I plan because I do not plan to fail! If you have goals, you need a plan to make it happen. A budget is a form of a plan. Why budget? A budget is supposed to help you achieve your financial goals. More people spend more time planning a party than their lives! If you do not see the need for planning, you probably do not have goals, direction, focus, attribute luck for any results and not accountable for anything!
Would you travel across the country without a map? I know some would and have! If you have a lot of time and you do not need to be anywhere in particular, it may even be fun. You still may want to book motel rooms because they may all be booked. How can you do that if you do not know where you will be on any particular day? How do know how much it will cost or how long you will travel? Questions, best answered before you start!
Planning can be detailed to know exactly when and where you start and end. You can plan every day and what you will do. Since is cost and time are always important, you need to plan certain parts of the trip. Is it a two (2) week vacation or part of a grand fulfillment of a bucket list? In either case, a little planning will make it a better trip. This is also true of life. Goals, plans and holding yourself accountable are an excellent way to make sure you will achieve what you want out of life.
You first opportunity is your education. I am not talking about college or some other post secondary training. High school is not just an assortment of requirements that your counselor checks off for graduation. Meeting those requirements is similar to getting a “C” on a class. A “C” is a grade that indicates you met minimum requirements in the class. Achieving C’s in high school means you will attend community college to raise your grades so you can finish at a four year university.
What does a lot of C’s indicate about you? What would an employer think about your skills if you only achieved C’s? In this competitive environment, employers can hire the best people and the C students get what is left. What would your transcript reveal about you to an employer? Are your classes rigorous or remedial? Are you college prep or just getting through high school? For all those non students, you should demonstrate skills and abilities in a class, sport or organization in high school.
How can you make high school work for you? A little planning and you can achieve much more. It all starts in high school where you determine if you will become successful or not. Good grades are not enough! Successful people start to show their characteristics in high school by doing more than what is expected. You involve yourself in sports, organizations or use opportunities to demonstrate you skills and abilities. Does this require some planning? Absolutely and it should start in your freshman year.
Why should you plan your high school years? Employers hire people who they think will succeed. You can demonstrate success in school by learning skills that employers want. It doesn’t stop with high school either! College or post secondary training is another opportunity to demonstrate your skills. Every profession has continuing education and training whether formal or not. Employers want to know you can learn and apply your skills. The best employers who will pay the highest wages and benefits usually go after the best students.
When I started my career, I wanted to work for the very best companies. Your first five (5) years is when you learn most of your skills. The next step is up to you! I had a plan to join a Fortune 100 company. They offered the highest salaries, best benefits and training! In addition, it is a huge plus to have the name on your resume for your next opportunity. All your future raises are based on what you earned last! For those reasons alone, it affects your entire career.
There has been a lot written about whether college is worth it or not. It doesn’t stop there! Should you attend a public or private university? What degree you should get and where you should live? If you demonstrate in college the skills and training employers want, you can land a great job at some of the best companies out there. All it takes is planning and execution! I went to a small college and I was on the Dean’s list. I demonstrated my skills with mundane summer jobs that taught me a great deal.I wrote an article called Do Your Resume Backwards, which addresses the acquisition of skills and experience you need or want to get your next job.
My career went from large Fortune 100 experience in finance and accounting to a much smaller environment where I could demonstrate my skills. I had a plan to ready myself for my eventual break to financial freedom and small business. While I was working as a controller, Vice President of Finance and eventually Chief Financial Officer, I was investing and growing a business. I was working my plan and achieving results. Without it, I never would have achieved so much so early. You can too with a plan!
I normally do not like to give specific advice regarding personal lives because everyone is different. Planning your life does not mean it is planned out! Part of my planning was using a set of principles such as saving, living within my means and doing my best in everything I did. My career was the best source of wealth to help me plan my future. A high salary, bonus, profit sharing and outstanding benefits provide security and a good base to grow. My children were born during those years and it cost zero out of pocket.
When we bought our first home, I made sure the mortgage payment did not exceed one week’s salary and I looked for an undervalued (fixer) property. The result was very affordable and it appreciated (doubled in value) in less than three (3) years! This allowed us to move up to a larger better home, but I still kept the mortgage payment equal to one week’s salary. Savings were always a priority and provided the start of investing in income property.
Success is not only financial! My parents were always very busy with their businesses and never had time for me. I made my family a priority! I sacrificed by going to work early so I could have dinner with the family. My wife worked part time when my children were young so she could be with them most of the time, but still stay engaged as a RN. When she worked, I took over. We still did a lot of things with our children such as trips to the museum, library, reading, playing games and much more.
Planning is not a corporate job, but a necessary part of life. By not planning, you are planning to fail! Planning is not perfect, but it is a way of thinking about what you want to do before you do it. I see it similar to going to a bus stop where multiple (different destination) buses come and go and you just get on the next one thinking it will get you where you want to go. Planning means you have a goal and you have a plan to achieve it.
Planning your education, career or personal life is just setting goals and developing a plan to achieve the goals. It may or may not be financial. My wife and planned how we were going to raise our children. We made other plans too, some were financial and others were not. We worked together achieve the goals together. Now that our children are grown, we are starting to plan the rest of our lives. We already have our retirement savings, but what will we do? Plan, of course! How is your plan?
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