A very large amount of material has been written about this important subject and for most people this is the furthest thing from their mind. Allot has to do with your current age, current marital status, number of children, amount of money you earn, your expenses and on and on.
The point is thinking and planning ahead is very personal and an individual thing based on many factors as indicated above. You need not think 45 to 65 years ahead which is extreme, however you should think ahead based upon what is reasonable for you and/or your kids, your business career, retirement, healthcare when you are older, purchase of a house, purchase of an auto, care for your parents, etc. Thinking and planning ahead will help you personally and considerably in accomplishing what you want your future to be like.
The ability to think long-term is a critical skill and only a few people realize this. When you talk to most people, one thing that you will notice is that many of them are caught up in the present. At the very best they may plan a few weeks or months into the future, but most people do not think long-term at all. Despite this, when you look at some of history’s most successful people, one thing that you will find is that many of them thought long-term, and planned for the future, as opposed to being caught up in the present.
There are a number of reasons why long-term thinkers tend to succeed when compared to those that tend to think more in the short term. For one, long-term thinkers are willing to make sacrifices in the present, sacrifices that most people would be unwilling to make. For example, it is commonly known among most people that it is wise and a prudent idea to save for one’s retirement, the day when they will choose to stop working. It is obvious why this is a good idea, as many of us do not want to work for the rest of our lives and many of us will not be able to once we reach a certain age. Despite this commonly known fact, statistics will show that most people do not save or invest for their retirement.
The reason for this is simple; most people think in the present and being able to plan for retirement requires a person to be a long-term thinker.
The essence of becoming a long-term thinker and planner is to spend more time thinking and planning about the future than the present or the past. While it is obvious that we must live in the present, being too caught up in the present without regard to the future will lead to a future which is lacking in what we want. The first step in becoming a long-term thinker is to start spending time thinking about your future goals. Ask yourself where would you like to be in five years, ten years, or twenty years. When you begin thinking like this, you are becoming what is called a long-term thinker. If you want to put away money for retirement then it makes sense to start saving for retirement today. If you have a child and you would like to see them attend college and get a quality education, then you will need to begin preparing them for their future today.
Planning for the future will require you to make sacrifices. To become a successful log-term thinker be prepared to make sacrifices today. Most people fail to save for their retirement or the education of their children because they are not willing to make sacrifices today which will allow them to have the future they want tomorrow.
How to start thinking long-term
Here are some ideas for increasing your long-term thinking and planning:
- Create a vision for what you want your life to look like in 5 years, 10 years and 20 years. A very effective way to do this is creating a vision.
- Write out specific goals for yourself. Goals serve as a road map for the future. Write out goals you want to accomplish for the next year, five years and ten years. You should then develop plans for achieving these goals. This is essential to get the most out of your career, finances, and leisure time.
- List your activities and prioritize them. What is most important to you. Decide what activities you can delegate or eliminate to give yourself more time to devote to what is really important to achieving your goals.
- Practice worse-case scenario planning. When you face an important decision write down a list of possible outcomes. Include in this list the worse-case scenario you can think of. Once you have done this, then consider ways to prevent these worse-case scenarios. This will help you broaden your prospective and achieve greater success.
Lon-term thinking is a form of risk management for life. By taking time to better prepare yourself, you increase your probability for success. Long-term thinking is essential for having a quality life as you grow older and the ability to provide a future for your children.