Every year, more and more young adults finish school or their degrees and enter the workforce. These young professionals face numerous challenges such as finding employment, entering into contracts on their own, and the most pressing of all – dealing with financial pressure.
What financial topics are young professionals most interested in? To answer this, we conducted a mini poll and interestingly, we found that the most prevalent question for a young professional is: Where do I start?
I will answer this question by using an analogy. In 2020, after hard lockdown, a friend of mine asked if I wanted to attempt to run a marathon. To say I was unfit at the time was an understatement. This is how, I believe, young professionals feel when they enter the work force. Completely unprepared. Where do you start?
I propose you adopt Steven Covey’s approach and “start with the end in mind”. My goal was to run 42.2km and yours, to retire eventually. Do you know that only 6% of South Africans retire comfortably? That is shocking. Don’t be a statistic, be an example.
Once you have decided on your goal, you need the right gear. For me it was high mileage running shoes to avoid blisters and injuries. For you it would be to get the appropriate risk cover in place to ensure that you are still contributing towards retirement even if you cannot work as a result of disability.
The next step would be to break up your goal in manageable chunks. I ran shorter distances during the week and tackled longer runs on the weekends. I propose that you consider your investment objectives over the short, medium and long-term. In other words, saving for a holiday trip is in 1 to 3 years, or having to purchase a new car in 3 to 5 years or saving for retirement for the next 20 years. I know we millennials roll our eyes when hearing the word “Budget” but frankly, its importance cannot be over-emphasized. Sticking to your budget allows you to practice discipline and ultimately results in achieving your goals.
Finally, after 5 grueling months, D-Day was upon us. On the 28th of November, 2020, we started our run at 4 o’clock in the morning. The earlier you start, the better. The same applies to you, young professional, implement your plans early. Remember the terrain is not smooth, we had mountains to climb and valleys to go through. Life happens, things go wrong. Markets rise and fall. There could be periods of slow growth but do not let that deter you from contributing and saving diligently. It took us 7 hours to complete our race, but we completed it. Isn’t that what matters?
It would not have been possible if it was not for the following:
- Consistency; and
- A coach
It is vital to understand that having goals are great, but knowing what your goals are, will not get you there. You need an executable plan that you follow diligently that will empower you to attain them. Consistently implementing the plan will get you there. Consistency breeds discipline. Discipline produces results.
I would not have known how to train, I needed someone knowledgeable in my corner. You need an advisor. An advisor, or coach, is not only someone who shows you the way, they keep you on the course. It has been proven that there is indeed value to having an advisor. As with any long-term endeavor, such a process takes time and commitment… and a Coach that holds you accountable.