Sunday, December 7, 2014

Do We Plan for the Future?

I’m reminded of the old saying “we can’t choose where and when we are born, but we can choose how we live.”
There has always been unemployment and individual suffering throughout the globe – but in the late 20th Century there was a time when life-time employment was offered by many organisations, and though this didn’t offer luxury, it offered a form of personal security. Maybe because of the suffering most countries endured during the World Wars and the need to rebuild, there was a conscious selflessness at the time to build a ‘home’ economy that would support the masses. Even more interesting is that two of the best economies to emerge from WWII weren’t from the victors but from the vanquished, i.e. Germany and Japan.
The recent global financial crisis has affected everyone and has forced many countries, businesses and individuals to re-assess how they view their futures. We will all know of people who have lost their jobs, know of people who are still struggling to find work and will have seen our disposable income decline. So what can we learn from these recent events?
Probably the most important lesson is something we all know, but seem to be bad at ‘owning’ when things go bad – and that is that economies and businesses operate in cycles. Just as products have life-cycles so do economies, businesses and ultimately (and obviously) so do we.
Planning for the future involves planning your career, it involves planning your financial security and always having a plan b, c, and d. There will already be a huff and a puff from some, who will highlight that you have to have a good job before you can even consider thinking of financial security – since when you are living from hand-to-mouth, financial security is just a dream rather than a reality.
But I would challenge that thinking – self-fulfilling prophecies will never disappoint and if you believe that you can never get out of your ‘hole’ – whether that’s being trapped in a job, or trapped in a low-income, higher expenditure cycle, then you won’t get out. But that doesn’t mean you’ve made the right decision.
Futures are defined by opportunity and attitude. Opportunities will always present themselves – but not necessarily when you want them too. You just have to be open to both seeing opportunities and creating your own opportunities. We’re not talking about million dollar deals – just opportunities to advance your career and your financial earnings.
Attitude is part nature and part nurture. If you’re born into a family that doesn’t believe there is any hope to succeed at anything – when it’s unlikely you will, at least until you’re old enough and hopefully strong enough to challenge that hypothesis – though sadly for many, by the time they are old enough to challenge the negative thinking, it is way too late to do anything.
For those born into this group, it’s up to you to stop the cycle and give your kids hope and ambition to move up and out of the cycle of despair. There are plenty of success stories around the globe, but ‘future success’ needs to be driven from the parents at the child’s early stage of development when beliefs are being formed.
For the rest, you have to realise that a career is a journey and quite a long journey. It is highly unlikely that it will develop as quickly as you would like and you need to be prepared for ups and downs – never losing sight of your own personal career goals. As soon as you give up on your future, then don’t expect anything more than what you have – until you reignite the ‘fire’ and find that positive attitude that will drive you forward.
Careers are not easy and have to be constantly worked at. Even in the large multi-nationals where promotion after so many years is often guaranteed, you still have to work hard and identify and create opportunities that can fast-track your dreams.
Finally, I remember my Mother telling me when I was around 8 years old that my aim in life should be to save enough to be able to live off the interest – but with global interest rates being so low, being able to save enough to live off the interest is an impossibility, expect for a very, very few who can earn mega-millions within certain professions. So building a solid financial foundation that you can build your life and retirement on becomes a core personal goal – best developed when you are young and worst started today. So planning your career should go hand-in hand with a solid financial plan in order to make the most of life and minimise the need to struggle when times get tough.

No comments:

Post a Comment