I have kids in this age range, and this is the note I would send to them—and to you.
Think bigger in regards to your life, and believe that anything is possible — because it is. Don’t limit yourself or be restricted by someone else’s definition of what you should do or should become. Never settle for someone else’s definition of success. Want it all: money, career, health, relationships, experiences, and purpose in the adventure of life you are called to.
Chase dreams now because you have the energy and deep wells of passion to succeed that won’t be there in the same way as you get older. Stretch for new goals and objectives that feel scary and force you out of your comfort zone. Trust your intuition, lean on your faith, and step towards risk, not away from it. You might fail and get bruised, but get back up again and keep moving on. New doors and opportunities will open that you can’t even imagine right now. Do it because you only have one life to live and my hope for you is to experience a truly wealthy life.
Of course, it’s import to build financial resources through prudent and disciplined spending and savings objectives. Create a financial strategy designed to provide safety and security for your future. Learn how to be a steward of your money, balancing competing objectives, setting financial priorities, and deciding what represents a need, want, or a wish. Finding a trusted advisor to guide you along the way will be key — someone who can help you align your money towards the things in life that are most important to you. Greater financial resources will give you more choices later on, but make sure that time spent building those resources doesn’t crowd out the parts of life that bring you joy.
I don’t believe “retirement” (as many people imagine it) should be the target for a successful life and career. I believe when people mention retirement, what they really imagine are the additional freedoms and choices that come in a later season of life. This includes the time to pursue hobbies and interests they didn’t have time for earlier in life and to be free from the time constraints of a full-time job.“Retirement” in the sense of doing nothing — no “work” (part-time, paid or volunteer), no outlet for the knowledge one has acquired over a full and challenging career — is not the happy ending to a successful life.
My philosophy is that each of us is created to work and experience a meaningful life through contribution to others. I’m in my 50’s, with a lifetime of experience and wisdom, and it’s my greatest desire to share my capabilities and knowledge with those who may benefit from my expertise. I can see many opportunities to invest my life for maximum returns, and contribute to others in new and exciting ways. I don’t want to ever stop being engaged in purposeful contribution, where something important is at stake, where I can fulfill my calling in life.
Focus your energy on building on your innate gifts, acquiring skills, talents, wisdom, and experiences through work you are passionate about and engaged in. These will form the tool chest of opportunities you will draw on to contribute to the world in unique and purposeful ways in the later years of your life.
Originally published on Quora.