Have you ever asked yourself whether you’re really doing what you want to be doing with your life during your working hours?
After all, we spend a pretty good chunk of our lives earning a living, but apparently, many of us don’t do a very good job of it. Many Americans are working longer in their lives but, according to a report by the Stanford Center on Longevity, they still don’t have the money they need for retirement. Sadly, the report states that “to address retirement savings shortfalls, American workers will need to adopt some combination of working longer, saving more, spending less, and making every dollar count by adopting efficient investment and retirement income strategies.”
Apparently, “70 is the new 65,” as CNBC reports, because many people don’t save enough to fully retire by 65 and maintain their current standard of living, and one of the best strategies to withdraw money in retirement is to delay social security benefits until age 70. How depressing is that?
Whether you own a business or are at the bottom rung of the corporate ladder or somewhere in between, hopefully you’re enjoying how you’re spending your working hours and putting yourself in position to control your financial future without dealing with unnecessary distractions. And if you aren’t, maybe you need to be thinking about exploring your “career 2.0.” That is, maybe you should be thinking about working on your income, lifestyle, wealth and equity (ILWE) goals.
Whenever I coach clients, I ask them to think about their ILWE goals. Getting a handle on these goals can help you get from where you are now to somewhere better.
In my experience, you aren’t likely to achieve the type of career success you want without examining your income goals. What type of income do you want?
If you feel like your lack of sufficient income is getting in the way of being able to do what you want to do, you probably should change something about your career. You might start small, like seeking out a raise or promotion. You may, of course, want to go a little bigger and consider switching jobs or looking for side work to supplement your income.
But you also might want to explore being self-sufficient through business ownership. Not only can this help you achieve your income goals, but it also can allow you the flexibility to achieve your lifestyle goals, as well as your wealth and equity goals.
Working for an unpleasant boss can be drudgery. According to a Harvard Business Review article that examines why people really quit their jobs, “people don’t quit a boss — they quit a job. And who’s responsible for what that job is like? Managers.”
It’s your manager who defines your job duties and daily responsibilities. And I’ve noticed that there are many poor managers out there who seem to be incapable of helping great employees maximize their strengths, grow in their careers and enjoy and appreciate the impact they have at their workplace.
When you have a boss who forces you to burn the candle at both ends without showing you the appreciation you deserve, it’s usually impossible to have the ideal lifestyle. We call this “battered career syndrome,” at my company, and we’ve made it our mission to help people break free of that brutal condition.
There are all sorts of ways you might envision your life when you explore other career options, such as business ownership, instead of taking on a new job with yet another manager who’s out of their depth, and there’s no right or wrong way to view your future. But it’s important, as you explore your different options, that you think about what you want out of your life.
This may sound like the same thing as income, and it’s related, but it’s different. Wealth is more of a long-term goal that follows an increase in income. It’s about maximizing your income by pursuing diverse investments and wealth-building activities. Those focusing on wealth are usually thinking about building their assets and savings for the more distant future, and ensuring that their income continues to grow. Do you see yourself someday having enough money that you can easily invest in whatever you want, whether it’s the stock market or having a hobby of flipping houses?
If your current situation allows you to invest, maybe you’re doing just fine the way things are. But if you’re always enviously reading about investors, especially those who are making money from passive income, that may be yet another reason to explore all career possibilities.
These are goals that are related to debt. You may not think to yourself, “How much debt do I want?” In fact, I can almost guarantee that nobody thinks this way. But we might all be better off if we did.
When you’re stuck in a dead-end job with little room for growth and that doesn’t allow you to hit your income goals, taking on debt is often the only way to pay for basic living expenses — but it’s also a way to remain stuck if you take out loans that you may not be able to afford and don’t try to further your career and increase your income. Equity represents the value of your assets after all outstanding debts associated with those assets have been paid off. Using your wealth and income to grow your equity through debt reduction is a long-term goal that you may want to focus on now.
Because, again, “70 is the new 65,” and there’s no guarantee that social security will provide the financial support you may need in retirement. Wouldn’t it be nice to be working on achieving short- and long-term goals that will support you and your family for years to come?