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"What do you want to be when you grow up?" by Bel Neville

The gravity of this question is daunting, especially when you're going into years 10, 11, 12 and beyond. It's natural to feel unsure. It's a big decision that will impact the next few years of your life and possibly tens of thousands of dollars in tertiary study. But it doesn't have to define your journey to success. And the answer today doesn't have to match tomorrow or 10 years from now.

Unless you had a career path metamorphosis in a dream when you're a kid, or have an inspirational leader in your life who's career you wish to emulate. It is more likely that you've got 12 years of experience in a classroom, maybe a couple years working as a check-out chick. Not quite enough life experience to knowledgeably decide what career path is right for you. Not quite enough exposure to know what industry is right for you, what kind of leader you want to be, your earning capacity or what Uni course to choose.

Guess what, you can be 31 and still have not decided 'what you want to be'. Speaking from experience here. Truthfully, your dream job might not even exist yet!

And the odds are stacked against millennial women to retire early or comfortably. (

So, we can expect to be in the workforce for a very long time and perhaps try a few different career paths. In short, you don't have to define your life plan when you're 18.

There are plenty of factors impacting your ability to get to 'what you want to be' including job offers, good or bad management, life circumstances, money! So, let's change the question, 'what do you want to HAVE when you grow up'? This question will help you set goals, and the path will become clearer of how to get there.

The most powerful response from any young female should be 'I want to have financial independence.' Gone are the days of our parent's generation where each family is expected to have a stay-at-home mum and have a husband bringing home the bacon. Family structures rarely follow this model, but we're still living in a patriarchal society that is made for it, so it's up to us to defy the patriarchy and set the new-norm of an equitable workforce. (a topic for another article!)

The best way to have financial independence is firstly committing to stand on your own two feet, no parents, husband, (or worse) credit card to bail you out. Put away savings from every single pay, even $10 if that's all you can afford. Make sure that savings go into a high-interest savings account. So, do your research! High-interest savings = free money. You like free money, yeah? Your job, right now, is to start watching that money grow baby. Then you're ready to make career decisions not powered by financial gain but of what is valuable to you!

I value happy, harmonious living. At home, at work, by myself. It's not as easy if you have financial strife, so keep those savings tucked away ready for your rainy day. That $10 a week is your investment into peace-of-mind and financial freedom. There are plenty more tips you can implement to achieve financial freedom faster, and it's all available in the Barefoot Investor book.

If happy, harmonious is your goal too, then you need to find two things:

1. What you like

2. What you're good at

If you need help uncovering these two things, start with Although bear in mind, these results will also change throughout your life.

If you find what you like and what you're good at, and have the financial backing to explore them, 'what do you want to be when you grow up?' will always have the same, simple answer: Happy, safe and secure.

Photo Credit- Vaida Savickaite

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