Most young professionals that I know are smart, fun, and extremely dedicated to their craft. Young professionals struggled to obtain positions during and after the recession, and they continue to struggle to gain notoriety and progress through the ranks. These struggles continue to motivate millennials to prove their worth and devote large sums of time and energy to their employer’s goals. However, millennials are also extremely interested in their personal lives and value a work/life balance.
With work and personal experiences driving the majority of our time and energy, little time is left to contemplate the individual investments required to succeed in today’s world. Too many young professionals believe that simply performing the required tasks will be enough to propel one to success. In order to invest in their future success, individuals need to contemplate investing in the following three items.
- Invest in relationships.
Building relationships is not an easy task. It takes years to cultivate relationships and then transfer them into business. Here are a few simple guidelines to help you start.
- Join a social club or professional society. Find a smaller group—preferably doing something you enjoy—to start with, and build your circle out from there.
- Build relationships with people of all ages. More seasoned professionals can provide experience and insight, while younger professionals will be the leaders of tomorrow.
- Attend some professional networking events. These gatherings can sometimes be awkward or uncomfortable, but it is vital to step out of your comfort zone to develop communication skills and relationships.
- Focus on your impact. It does not benefit you to attend many different events and have no impact on them, individually. Start small by joining a few events or clubs, while consistently attending. Having impact will help you gain trust and respect among others in your circles.
2. Invest in your personal wealth.
Many young professionals focus on the financial details of either their clients or their company, while losing focus on their personal finances. Taking control of your personal finances is essential to your long term success. Here are some helpful tools that can keep your finances in check.
- Creating a budget seems like an obvious suggestion, but it is absolutely crucial to your financial success and helps dictate your entire portfolio. There should be a detailed account of your finances in order to obtain the appropriate conclusions about how to succeed.
- Invest at least up to the maximum contribution your employer matches in your company’s employee retirement plan. This is an easy way to save and it has the added benefit of additional income from your employer.
- Employee retirement plans have great benefits such as tax incentives and potential for long term growth. They also come with some downfalls including reduced options, restrictions and penalties for early withdrawal, and potentially higher investment fees.
- These plans typically range between 4% – 12% of your income. You should be saving and investing upwards of 15% – 23% of your gross income. In order to save the remaining income, additional strategies will have to be taken.
- Set up a self-directed brokerage account. These accounts are easy to set up and allow you to select the investments that cater to your needs. If you do not understand the security exchange market, setting yourself up on an index fund, such as the Vanguard 500, is a great way to save that additional percentage of income while having the bonus of gaining added value.
- Keep a portion of your savings as cash. Liquidity is important in handling unforeseen circumstances or taking advantage of investment opportunities as they arise.
3. Invest in your health.
You will spend years developing your investments in the first two items, but if your health deteriorates, you can never turn those relationships into opportunities and you can never out-save the cost of medical procedures. Take the time to invest in your health and consider a few of the following tips.
- Get 8 hours of sleep. Sleeping helps maintain mental and physical health.
- Exercise regularly. Research has shown that exercise is effective in reducing diseases such as heart disease, stroke, Parkinson’s, and other serious illnesses.
- Start a diet. Eliminate sugars and trans fats. Drink up to 50 percent of your body weight in ounces of water, daily. (A person weighing 180 pounds should drink 90 ounces of water per day.)
- Maintain good posture to keep your spine healthy and operating effectively.
The items on this list are simple, but it is most often the simple details that are overlooked. Stay vigilant and make sure that these three items are in your personal investment portfolio. They are crucial in helping to lead you to personal growth and professional success!
Taylor Harmon, CPA
Thomas Howell Ferguson P.A.