Something that I think gets overlooked quite often is the value of setting goals. While most people have an idea of what they want to be doing in 5, 10, and even 20 years from now they do not take the time to sit down, write it out, and sketch a good plan of action. Where do you start? Well, let me give you some examples from my life of a good starting point and how those goals led to other goals being completed. When I was 18 years old I was in college full time, living that kind of lifestyle and not really paying attention to my future. Around the second semester of my freshman year I decided that I wanted to become someone, but how would I get there? I made a list of things I would like to accomplish. This is the list:
1. Save Money
2. Get a Great Job
3. Buy Real Estate
4. Start Investing
5. Have a large network of people
I started with the first one for obvious reasons. I saved every dime that I could. This didn’t mean that I couldn’t go out and have fun from time to time, but it forced me to be more careful and not spend all the money I had on stuff that didn’t have a long term impact. When I reached the age of 21 I was serving in the U.S. Army and had some spare money at that point, $10,000 to be exact. I pondered putting that money into stocks, a savings account, or real estate. What I ultimately decided was to put half into real estate and put half into a savings account. That would help me get started on 2 of those goals I had set. I found a duplex property that was in great condition and had been vacant for a few years. I asked the owner at the time if he was willing to do a land contract (seller financing) since my credit was very young and banks weren’t lending money to 21 year olds. He agreed and I put a down payment of $4500 on the property with monthly payments being $600. I had the property rented and turning a profit within 3 weeks. I was now generating $1100 a month from the property and paying $600 back in which netted me $400 extra a month. I currently to this day put that extra $400 a month into my savings account. This means that my paychecks from my 9-5 job can go towards other things and yet I still have savings.
As you can see, the value you put on the goals can help you achieve things very quickly. I understand if real estate is not your forte, and there are plenty of other vessels should you want to follow this story. My main point is that setting even relatively simple goals has led to having extra cash on hand in case of an emergency. It has opened more doors through equity, and has improved my credit substantially. I urge you to take 15 minutes to sit down, evaluate what exactly you are after and draw yourself a simple or complex road map of what you want to do. Then, when given the opportunity, attack those goals and complete them. It is very possible, I did this being very young in a tough market and I know you can too!