
1. Never Stop Learning
This step is number one, although it continues throughout every other part of your life. You may have a degree and a career you’re passionate about, but the world keeps on expanding.
Knowledge is forever changing and evolving. To stay relevant in your field and keep growing mentally, it’s important to always seek out new information.
You don’t necessarily have to go back to college (again), but you should always be reading about, listening, and absorbing the world around you.
As Oscar Wilde said, “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”
2. Expand Your Network
Talking to other professionals, no matter their career, gives you another line of people in your network. You might not need them now, but you never know what life is going to throw at you.
Those connections lead to other people in a “six degrees of separation” type of spider web. Your reputation of knowledge and character will follow you as you build your network.
Every connection should show the reputation you’re trying to establish for yourself. Demonstration of character is an ongoing process that lasts until you die.
3. Donate Your Time
In your busy schedule, it can be hard to see where you can squeeze a few hours in and volunteer somewhere.
Volunteering often starts out as another task on your to-do list. However, there are so many benefits to doing something to help other people. As humans, we seem to be at our happiest when we’re making others happy. If you’re serious about personal growth and preparing for your future, find a way to volunteer.
If a hands-on, outside volunteer job isn’t feasible, there are other ways you can donate your time. Lend an ear to a co-worker or a patient outside of working hours. Use your network to connect people who could use each other’s knowledge or talents.
Any kind of physical effort made to help someone else is volunteering. You’ll feel great when you do!
4. Protect Your Assets
Personal and future growth isn’t all mental or physical. You need to protect your finances, too, and keep building that retirement nest egg.
The foundational ways to do this include starting a diverse portfolio, like a 401(k) and mutual funds, and having a good health insurance policy. But you can protect your assets with other, simple methods.
Taking out a life insurance policy in the event of death should be a priority. That way, your family is cushioned enough to deal with their grief before they have to worry about finances.
Having disability insurance coverage in case you’re seriously injured or have a chronic illness is the next important step. If you can’t work, you’ll have to break into your nest egg to cover your bills. Physician’s Thrive explains the types of disability insurance available much more here.
5. Set Goals
Clear goals for every aspect of your future guide you as you take each step in life. When you sit down to picture your targets, consider both micro and macro goals.
Don’t just set a goal and move on. As you decide where you want to be in six months, two years, and further down the line, create action steps to get you there.
Then, schedule a plan to circle back and check on your progress. As you continue to review your goals and the progress you’ve made, you’ll be more responsible about each life choice you make.
6. Improve Your EQ
Not too long ago, the best jobs revolved around IQ. The smarter the individual, the better their chances of getting hired.
Today’s employers understand that you can be a genius, but if you don’t have EQ—emotional intelligence,— you’re not going to be a good employee.
Having a strong EQ not only helps you in your career, but it strengthens all your relationships. You learn to understand other people and why they do what they do. Even better, you begin to really get to know yourself, too.
As you continue to increase your EQ, your future possibilities expand.
7. Keep Your Pulse on Your Industry’s Growth
Technology in every industry has exploded over the past two decades. The world as we know it looks nothing like it did twenty years ago. And, at the pace we’re moving, it will continue to evolve.
A lot of people have found themselves in careers that are now obsolete. If your industry is one that could be impacted by technology, it’s essential that you keep your pulse on the changes.
By evolving with the industry, you’ll be more likely to shift as it grows and keep your job. If you refuse to accept change, though, as soon as you see the new adaptations coming, you can do what you need to do to find another career.
What a lot of people don’t realize is that we are always building our futures. Whether we do it actively or passively, the result is still the same. The only difference is that when you actively work on growing and preparing for your future, you have the control to make it an amazing one!