When I was growing up, I wanted to be a stockbroker because I had the perception that stockbrokers made tons of money. I eventually made a goal to make a 6 figure salary. No age goal, no specific amount. It was simply an arbitrary 6 figures I wanted to make.
I achieved the 6 figure salary goal in my 20s. Now in my mid 30s, I continue to earn 6 figures to this day as a VP, Digital Marketing, a field I absolutely enjoy and for a company for which the company culture is a perfect fit. Just as importantly I continue to learn and improve my soft skills such as leadership, presentation, and communication (managing up).
But, now what?
All this made me realize is that I was getting comfortable with lifestyle inflation.
Achieving the insignificance of a salary goal meant I needed to be even smarter about my finances.
These are 4 of the biggest lessons I learned along the way
- Set financial goals – the mistake I made when I was younger was being relatively short sighted with my goals. I set an arbitrary goal of making 6 figures with no specific measurable timeline. My goal was not S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time based). Once I achieved this so called goal, my net worth went backwards…into the negatives. When you set financial goals such as, I want to retire in 15 years or I want to retire by the time I am 55, you need to start planning for how you want to get there. This will include setting career goals as well as finding ways to accelerate your financial goals.
- Be open minded and willing to learn – No matter what age you are, you need to always be willing to learn. This opens up so much possibility. I am happy in my role and with my career trajectory. I do not intend to be financially free from just having a full time job. That does not change the fact that I am willing to learn. If you are career focused, then focus on learning more about how to get to the next level. Learn more about your business, your company, and how your company makes money. Volunteer to take on additional responsibility. Away from your career, you want to find side hustles to make money. Recently I went through an intense self learning process of buying my first investment property, which ultimately failed.
- Network and connect with others – I am way more of an introvert than I am an extrovert. In the Myers-Briggs type indicator, I am definitely an “I”. Why do you think I try to remain anonymous? Throughout my career and through my side hustles, I have learned that connecting with others and building relationships are keys to advancing in whatever it is you are doing. This includes both your career and side hustles.
- Take action – I encourage you to get off the bench and take action. I am your typical over analyzer, over thinker, over researcher. I learned through my failed house buying process that although I spent nearly $1,000 and devoted too many hours in addition to my full time job, taking action absolutely outweighs listening to audiobooks or podcast and reading forums. First hand experience cannot be beat. I encourage you to take action. Small executable steps is what I highly recommend.