Is 2022 the Year You Put Your Future Self First?
This time of year, we hear many people talking about their resolutions and goals for the current year, which is excellent, but what about 20, 30, or even 40 years from now? We spend so much time thinking about our current needs and goals, but not as much about what we want the future to look like.
At AZTEC Financial Group, we have a few tips for anyone wondering what they can do right now to help ensure their future selves are financially secure. And, since it’s ski season, we thought it would be fitting to compare financial planning to one of Eric Wasson’s favorite sports…skiing!
- Commit to Investing in Your Future Self.
Yes, you have bills to pay and unexpected financial obligations will come up from time to time. However, if you make a conscious decision to put aside some money to save at the beginning of each month, you will have much better results than if you wait and see what’s left at the end of each month. In fact, in most cases, if you wait to see what’s left at the end of the month – there won’t be anything!
By starting your commitment to saving for your future as soon as possible, you’ll have more time to reach your goals and to make up for any financial hiccups throughout your life. By identifying your future goals for how you want to live in retirement now and putting some strategies in place to get there, you can set yourself up for Independence.
In Ski Terms: For example, someone who wants to be a professional ski racer will need to start when they are relatively young and train regularly to build strength and skills over time. You can’t just decide one day that you’re going to be a professional skier at 65 and expect to be an Olympic gold medalist! You need to make a lifetime commitment to learning the sport, identify what types of races you want to be in, figure out your strengths and weaknesses over time, and train regularly to be the best you can be.
Similarly, saving for your future should start as soon as possible. Once you’ve committed to building your savings, you need to figure out what strategies make the most sense based on your tolerance for risk and your preferences. You may try different things over time and find you prefer certain types of investments over others, and eventually, you’ll find a strategy that works best for helping you pursue your financial goals.
- Take the Time to Develop a Long-term Plan.
At AZTEC Financial Group, we encourage planning for the future so you’re prepared for obstacles and challenges as they occur throughout your life. Investing on your own is a great first step, but without a solid understanding of the markets, and a long-term strategy, you may make the wrong decisions when the market fluctuates – because it will do so repeatedly.
In Ski Terms: Any skier knows that planning for the weather is a challenge, but it’s necessary. The temperature and severity of weather at the bottom of the mountain may be entirely different than at the peak, and you need to consider that when deciding what to wear and bring with you for a day on the slopes. Then there’s the added risk of physical injury due to the nature of the sport. You’re flying downhill at high speeds along with a bunch of other people, sometimes on pure ice.
You can’t just show up to the mountain in jeans and a sweatshirt and some cotton gloves and strap your skis on, hoping for the best. You need to have the right gear – a helmet, goggles, waterproof gloves, a waterproof and windproof jacket and pants, and a moisture-wicking base layer – so you’re prepared for whatever happens on the mountain. It’s also a good idea to have a friend with you, so you have someone looking out for you in the case of an emergency.
The same goes for when you make a decision to start investing. You can’t just start investing in random stocks and funds without doing research on current trends and past performance. It’s also beneficial to have an advisor aiming to ensure you’re putting your money in the right places and not making fast decisions based on a lack of understanding of how the markets work.
- Remember: Practice Makes Perfect.
When you take the time to research different types of investment strategies, you’ll gain a better understanding of what makes the most sense for you, and what will get you the best results based on your goals. Otherwise, you’re really just guessing, and that can be risky. Having someone to guide you when you are first learning can be beneficial as well.
In Ski Terms: There are many different types of skiers, some of which are more aggressive than others. Some are new to the sport, while others have been skiing for years. Investing in a lesson or two is always recommended, so you learn the right way from the start. As with any sport, the more you do it, the more comfortable you become. And with this increased comfort level, you become better at the sport, and you are more in tune with the type of skier you are.
Black diamonds aren’t for everyone, and that’s okay. Just like there are more aggressive skiers, there are more aggressive investment strategies, and there are strategies that are far less risky. Many people fall somewhere in between, and it really all depends on your individual goals and how near or far to retirement you are. But no matter what, you will get better results with practice, research, and with someone to help guide you along the way.
So, will this be the year you put your future self first? We hope so! Your future self will thank you!
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.