Young professionals are often effective in almost all areas of their life. They’re doing well in their careers and business, generally enjoy their lifestyle, and understand the benefits of building good relationships with the important people in their lives. However, we’ve found there’s one general exception to this rule.
To be a successful young professional you have to be able to figure stuff out. You have to be good at building your skills through study or experience, figure out how to work well as part of a team, and be good at building and maintaining relationships.
So where do we come unstuck?
As a young professional, our competing goals around maximising lifestyle today and getting ahead financially to set up their future in many cases leads to bad money decisions. These decisions lead us to missing opportunities, making mistakes, and ultimately suffering in the form of slow progress toward our bigger targets.
But why does this happen? And what can you do to avoid this happening to you?
Now I’m a curious guy. I also like to figure things out. So I’ve spend a lot of time wondering why it is that people that are successful in almost every area of their lives can’t get it right with their money. I’ve recently been asking a number of my clients the same question, and have found their responses very interesting.
The response I hear time and again is that young professionals feel like because they’re so effective in the other areas of their lives, they feel like money should be no exception and they should be able to do this themselves. They feel like they shouldn’t need help. They don’t want to ask for or seek out guidance or advice.
They also feel like the other people in their personal and professional networks are really good at this stuff and they should be too.
What most people don’t realise is that everyone else is in a similar position, knowing they don’t have this important area sorted, but not wanting to speak up about it. In Australia we tend not to talk about our money, for whatever reason (that’s another blog in itself), but we seem to hold onto the illusion that everyone is doing really well. The more people I speak to, the more of an issue I realise this has become, and the cycle continues…
I have to say at this point most young professionals I’ve met don’t realise the complexities involved in setting up a great money and lifestyle plan. They don’t know about the tools they can use, tips to improve their strategy, and common traps to watch out for.
I was recently working with a client who was doing great in her job, I’ll call her Katie. She was a young executive (in fact the youngest executive in her company) working in the communications space. Katie was making good money and making some progress getting ahead, and wanted to buy a property of her own.
While she was doing ok, Katie was getting a little frustrated that she wasn’t making as much progress as she wanted, but wasn’t sure what what she could do to get into the property market sooner. Katie plodded along for almost two years before she’d had enough and decided to seek out some help.
When I first met Katie, we had a good chat about where she was at and her thoughts for the future. The more we talked, I found Katie had fallen right into this trap.
Katie was quite frustrated (and a little embarrassed) because she was doing so well in all the other areas of her life but unable to figure out what to do when it came to her money.
After having a good chat about our approach and the things we find are the most important considerations for young professionals looking to set up a good money strategy, Katie decided she needed some help to get money into the same shape as the rest of her life.
When going through our process with Katie, we picked up on a few really common mistakes she was making around tax and investing. We made some adjustments and Katie’s results started improving rapidly.
Katie was now making serious progress with her savings and building her momentum, pushing towards Katie’s goal of buying her first property. We happily ticked this off Katie’s list around six months ago, and are now working towards her next step, which is building enough savings to launch her own consulting business.
The progress Katie has made from taking a step back and looking at her strategy in a broader sense has been remarkable. So remarkable, in fact, that I’m often astounded more people don’t seek help sooner. I’m confident that if Katie had gone down this path two years ago she would have been in her property sooner and now be even closer to her next big target.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you should be doing everything yourself and not wanting to seek out help. This stuff is complicated. There are so many options out there. The amount of information and mixed messages is overwhelming. And, if you’re anything like me or most of the people I work with, you likely don’t have the time or inclination to learn and know everything you need to be across to be an expert in areas outside your area of speciality.
Don’t suffer through slow progress