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I am looking for a word to describe some individuals who cautiously plan for the future all the time.

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In some occupations, “individuals who cautiously plan for the future all the time” are those who are alive or uninjured or on time, etc. They may also be termed smart or sensible, but some may think them fussy (“Anxious or particular about petty details”).

More specific terms, perhaps pejorative, include calculating, cunning, scheming (“Tending to scheme” – wiktionary), crafty, Machiavellian (“Attempting to achieve goals by cunning, scheming, and unscrupulous methods, especially in politics or in advancing one's career.”).

More neutral but still specific terms include strategist (“Someone who devises strategies”) and planner (“One who plans”).

Positive and less specific are prudent, judicious, meticulous, astute, and perhaps circumspect. (All links: wiktionary)

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If the characteristic in question is part of an overall personality where a person is very careful and deliberate, then I would use 'conscientious' - one of the main Five Personality Traits.

"Conscientiousness is the personality trait of being thorough, careful, or vigilant. They exhibit a tendency to show self-discipline, act dutifully, and aim for achievement; they display planned rather than spontaneous behavior; and they are generally organized and dependable. It is manifested in characteristic behaviors such as being neat and systematic; also including such elements as carefulness, thoroughness, and deliberation (the tendency to think carefully before acting."

It is defined in the dictionary as:

very careful about doing what you are supposed to do : concerned with doing something correctly, meticulous. Also: governed by or conforming to the dictates of conscience : scrupulous.

Other words which might fit: strategist which means "a person who is skilled in making plans for achieving a goal : someone who is good at forming strategies", circumspect which means "thinking carefully about possible risks before doing or saying something" and conservative - "marked by moderation or caution".

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You could simply call such individuals cautious. You don't give any context in your question, but if you want to emphasize the planning ahead aspect, you could use foresightful, defined by the American Heritage dictionary as (among other things):

n. Care in providing for the future; prudence.

Another choice could be forethoughtful defined by the same source as

n. Preparation or thought for the future.

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Wiktionary says

premeditate to plan ahead of time

See also, premeditated murder.

  • To noun- this verb, it would be premediator. Which sounds funny to me... – Patrick M Sep 12 '14 at 15:33
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    @PatrickM you mean premeditator? I can see your point. – SrJoven Sep 12 '14 at 16:46
  • Yes, I did mean that.... curse you, fingers! But if it's in a dictionary, I'm not making it up: have a well-earned +1. – Patrick M Sep 12 '14 at 16:51

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