One challenge of living a good life is learning how to balance the realities of today with what lies ahead. In other words, it’s important to live in the present, yet wise to also plan for the future. Change is always around the corner, whether of our own making or due to the course of time. You owe it to your future self to consider what you’d like the next chapter of your life to be. Here are four ways to constructively think ahead.
1. Be intentional. Take time to articulate what you hope to experience in the next phase of your life. Whether you envision your future to include starting your own business, moving to a new job or new career, dedicating more time to volunteer work or entering into a secure retirement—it’s all good. The more detailed you can be, the better. There’s something empowering and motivating about naming your goals and claiming them for yourself. You only have one life, so give yourself the opportunity to reach for the experiences that will be most meaningful to you and bring you a sense of fulfillment that money can’t buy.
2. Make saving an ongoing priority. When change comes along, it’s easier to take a leap of faith with a financial safety net in place. Regular contributions to savings in various forms—bank accounts, Certificates of Deposit, IRAs and employer-sponsored retirement plans, mutual funds, stocks and bonds—all can help you weather potential financial hiccups or storms that may arise, not to mention their importance for the day your working and earning life comes to a close. Make saving a regular activity and turn it into muscle memory that you’ll be more likely to flex in the event of a windfall.
3. Stay covered. Insurance is a product we all should have, yet hope we never have to use. Your insurance needs will change over time, making it especially important to periodically review your coverage levels. Homeowner’s, auto and even health insurance are required by law, but don’t stop there. Disability and life insurance policies, as well as annuities designed to provide a reliable income stream, may give you peace of mind that you and your loved ones can have financial security if the unexpected occurs. A will and health directives are also helpful documents that can make life easier under difficult circumstances.
4. Establish a solid plan. Change can be scary, but it also is what keeps life interesting and exciting. You can give yourself a better chance of succeeding in the next phase of life by establishing financial guardrails. With a well-defined path to help guide saving and investing, you will have a clear framework for your financial life that also reflects your personal mission. Work with a qualified financial advisor to create a savings and retirement plan designed to help you reach your goals at all of the stages of life. Once your plan is in place, revisit it on a regular basis with your advisor to ensure it takes your changing life circumstances and needs into account.
William “Drew” Watson CFP® is a Financial Advisor and Private Wealth Advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. in Owensboro, KY. He specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for 20 years. To contact us by phone, please call 270-684-8424 or by mail at 111 West 3rd St, Owensboro, KY 42303. You may also visit our website at www.williamawatson.com.