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• “He was the best father I could have ever hoped for. He taught me to be strong and independent and he showed me that I could be brave and loving at the same time.”
• “He was a brilliant writer. For someone who spent so much of his life in the business world, I was astonished at how well written his stories were.”
• “I would still be working as a security guard if it were not for him. To think of what I’ve become. I know how much of that I owe to his help and care.”
These are the things that are really important to you—your personal core values. (And I’m guessing that “He was really rich” is not something that you’d put on this list.)
Now, let’s apply what you just learned about yourself to your next task . . .
Step 2: Plan to Become Wealthy 43
TRANSLATE YOUR CORE VALUES INTO FOUR LIFETIME GOALS
If you invited all the right people to your imaginary funeral, you can now figure out what your core values are in every important aspect of your life.
Your core values might look something like this:
• “As a worker, I want to be considered creative and helpful.”
• “As a parent, I want to be thought of as supportive and kind.”
• “As an individual, I want to be thought of as smart and interesting.”
You are not going to publish this list. The point of making it is to help you know yourself in a way that matters. Which brings us to your next task: converting your core values to life goals. If you’ve done your work well so far—if you truly do know yourself—this will be surprisingly easy.
How many life goals should you have? Four is a good, achievable number. One of them, of course, will be to build wealth—not to accumulate money but because of what that money can help you accomplish in terms of your core values. As I said in Step 1, it gives you the ability to help other people, provide for your family, pursue your intellectual and artistic interests, and become an inspiration to members of your community.
What about your other three life goals? That’s up to you. But I would recommend coming up with one that has something to do with your health, one that is concerned with your personal relationships, and one that targets your own growth and development.
Do that now—and put it in writing. Your list of four goals might look something like this:
1. My long-term wealth-building goal: To be financially independent. To be able to do whatever I want without worrying about money.
2. My long-term health goal: To be active, fully functioning, and pain free till age 90.
3. My long-term personal-relationship goal: To be remembered as a great dad, loving spouse, loyal friend, and charitable soul.
44 AUTOMATIC WEALTH
4. My long-term personal growth and development goal: To be a successful novelist, filmmaker, and linguist.
HOW MUCH OF THIS CAN YOU REALISTICALLY ACCOMPLISH, MEDIUM TERM—
IN THE NEXT 7 TO 15 YEARS?
The purpose of this book is to help you achieve financial independence in 7 to 15 years—and to do that while still keeping you on track to achieve all of your long-term life goals.
BE SPECIFIC ABOUT LIFETIME GOALS
A good way to start is to add some specificity to your lifetime goal. Narrow it down in every way you can. For example, say your lifetime goal is "to become a great writer." Here are ways you can make it more specific.
TIME: Become a great writer by my 65th birthday.
TYPE: Become a great novelist by my 65th birthday.
DEFINITIONS: Become an award-winning novelist by my 65th birthday.
I’ve chosen this 7- to 15-year time frame somewhat arbitrarily, I admit, but with good reason. First, because I don’t believe you are willing to wait 30 to 40 years to achieve financial independence. And second, because that seems to be a realistic length of time to achieve success in any type of business venture. Almost every one of the several dozen businesses I’ve started has hit its stride and become profitable in 7 years or less. Most do it more quickly than that—usually in 4 or 5 years. Some are winners from the start. Some fail, of course, but that’s usually apparent early on. (Wise businesspeople recognize when this is happening and cut their losses short.) But I don’t remember a single one that took longer than 6 or 7 years.
That’s why I feel confident promising you results in 7 to 15 years (actually, more than confident . . . 99.9 percent sure).
Lifetime goals have the advantage of being long term and thus far away. Being so distant, it’s possible to imagine yourself accomplishing
Step 2: Plan to Become Wealthy 45
practically anything. That’s why, if you really want to achieve your goals, you need to work with a very specific medium-term time frame. I’ve defined medium term as 7 to 15 years. But you should narrow it down to an exact number.
And not only do you need to be specific, you also need to be realistic. For example, if your lifetime financial goal is to have a net worth of $5 million and you are currently 45 years old and broke, it might be realistic for you to set a medium-term goal of $1 million in 10 years. But if you already have half a million in the bank, it would perhaps be realistic for you to set a medium-term financial goal of $2.5 million in 7 years.