You’ve walked down VI of the XIII steps of the roadmap. Your army of greenbacks continues to grow and budgeting flourishes as a habit. You were brave enough to make a commitment for a better tomorrow and began investing into your 401(k). Emergencies are easily affordable for you – your credit has begun to reach new heights. With your foundation set, walls constructed, and roofing placed, your queen continues asking when will we be able to see through the castle to the world beyond?
“My dear queen, we have reached stepped VII. The workers will begin installing windows at once!”
This post is part one of two in the Milestone Series:
Answer your why
As an elite of the land – sacrificing instant gratification with the promise of a prosperous future – you begin to ask, why am I doing this?
- Why am I saving so much now instead of buying the BMW I’ve always wanted?
- Why am I biking to work when I could be riding in said BMW?
- Why worry about investing now, retirement isn’t for 50 years!?
- Why am I reading this blasted blog with a silly metaphor trying to build a financial kingdom?
What’s your why?
We can’t answer this one for you. Being financially smart now in order to be financially stable later requires sacrifice. To continue making decisions that favor your future, one must have a purpose for doing so.
I can tell you why my path has been chosen this way. In the future, I want to do the following:
- Provide for my family and children
- Be a dictator of my time for projects that impact the world
- Mentor and inspire the next generations of America to achieve anything they want in the world
- One of the most important pieces of being a strong mentor? Time. Time is hard to find when 40+ hours are scheduled for you each week!
- Travel to various places around the world, opening my family’s mind to new perspectives
- Live a wealthy life. Wealthy in good company, new experiences, and great relationships
Before creating new milestones and a map – you must define this purpose. When your priorities are challenged by the UAWs (Under Accumulators of Wealth), remember your purpose, then answer with a resounding assertion as you bypass their consumerism! Live with patience. You are destined to be a PAW (Prodigious Accumulators of Wealth) Master Duke ranking instead!!
Why make a milestone map?
The road to building one’s financial kingdom takes many years of time. Writing down long-term goals with smaller milestones keep us on the right path; also, it provides evidence of accomplishing them!
Here are four reasons we feel taking the time to create a map uses time wisely:
We’ve talked about a direction in the past, and still believe in it is one of the biggest personal finance motivating factors. It gives you the why and also the rough timeline, pushing you towards your desired kingdom’s outcomes. It lends itself to providing ACTION, instead of wandering around earth hoping good will happen to you. An excellent article to add to this perspective comes from one of our favorite bloggers: If You Want To Be Miserable, Broke, and Unhappy, The World Won’t Stop You
“There is a saying that, “Until the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of change, you will never improve.” It is one of the most succinct explanations for what psychologists call “intrinsic motivation”. Nobody else can do it for you. The only thing that works in the long-term is changing your heart so that the you make decisions consistent with your goals.” – Joshua Kennon
Do you truly want financial independence or want to make sure you always have food on the table? Prove it. Make your map with deadlines. Keep yourself accountable and take it one small step at a time!
Can you answer the following questions?
- How much money do I need to live the lifestyle I envision?
- What net worth will allow me to feel financially safe?
- At what age do I want specific salaries or net worths?
- What are the 2-3 main reasons I want financial independence?
Easily answer them all? Awesome!! You already have clarity towards the money goals in life.
Unable to answer? Please take some time to this weekend with notebook and pen in hand. Start with the following:
Starting with the 20 years from now mark
What monthly income would give you peace by looking into your bank account, knowing you can easily pay all of your bills and savings goals, then use extra to do anything you dream of in your life. The amount that when you see green text in Mint each month, lets you take a deep breath and say to yourself “I’ve done it!”
Move on to 10 years
Reasonably, what monthly income can you generate per month 10 years from now? Would you be able to double that to achieve #1? Will you still be working? What is the salary you can be paid based on the career you will achieve? Where will the other income come to hit that monthly goal?
You can estimate your salary in 10 years (3% average per year) and side hustle income (or business). Do you need to figure out how to make more? Do you need to arrest more expenses to lower your FIRE number?
