Planning for your future is undoubtedly an imposing task – terrifying, even. When there are so many options ahead of you, narrowing down to a single path, a single life, can feel like so many other potential lives are passing you by. But planning is essential, not just to give you direction but also to give you the best possible chance of success. In a country more hostile to social mobility than ever before, making something of your life requires more energy than ever before. But where do you start?
Start With a List
Any major life planning should start with a simple list. This isn’t to enshrine your ideas immutably, or to set a hard course for anything specific; this is an opportunity to refine your thinking about your future, and to identify roughly what it is that you want out of your life. It is all too easy to fall into the trap of making plans towards milestones you feel you should be targeting – but what if you want something different?
You might have some clear-cut goals, in relation to your ideal mode of work. You might have some personal aspirations, such as to raise a family or to travel the world. Whatever they are, and however pie-in-the-sky they seem, they should make your list. With a framework for understanding what is important to you, you can start making tangible steps to incorporating them as part of your reality.
Decide Your Savings Route
From a practical standpoint, you will need to address the financial side of the equation early. Certain aspirations – as we will discuss shortly – come with certain salary expectations, while other life plans and milestones come with their own costs and consequences. You’ll want to prime yourself for both, so that your money is working as hard as it can for you.
One of the better ways to engage with savings is to look into ISAs. ISA stands for Individual Savings Account; ISAs enjoy unique qualities over other savings vessels, such as tax exemption on interest or gains earned through them. Lifetime ISAs, or LISAs, are particularly useful if you want to buy a house; money saved in a LISA is topped up by government subsidy, up to £1000 per year, provided the money is spent on property or used towards retirement.
Career and Aspirations
Of course, the money that you intend to save needs to come from somewhere – which brings us to the career side of the equation. Matching your personal interests and skills with a viable route of employment can sometimes be difficult, particularly in industries that have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic and recent economic crises.
Qualification is the most robust route to securing a liveable wage, and a useful place to start in a majority of instances. In order to climb up the ranks in your ideal career, what qualifications might be helpful? Would extra-curricular training improve your chances? These questions have different answers for everyone, but your answers will give you a clear route to an equitable professional career.