We’ve all got that picture of our dream life – that vision of where it is we want to be, and how we’d love for our life to look. Maybe (like me) you’ve got a vision board above your desk, filled with pictures of the things you’re working to create.
But I’m 100% certain that the things that you want, will be different to the things that I want.
When I sit here, looking out into my lovely garden with my alpacas (which are soaking wet and muddy right now, but that’s a story for another day!), it’s easy to think that actually, everybody else wants the same as us. It’s easy to forget that not everyone is motivated by the same things that we are, when we’re working so hard towards the house or the travel or the dream lifestyle.
After 15+ years of working in finance, I’ve realised that people have got VERY different attitudes towards money, life and what they want to achieve. Which means your path to your big goals and dreams will be very different to anyone else’s.
It also changes over time, as we cycle through life, particularly as entrepreneurs and business owners (which has trends and patterns like everything else).
When I first started out as a Financial Adviser, the main priority and goal for most of my clients was simply to pay off their mortgage and become mortgage free. It was the biggest thing that we saw, people funnelling all their spare money into paying the mortgage down so that they could clear it as fast as they could.
Over the last few years, there’s been a dramatic shift. Now, people are starting to appreciate that paying off a mortgage, so that you’re mortgage free and have surplus income in your 50s and 60s, is actually not as useful or desirable to them as having a low mortgage all the way through their 30s and 40s.
Which also means, of course, having more money each month to spend on enjoying life now!
Even if I were looking at two clients with two identical end goals, there is likely to be two very different paths to making those goals a reality.
Let’s say both clients want to retire at 50 years old. Early retirement is still something I always speak to clients about when we’re planning what they want to achieve with their finances – because even if you love the job you do, at some point you’re going to want to take the pressure off a little bit and work less hard than you have been, during the years when you’ve been going full steam ahead!
For those two separate clients, there will be two different ways to achieve the same goal of retiring at 50.
So what are the main things we need to consider, so that we can work out what needs to happen next, on the journey to getting to where you REALLY want to be?
Well, the key thing is breaking the big goal down into milestones and targets – creating tiny little sections and places where you can check in and see if you’re on track.
Without these milestones, you have no idea if you’re on the right path or how much progress you’re really making. They’re also critical because each place where you check in gives you the chance to make changes to what you’re doing, if you want to (rather than getting months or years down the line, realising this too late to do anything about it and seriously regretting it).
And again, for two people with the same goal, these milestones might actually be very different AND they can change over time.
Why might they be different? Ultimately, we’re all starting from a different place. You might own your home, you might not own your home. You might have a business that brings in £2k a month, or a business that brings in £10k a month (or more). You might have a family to provide for. You might have lots of things on finance. You might inherit, unexpectedly or otherwise. The list goes on!
The fact that some people earn more than others doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to get to their financial dream any quicker. Because as you earn more money, it’s very easy to spend more money, and have no more spare cash at the end of the month than you did when you were earning half of what you’re earning now. Which is why having a proper plan is so important!
So what to do, exactly?
It’s useful to break down where you want to end up into different sections.
Let’s say your big goal is likely to be more than a year away. We typically break it down into three main sections:
- Section 1 = Micro milestones for the next 12 months
- Section 2 = What needs to happen by the end of year 1, year 2 and year 3
- Section 3 = Your longer-term milestones, so where you want to be in 5 or 10 years’ time (or wherever your end point is).
When you’re planning for each of these sections and putting your milestones together, it’s usually easiest to work backwards and work out what that journey might look like – because if you want to create £1million in 10 years’ time, it’s unlikely you’re going to end up with it overnight.
Planning in this way, by starting with the end goal in mind, then tells us where to put the milestones. And over time your milestones might change because there are SO many things in life that can affect the outcome and where you end up.
But ultimately, it’s about planning your journey and creating a bridge that purposely takes you from where you are now, to where you want to be. Because let’s be honest, your big goals and dreams are highly unlikely to happen by accident and without deliberate action!
The little steps along the way are going to be completely different for you as they are for me, and completely different from you and any other client that I might speak to, because we want slightly different things. We’re different people with different outlooks on the world and we deal with things in different ways.
And because of that, you need a bespoke plan. Just having something that worked for me (or anyone else) isn’t actually going to work for you, to create the life and lifestyle you really want.
This is why I work with clients 1:1 inside The Asset Accelerator™, my flagship 9-month wealth planning and integrated support experience.
We start with a half day planning session together, to work out exactly what that big dream is and what it looks like. You’ll have a clearer vision that ever before! Then we work backwards to create each of your milestones, so you know the exact steps to take, to start making real progress towards your dreams.
Over 9 months together, we then have monthly review sessions, to make sure that you are moving forward on your plan and ticking those milestones off your list.
These sessions on Zoom also mean that you carve out dedicated time in your diary to take actual action on each of your financial steps towards your big goals, with all the support and guidance you need. Rather than starting out all excited and with the best of intentions, but then it all gets really busy in your life and business and before you know it, time has flown by but you’re really no further forward.
By the time you get to the end of our 9 months together, you’ve made massive progress towards the dream house or trip or early retirement or assets in the bank (or whatever it is for you). You KNOW you have a solid plan in place; you KNOW what you’re doing and now you can keep moving forward towards it, without needing your hand being held for the rest of your life.
Obviously, I love to have an ongoing relationship with my clients, but I want them to do it because they want to stay in my world and have the support, rather than because they feel that they can’t manage without me!
I want people to be financially independent and be able to move forward with building their own dream, even if it doesn’t include alpacas. I want that for you.
Here’s the link again with all The Asset Accelerator details (including the extended payment plan option) – and if you have any questions or want to chat it all through, just click here to PM me on Facebook!
Until next time,