THE FUTURE knew differently a storm was coming around the next corner. It would be unexpected and devastating. He chuckled to himself poor human beings ill prepared for the tempest as usual, just what I like!
You do not know what the future holds; it can be prosperous, cruel or plain unlucky. Who knows, who has shuffled your deck?
One thing that can help to deal with surprises is being prepared and having different plans. In the 1st post of this series we covered planning a budget, the 2nd post covered investing with the future in mind.
In this 3rd post we are going to look at life planning and in particular "18 life rules" to help prepare for early retirement and life challenges.
Change is part of our Futures
Our Tribes future plans have changed many times and in many different ways down the years. Our ability to deal with these changes have a huge impact on how our life pans out. Lots of little decisions make a massive difference. Are there some traits / guidelines / rules that can help to make more right than wrong decisions?
What about me what are the decisions that changed my life. Were they the right ones?
First up out university. I wanted to go to a campus university far away from home. I consider this a good choice as it made me more independent.
On to the university bad choices, I spent too much money and racked up some debt. I did work in the holidays only to spend it on holidays..... The work I did take had nothing to do with my degree. These actions had the impact of NEEDING a job after university and TAKING a job NOT related to my degree.
The next good decision was that I tried several jobs befor landing a serious job. It was in the relatively new field of advanced supply chain planning systems and I got the opportunity to travel with work.
Money started coming in and going out straight away to pay for the student loan and new car (still going 12 years later in 2014 - good choice of car:). The bad choice was that spare money was for lots of fun, fun and fun.
Next a bit of luck - THE.CONTENDER met his wife to be - just the perfect match. We took things slowly at first then movied in with each other reducing our outgoings substantially.
What if some of the bad choices were not made - who knows. Perhaps they were good choices. Luck and chance play a big part in life. Here are some rules I should have followed at the time:
Our 18 Life Rules
- Don't linger on the past learn from it and move on.
- Learn something new (and varied) every day.
- Avoid Procrastination - whats stopping you get a to do list on a simple pad and get on with the tasks. They can seem hard work in our heads but actually more often that not are completed quickly
- Understand yourself who are you? what are you good at? What are you bad at? What are your passions? What do you dislike?
- Be proactive - has the boss ever asked for help - be the first to offer. Is there a problem to be addressed - do some brainstorming and propose some solutions
- Take some calculated risks - Without taking risks you are doomed to stay the same old you. Our move to France has a lot of challenges such as a new language for THE.CONTENDER and buying a property.
- Have a go - is what you are going to do life threatening, illegal, going to put you out on the street? Probably not so give it a go, somethings fail but if you are passionate enough about it and put in the hard work miracles can and do happen.
- If it isn't working (and you have tried very hard) move on. This may sound like an odd one in this list but sometimes letting go of a loosing proposition is the best course of action. Your company is shrinking and you have a real struggle to get promoted - move to a growing company. Shares in a company doing badly (run your winners sell your losers)
- Get married and have kids and spend time with your family - it puts a whole new outlook on life. Being single and care free = over consumerism, loneliness, unbalanced lifestyle (work can take over) - I'm sure there will be a few complaints about this one:)
- Read a book - turn off the gadgets and actually concentrate on one thing for a prolonged period of time - a book!
- Time alone - this doesn't mean sit is a dark cupboard - try meditation, lifting some weights. Just some time for your brain to relax
- Have some fun! Make time to have a laugh with the kids, make pizza with them and get covered in flour, throw a stick for the dog to catch, play with a ball of string with the cat. Focusing on good positive thoughts are self re-enforcing, these positive thoughts nurture pro-activity which encourages you to over come procrastination to make the changes for the better in your life.
- Plan for the future - do not think about it every day schedule a time once a month in the calendar to have a look at how you are doing and what are the next steps.
- Wait and Save before buying - is it critical you your well being such as health, food, shelter, water, income if not do you really need it. If you do need it and it can wait save for it first!
- Avoid negative people - Being happy go lucky, smiling, full of life, humor, fun - don't you just love people like this they make you feel alive and that you can conquer anything. Compare that to a selfish, egotistic, narcissistic showoff.... no competition really befriend the first person and stay away from the second.
- Ask questions and listen - Isn't it nice asking people how they are, what have they been up to? Doesn't it make them feel important and valued? It is a great way to learn something new, learn about a different way of thinking or culture - you may even find out that they need some help or someone to talk to or you can tell them about what's keeping you awake at night.
- Save now to reap the benefits later - the average person has a long life in the West so you can expect to at least live into your seventies. It's really your choice if you want to forgo spending now which will most likely result in debt (debt is a call on your productive time for someone else gain) versus saving and reaping the passive income rewards in the future and hopefully early retirement
- Appreciate nature and the simple things in life - have you ever seen the film American Beauty where a home video is shown of the autumn leaves being blown around in the wind? Looking at and getting out in nature is wonderful. To further the example of the leaves the shear joy on the face of our 12 month child kicking fallen leaves is priceless.
Applying the rules to the Tribe
Now we have plans for the next 5 years and an idea of what we have on the horizon in THE FUTURE.
- We decided where we wanted to live - see post CALP! Where to Live in Early Retirement?
- We have and still are learning how to invest - see post Investment Challenges
- We have considered the additional real world education we would like our children to learn. See posts: 10 Education Topics for Financial & Intellectual Freedom and Daddy CONTENDER a Financial Frugality Case Study of Bringing up Baby
- What will we do with all of the business skills we have developed down the years 10 Career Skills for Early Retirement
- Continue to be charitable Early Retirement at 36 - Charity Time
- We will Contribute to the community we live in
- We will keep ourselves in good health Keeping the tribe healthy
We all have the tools to change our lives here are three ideas on life planning for today:
- Why not write down what you want to achieve in the next year after that what about next 10 years and finally 10+ years time frames.
- Any immediate issues and concerns to address now? Start a to do list if you don't have one write down the actions and start crossing them off.
- Make a list of past achievements and key milestones in your life - keep them positive only. Review them a few days later or when you need a pick me up.
We live on a beautiful planet and have a finite time to fully enjoy its beauty plan how you want to max out life today
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