Adulting: How To Plan For The Future

how to plan for the future

Don’t know how to plan for the future? How far ahead should you really be planning your life? 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, maybe 10 years? What is the right amount of time to plan out for and how should one go about doing it well?

An optimal amount of time to plan out into the future is three years. It provides you with enough time to create and instill habits, lifestyle changes, and also pursue professional changes or developments. Life is constantly changing. Remember to leave flexibility for going with the flow and adjusting your plans when necessary.

Keep reading to see just what you should be planning for within those three years.

Assess Where You Are Currently

When planning for the future begin with taking stock of where you are in life. What have you learned or accomplished? Who have you grown to care for and who have you helped? Why have you decided to get on the path you currently follow? How is your life and are you happy with it?

What type of life and lifestyle do you want to have in three years?

Asking yourself these questions helps you understand yourself better. The more thorough the questions, usually the better.

Take your time with this process. It is extremely important and serves as the basis of your whole planning process. And most of all, be honest and realistic with yourself. You will only be hindering yourself otherwise.

Determine Where You Want To Be

The next step is to figure out where you want to be at the end of the next three years. This is where you take the assessment you made of yourself today and compare it to the life and lifestyle you want to have in three years.

The gap or missing aspects become the goals that you set for yourself. Below I will give examples categorized by personal, professional, and financial goals. Note that there are many different ways you can categorize your goals. I am just choosing these three categories because it works best for me. You do what works best for you.

Plan To Close The Gap

Do your research into how you can close the gap. This is your plan for yourself. The plan that you create should be a process that makes the “you” of today into the “you” of the future.

Set Personal Goals

This is where you start laying the groundwork for becoming the type of person you want to be. Are you lacking in emotional intelligence? Do you want to have more friends? Do you want to be married in three years?

The plan you create for your personal life should be an honest and challenging pathway for you to pursue.

Set Professional Goals

Do you want a title bump or to be at a certain salary within three years? What are the steps toward making that happen? This is where you can once again do your research so you can know what is required of you. Therefore you can better plan for how you are going to achieve this goal.

Maybe you are a salesperson, and during your research, you see that people who get a title bump within three years consistently surpass their expected sales by 200% each year. That means that you will need to start figuring out a plan for yourself that will put you in the best position to make 200% above your sales target consistently.

Below are some common professional goals that might be of interest to you. Remember the idea is to understand the difference between where you are now and where you want to be in three years. Then make a plan to close that gap.

  • Take a course to further your skills
  • Improve your presentation and public speaking skills
  • Build your professional network and gain a mentor
  • Lead a major team project

Set Financial Goals

1 Month BufferMaintenance Fund For TechnologyNew Home Fund
6 Month Emergency FundMax Out 401(k)Monthly Contribution to Index Funds
Small Medical FundMax Out Roth IRAMonthly Contribution to Crypto
3-year Financial Goals

If in three years I want to be able to accomplish the above, I have to come up with a plan that helps me do so. I begin with educating myself on these topics and doing the basic foundational work to improve my financial literacy.

A lot can be learned in a three-year timeline especially when it comes to money.

Do you know where it is usually best to begin?

… Budgeting…

It is probably best to begin your financial journey by learning about and creating your own budget. A budget is such an integral and necessary tool when building financial literacy. Because without a proper budget that you follow, achieving any other financial goals become a lot harder.

If you are interested, in learning more about budgeting and what software I swear by for new adults, check out the article linked below.

Read More: 5 Reasons Why YNAB Is My Favorite Adulting Tool

So, once you have an understanding of budgeting, you can now use your budget as a conduit through which you reach your financial goals. For example, one of my goals is to build a one-month buffer for myself.

I can accomplish this by budgeting for a portion of my paycheck to be used to fund that particular goal. Let’s say I budget to set aside $100 each month. I keep doing that until I have reached the one-month buffer amount that I want.

I then move on to the next financial goal which in this case is building a six-month emergency fund. If interested, I have written a very detailed how-to guide on building an emergency fund so check it out below. It should definitely be a part of your planning for the future as a new adult.

Read More: How To Create An Emergency Fund As A Young Adult

At the end of the day, if you want to build your financial literacy and grow your wealth then you must seek out opportunities to learn about them. See if your school, work, or local library offers financial literacy workshops that you can attend. Some local banks offer free workshops as well. And of course, you can see what Adulting Starts Here has to offer you. The opportunities to learn are plentiful. You just have to seek them out.

Track Your Progress

Once you have your goals figured out, find somewhere to place them where you will often see them. Readily seeing the goals you have in life will help you put things into perspective. You can better see if you are taking on too many changes at one time or trying to accomplish too much at one time.

Remember, your plan for the future should not be an overnight list of everything you want to improve upon. It should be a long-term strategy that requires consistent small changes and improvements that last throughout your lifetime.

What are thoughts? What are you doing to plan for your future? Share in the comments below!

Best of luck adulting!

And Remember,

Adulting Starts Here

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