5 Years from now
Are you certain that you will be promoted within the next 5 years due to the work you’re doing now? Can you estimate the salary you will have? Estimate investment account contributions such as 401(k), IRA, or outside brokers. Create loan amortizations on your current debt – can you pay it off before the 5-year mark? Do it!
Five years seems so far, yet the decisions you make today will start showing up in time. Personal finance goals test our muscles that say no to instant gratification often. You can always help accelerate them by doing something awesome like living in a camper to pay off 50K of debt in 11 months!
The point here I’m trying to make – use the decision flowchart (in post 2 of the series) to plot out your next moves now, creating that envisioned future in 5 years! Planning + execution pays more dividends than Hershey over the years!
3 Years from now
This marks a great milestone check up year. Are you on target for the goals you set 2 years from now? What about in 7? We understand these estimates can change due to life – no biggie. Plans are always subject to change – use this 3 year from now mark to take stock of where you are.
Is the promotion prospect still looking good? How are your debt payments or student loan accounts looking?
Make the changes that are required to adjust your budget or side hustles to get where you need to. Turn on BEAST MODE and grind. Do what you have to do! Make your dreams happen!!
1 Year from Now
What can you do starting today that will make you reach your financial goals, build your kingdom, and fortify your personal monetary policy?
One year ago, around this same time, I had enough! Enough of the student loan payment and car payments consistently taking down my greenback reserves. It was time for a change!
Talking with Jack and making a plan, it was decided. My Great War of Debt would begin at the beginning of 2017. What did that entail? It meant finding an apartment in the proximity of work and developing my wardrobe to prep for a shopping ban. It meant making a 5+year investment plan to realistically determine (numbers don’t lie) when I could end the war. It meant that for the next two years+ I would be making many sacrifices, so I could enjoy debt-free life later. Here I am, 7 months in, with only 2 new pairs of shoes (wedding attire) and ahead of schedule by 5 months (update to come next week).
Without a plan or a way to track my progress, I wouldn’t be eyeing it each month like a hawk. The motivation to accelerate it would not be knocking on my budget’s door. Each month I see how debt payments cause me to put some of my goals on hold. Still, I must find the balance to enjoy the life I’m working towards. I’m comfortable and confident in the decision all because, in five years, the fruition of my future will begin to be realized. It’s all part of the plan!
Why am I sharing this? Because as even Tony Robbins mentioned in his book – anyone can do it! Anyone includes you! All we must do is define what we want with some type of map, then begin traveling towards the final destination!
In post two of the series, I’ll be posting the spreadsheets talked about in this post along with our flowchart :).
Celebrations + Reinforcement
We beckon you to join us in having both long-term (20 years) mixed in with short-term (1 year) goals for motivation. Celebrations for smaller milestones should definitely happen throughout the process. In part two of the series, we’ll talk through creating number based goals. For example, paying off debt by X year. This should be followed by “take the trip I’ve always wanted to the grand canyon.”
No one can sacrifice their whole life without rewards. Incentive bias in psychology proves over and over the importance of having it. Incentivize yourself with an award; watch your brain continue to make the right decisions to achieve it!
Last, but certainly not least, prioritizing decisions in your life becomes much easier when you have distinct decision factors. It’s much easier to say no to an expensive bar + gambling night when you know that money will make you miss a goal on the map. Sundays become food prep day with your family instead of Netflix and relax, easing the “no I can’t make it to lunch this week because I prepared all of my food” response to work lunches.
Every single money decision has a direct correlation to the goals on the milestone map; making each decision weighable against the milestones you’ve created. Becoming the executive of your life leads to great confidence; it is a great feeling indeed.
Thank you for reading. In part one we explained what and why we recommend our fellow dukes to create a milestone map. In part two, we will walk through creating one – resulting in a milestone map for your family! We truly believe in doing this as you travel down the road, and hope to help create this mindset for you!
As always, thank you for reading and we look forward to hearing from you in the comments below!