What does it take to build a rewarding life? Everyone’s concept if different, but there are some common ingredients, like the right education, a career that suits your aspirations, a realistic plan for a secure retirement, and a way to give some of your resources to others, either through charitable donations or volunteering your time. Here’s a short description about each of the four components of a rewarding life. See how each one fits into your goals and which ones you need to work on.
Many adults have a clear idea about what they want to do. Others turn to family, friends, bosses, teachers, and professional career counsellors to discover a job path that suits their skill and educational level. Take the time to research careers that interest you and ask some of the key people in your life for guidance. And don’t forget that it’s okay to explore more than one field before committing to a long-term avocation.
If you have a general idea of what type of work is satisfying for you, then it’s relatively easy to decide on the kind of education that makes sense. For some, it’s law or medical school. For others, it’s a generalist degree in liberal arts or a technical one in a field like accounting or engineering. There are numerous paths out there; it’s up to you to choose the one that suits both your skills and aspirations. No matter the type of education is right for you, taking out a private student loan without a co-signer is a smart first step. Not only will you have the advantage of building a credit history in your own name, but you’ll be able to borrow enough to make college or grad school affordable. When you choose to finance your education without a cosigner, you’ll have options like selecting a lender that uses factors other than credit ratings and income to determine your interest rate. If you already have credit and regular income, you’ll have even more choices.
You don’t need to be wealthy to plan for a secure retirement. In fact, the vast majority of the working population have some method for setting funds aside from each paycheck and earmarking that money for their post-career years. You can go about this task in several ways. The most popular is to set up an IRA and contribute to it regularly. Some employers offer special kinds of funds for their workers that feature guaranteed payouts upon retirement or matching provisions to make saving easier. It’s never too early to set up a long-term savings account whose sole purpose is to help you pay your bills when the paychecks stop coming.
As you move through your early twenties and begin to assemble the pieces of a successful, meaningful job and lifestyle, keep in mind that you have the ability to help others who are just starting out, who never had the opportunity to attend school, or who suffered various setbacks on their own life course. Consider donating your time or money, or both, to assist others when you are able to do so.