Content marketing is in high demand, but it may not be a career you can follow forever. Eventually, you may grow tired of the field, desiring something different or wanting to retire altogether. You may also find that automation and AI begin to take over at least some of your responsibilities, potentially limiting your career options or stifling your long-term trajectory.
Even if you follow your intended career path forever, you’ll one day want to retire—which means you’ll need to have a financial plan in place to make your retirement goals a reality.
So how should you start planning for your financial future?
Phase One: Set Goals
Everything starts with your goals. It’s hard, if not impossible, to start making good financial moves unless you know where you want to be (and when you want to be there). For example, is your end goal retirement? If so, at what age do you want to retire? And how much money will you need to retire successfully? As a general rule, you can estimate needing about 25 times the annual salary you hope to withdraw in retirement; this will allow you to make use of the informal 4 percent rule.
You may also set goals for a late-career transition, such as starting your own business within a decade. Your goals here don’t need to be exact; in fact, you can count on them shifting as your circumstances evolve.
Phase Two: Establish a Portfolio
Next, you’ll need to start building a portfolio. It’s in your best interest to invest in many different types of assets, including stocks, bonds, and real estate. By taking advantage of compound interest, you’ll be able to achieve exponential growth over years and decades. Owning multiple types of assets will ensure that you’re never exposed to too much risk; it will result in the most consistent growth trajectory possible.
One of the easiest things you can do is save up for a down payment so you can buy a house, rather than renting a living space. When you own a home, you’ll still be required to make monthly payments, but your money will go toward paying off your principal, helping you build equity in the home. In other words, you’ll be gradually increasing your financial ownership in a property whose value keeps increasing.
You can also start buying and selling stocks, which represent fractional shares of ownership in various companies. The best long-term strategy here is buying and holding assets that have propensity for long-term growth, like shares in “blue chip” companies that are unlikely to ever fail. Mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs) offer collections of different stocks, granting you immediate portfolio diversity, and are also good bets, so long as their fees are reasonable.
No matter what, you’ll want to make use of tax advantaged retirement accounts, like IRAs. Setting one up is easy, and you can choose to contribute money to it automatically, making things simpler on your end.
Phase Three: Come Up With Contingencies
You may have a firm career plan in place, but there’s no guarantee it’s going to go the way you think. Accordingly, it’s in your best interest to develop contingency plans—preferably multiple contingencies. For example, what are you going to do if content marketing demand goes in sharp decline; will you pursue a different career? If so, will you need to go back to school or get an advanced degree to make this a reality? Or do you have connections in your professional network who can help you find a job in another field?
When planning for retirement, contingencies are also recommended. If your primary plan fails, what will you do?
Phase Four: Nurture and Adapt
The last phase of the process is to nurture your investments, and adapt to changing circumstances. When nurturing, you’ll need to check on the progress of your investments periodically and rebalance your portfolio, gradually shifting toward less risk and more stability as you approach retirement.
When adapting, you’ll need to learn about your greatest successes and greatest failures, and learn from them. You’ll also need to incorporate new information, or new variables that weren’t built into your original plan. For example, you may notice yourself indulging in lifestyle creep, the tendency to gradually spend more money on wants and luxuries; if this happens, you may need more retirement income than you originally planned.
Developing your career as a content marketer also means preparing for your long-term future, financially. While it may seem overwhelming at the start, once you understand your goals inside and out and get some practice managing your portfolio, everything will seem simpler. The sooner you start, the more time you’ll have to grow your investments.