Are You a Financial Dreamer? Financial Goal Setting 101

It’s a dream until you write it down, then it’s a goal.

  • Emmitt Smith

Last night I was watching A Football Life. The show was profiling Emmitt Smith – the NFL’s all-time leading rusher. When he said the above words it hit me that I know tons of people who are financially dreaming. They think about what they’d do if they won the lottery. They imagine being debt free or paying for their child’s college tuition. They imagine having the money to quit their job tomorrow. Lots of people have ideas, lots of people have dreams, but not very many people pursue the three steps necessary to achieve their dreams and aspirations. So here you go – three steps to achieving your financial goals.

Step One – Dream Big!

I am not into all the touchy feely ethereal self-help nonsense, but I am a big believer in having big dreams. I mean your options are have no dreams, have dreams you believe are safe or achievable, or have dreams that, in your mind, are borderline insane. Now, if you have no dreams, boom you have accomplished your goal already… and you have gotten nowhere. If you have safe dreams, you might realize your dream and you will have grown some. If you dream huge, you are going to experience many awesome benefits. A dream is “huge” if it requires you to undergo significant transformation to achieve the dream. What type of transformation? You will become more focused, more disciplined, rooted in a mission, be operating with purpose, and the list goes on.

By having big dreams, you are going on a journey that will change you for the better. Why cut the journey short with safe or easy goals?

Step Two – Write It Down!

As Emmitt Smith said, write it down! Distill your dream to a definable goal, then stick it on a 3 X 5 card and put it on your bathroom mirror, hang it from your rearview mirror in your car, and stick it on the back of your laptop.

According to a study of Harvard graduate students, only 3 percent had written goals and plans to accomplish them, 13 percent had goals in their minds but hadn’t written them down, and 84 percent had no goals at all.

10 years later, the same group of Harvard graduate students were interviewed again and asked about their income. Here were the results:

  1. The 84% group with no goals at all earned half as much money as the 13% group with goals.
  2. The 3% group with written goals and plans on how to accomplish them earned ten times as much as the other 97% combined.

Let’s put some numbers behind these statistics. Assuming the group having no goals (84%) earned $75,000 per year, the group with goals in mind (the 13%) would have earned $150,000 per year, and the group that had written their goals and plans to accomplish them (the 3%) would have earned $825,000!!!

Step Three – Take Action!

Dream big – check. Write down your financial goals – check. Now, underneath each goal, I want you to write down at least three things you can do to move you one step closer to accomplishing that goal. Once you’ve done that, I want you go take action and complete one step. When you have completed a step, cross it off. After you’ve completed all your action steps, add more, and keep repeating until you’ve accomplished your goal.

My Goals

Since I’m walking this journey with you, I am going share a few of my goals.

Have a Net Worth (Assets – Liabilities) of a Million Dollars Before I am 40.

  1. Save 40% of my household gross income each year.
  2. Give 12% of my household gross income each year to my church and other ministries sharing the Gospel of Jesus with people and meeting their physical/temporal needs.
  3. Highlight at least one company’s stock every two weeks to keep me looking for great investments. If you are interested in investing, feel free to check out my portfolio.

Be a Father My Children Know, Love, and Respect.

  1. Take my oldest daughter to breakfast once a month.
  2. Take my younger daughter to ice cream once a month.
  3. Write my daughters love notes at least once a week.

Start Earning Income from a Business I Start.

  1. Take 15 minutes to write down every business idea I can think of.
  2. Take 15 minutes to order the list of ideas from best to worst.
  3. Take the top 5 ideas and sketch a simple cash flow/business model to make clear how the business will generate income.
  4. Depending on the business ideas, get one paying job, project, gig, or make one sale.


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