We all get caught up in the system and often lose the forest for the trees – whether it pertains to our families, careers, health, social media, finances, news, and the list goes on and on.
A lot is occupying our minds, and there’s one key question we should all be asking ourselves but often don’t: What’s Next?
We often hear the advice to live like there’s no tomorrow. I get the whole living the life to the fullest mantra but living without asking what’s next will often lead to dead ends, disappointments, and heartbreak.
Take, for example, Keith Whitley. Keith Whitley was a country music singer and songwriter. He was married to Lorrie Morgan, another country music singer known for dating Troy Aikman in the 90s. Whitley was enormously popular during his short-lived career.
He recorded only two albums but charted 12 singles on the Billboard country charts and seven more after his death. Sadly, Whitley died of alcohol poisoning in 1989 at age 34, leaving Morgan a widow. Ironically, Whitley had a song titled “Living Like There’s No Tomorrow (Finally Got to Me Tonight).”
Living like no tomorrow didn’t end well for Whitley, and if we live like no tomorrow and don’t ask “What’s next?” at various stages of our lives, we too may encounter disaster down the road.
Here are a few instances in which asking “What’s next?” might come up.
- What happens when our children go to college? What’s next?
- What happens when my daughter gets married? What’s next?
- What happens when my spouse retires? What’s next?
- What happens if I invest in ETFs for 30 years? What’s next?
- When do I retire? What’s next?
Like most people, I bet after starting a career or your business, you haven’t thought much beyond those points in your life. What about when you’re no longer able or willing to work? What’s next? When asking “What’s next?” what you’re doing is asking yourself whether you have a plan to deal with specific hypothetical scenarios in your life or whether you understand the consequences of certain decisions.
It’s critical to your future always to ask “What’s next?” because it can help you avoid disaster in some cases or help you plan in other cases. Whatever the case, asking “What’s next?” helps bring clarity.
Take, for example, your ability to work. If you lose your ability to work, if you plan now for what’s next, you’ll be prepared and have no worries should that day ever arrive.
When you or your spouse retire, if you don’t ask “What’s next?” now, you can expect to be in the same boat as the millions of Baby Boomers retiring in the next ten years without adequate funds to last them through retirement. If you ask the question “What’s next?” after retirement and have clear answers, chances are you’ll adjust your approach to investing to achieve your “What’s next?” once you retire.
If in response to the question “What’s next?” after you retire, you answer, I want to have more than enough to retire and leave enough for my children’s retirements and their children’s retirements; I bet you’ll change your investment strategy. I bet you’ll avoid 401k’s and traditional investments that have failed retirees so far.
Asking the question “What’s next?” doesn’t give you the solutions to all your problems, but it’s a starting point for devising a plan to avoid those problems.
Next time you think about the next milestone in your life, go one step beyond and ask, “What’s next?” It could only make your path clearer.
Kyle Jones is a co-founder and Key Principal of TruePoint Capital, LLC. Kyle is responsible for the company’s strategic planning, investment decisions, asset management, and overseeing all aspects of the company’s financial activities, operations, and investor relations.
Kyle obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas State University – San Marcos, where he also played Division 1 Baseball.