A few years ago I helped conduct a focus group. One of the conclusions was that those focus group members who had a longer term perspective seemed to be the wealthiest. Those wealthier participants were more forward thinking.

When you graduate from high school you will only go to college if you see the long term benefits. Certainly, most high school graduates make more money over the next four years than their college bound peers. Ten years from high school the balance has shifted to college graduates.

People who live paycheck to paycheck would be just fine if their expenses were the same each paycheck. The problem comes in when the car breaks down or their child becomes sick, expenses that were not in the budget and throw off their pattern. Someone with a longer term perspective might understand that the car will need work each year and the family will have some health expenses.

Small businesses that are structured to generate a profit, profit that will be used to grow, will not grow as fast as small businesses that create the infrastructure for growth on day one. Thinking forward to envision the business you want to create speeds the process of getting there.

Career growth will be sped by understanding where you are going. It is often stated that you should dress at work for the position you want, not the position you have. That is also true with education, experience and attitude. Get the education, get the experience and demonstrate the attitude you need to reach your career goals.

It is not easy to shift from a paycheck to paycheck focus to a financial independence focus. You can begin by shifting the focus from the next paycheck to the second one. If you already have a year-long focus, start to make a five year plan. If you have a five year plan, consider planning your legacy.

This forward thinking process can help you become wealthier but it can help you achieve other goals as well. Your vacation will be better planned, your hobbies more smoothly enjoyed, your retirement less fretful if you apply forward thinking to start sooner and consider the opportunities and potential obstacles more carefully.

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