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How To Get Where You Want To Be In 10 Years

23 August 2010 No Comment

Why do you read personal finance blogs?  I would assume that you read them to find information, strategies and tips to help you move forward in your financial life.  You are trying to gain an edge in getting to where you want to be down the road – maybe ten years from now. In this post, I’d like to speak directly to this.  We all have in our minds specific places we want to be ten years down the road.  The question becomes how do we get there from where we are today?  Let’s dive into this question.

Identifying Your Future Goals

The first step in this process is of course to actually determine where you want to be.  Maybe you want to be running your own business.  Maybe you want to have a specific amount of savings or retirement funds built up.  Maybe you want to have your home paid off.  Determine where you want to be; then, write down your goals. Documenting them is an important step.

How To Get There

The future you is the cumulation of all of the little decisions and steps you take between now and then.  That’s the most important thing to take from this entire article.  Where you will be in ten years won’t be the result of a single decision you make at some point in the ten years (at least for most of us).  More likely, it will be a cumulative result of thousands of small, incremental steps you take.  Interestingly, this tends to be tougher than making one big decision.  Putting one foot in front of the other in the right direction consistently over the next ten years isn’t easy.


Save for retirement

Let’s look at some examples of this.  First let’s look at saving or investing.  One of the main keys to building up significant wealth is compounding interest.  For compounding interest to be effective and work, it requires time.  It requires years.  For it to be maximally effective, it needs both years as well as continued contribution (or, persevering in the sense of continuing to contribute to the investment or savings account).  The combination of new capital all the while compounding can result in significant wealth down the road.  Now, considering that savings accounts are yielding essentially nothing these days, you might be forced to look at dividend stocks.  DRIP Plans are a great way to invest in dividend stocks and allow them to compound over time and yield massive returns down the road.  This is the key to a succesful retirement.  Compounding interest and investments over long periods of time.

Or how about personal finance, specifically spending habits… we could say that to achieve some of our financial goals, we need to cut down on our spending.  The result years from now is a cumulation of the small spending decisions we make every day along the way.  Now, I’m not saying that that latte that your don’t buy isn’t about the $4 you save.  While the savings might add up over time, it’s more about the spending habits that you develop over time and the fact that you’re developing a healthy sense of the value of a dollar.

Next, let’s look at creative an online income stream (something I discuss frequently).  This is a slow process that requires thousands of “right” steps over time.  It’s very hard to see results in the beginning of this pursuit and as a result, most people fail to continue and fail to make anything of it.  As I’ve been documenting in my online income reports, it’s been a slow road, but I’ve gotten to a point where the money generated definitely justifies the effort required these days.  It wasn’t always like this.  It required me working long hours for months and months without seeing any return.  Are you capable of doing that?  It’s not easy but is another example of what we’re talking about here.  If ten years from now you want to have your own business, maybe it means working hard week after week on a side project or side income project that can develop into a major business years from now.  It requires taking thousands of incremental steps in that direction, not a single “jumping off the cliff” moment a few years from now.  In a sense, the former is much tougher than the latter.

Summary: Most worthwhile things in life are not easy and require much work over long periods of time

Action Steps

So, what should you take from this article? These are your action steps to consider for yourself:

  1. Where do you want to be in ten years?
  2. What does that path look like to reach these goals?
  3. What are the first few steps you need to take now to start this journey?

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