The year 2009 is slowing winding down, and we are now approaching 2010. A few weeks ago, I was watching HDNet and they had on the movie “2010 – The Year We Make Contact“, and was thinking how “2010″ will NOT be like 2010. We don’t have super intelligent HAL computers, we don’t have a manned space flight to Jupiter, there is no monolith hanging out around Jupiter, and most interesting, Russia no longer exists — at least how the Soviet Union was depicted when the movie came out. Two things struck me odd as I was re-watching the movie:
- As a 13 year-old boy I vividly remember watching that movie thinking my future will be something like this in 2010. Unfortunately, fiction sometimes does not match reality.
- The movie came out in 1984 (over 25 years ago) and made me think what goals and dreams I’ve had in the past 25 years. What have I achieved and what things I still want to do.
The year 2010 is now really here, and it’s time to do some goal setting. My local gym was already beginning to crowd up with people to lose weight. Like every year, come February 1st, the new faces will be gone. If you are going to create a goal, create one that will be long lasting and with small incremental steps.
I like making 10-year goals and reviewing my previous 10 years. Nothing like the change of a decade, a zero at the end of a year, to review these items. Creating these goals gives me something to shoot for and gives me great direction. You see I’m a dreamer, and I think it’s important as an entrepreneur to constantly dream of how things could be. Daydreaming might be fine, but no successful businessperson just didn’t wish things into creation. They took action on their dreams to make them into reality.
My Past Ten Years
Obviously we’ve had many political, technical and economic changes in the past ten years. Things that happened in the past ten years: dot com stock market crash, 9/11, two wars, mortgage meltdown, stock market crash part deux, first African American President, and don’t forget Twitter.
I would rather discuss things on a personal level, as those things seem to affect you more. Since I don’t know what happened to you, I can discuss what happened to me. For me personally, the past ten years have been a doozie. In somewhat time order:
- Quit working for a company named Commerce One to start up a business full-time. At the time Commerce One was a very well known start up. It’s IPO was one of the biggest gains in price of all time. I had my boss and people who I worked with say I was crazy to leave. If you look around now, you can see why they were nicknamed Commerce None. At the time, it was one of the toughest decisions I made, but in retrospect it was easy compared to the many more difficult decisions I make today. Anthony Robbins has said making decisions is similar to working out; the more decisions you make, the easier it becomes. What was once hard to bench press, becomes much easier if keep pushing yourself.
- I started this business with partners who had an already existing business. I thought they would add and give valuable wisdom to the business. In retrospect, they did neither. Though the experience I gained in other areas was priceless. For future reference, I need to make a mental note that experience in one field does not translate to another industry.
- Put a down payment on a rental property on the morning of September 11, 2001. Being this was my first rental property, I was nervous. Coming out of meeting with my lawyer I initially felt good, until I turned on the radio. Gulp! I thought I just made the biggest mistake in history. I still own the property today; so far it has had huge gains capital gains (even after the mortgage meltdown) and has been cash flow positive since I purchased the unit.
- After years searching for my soul mate, I found my wife Jeanne. We met, believe it or not, online via Match.com. Since the author being uber-geeky thought this was the best way to find women via the virtual-bar scene.
- Got rid of my first round of business partners. Brought in another business partner who had no experience, but had lots of “gusto”. I thought it would be a good fit. Two and half years later he came to my house dumping all of the company assets he had and told me he quit. In retrospect, this turned out to be a great thing for the business. I was able to streamline operations that my business partner did not want to do.
- Jeanne and I married, and we sold her house at the peek of the real estate bubble. We then proceeded to buy a house closer to NYC and her work. Our new house so far has since decreased 15% in value, but we don’t plan on moving anytime in the near future.
- Bought assets from another company to merge into my existing company. It was a mini MAA (merger and acquisition) because it was only $60k in assets. I was partly sold a bad bill of goods. In reality the owner was either very disorganized in their operations, flat out lied about who were active customers, or a little bit of both. This business owner later sold their entire business to another company. Hmm…I wonder how that transaction went. From my experience, I was not impressed with their business experience they now promote they have. Either way I have no hard feelings for the person and wish them the best. I’ve easily recouped the costs, and then some from the purchase. Overall it was a great experience in merging assets from another company.
- Jeanne and I had two children. Opened up 529 investments to ensure we can pay for their college education. We are now expecting our unexpected third child.
I can say, for the exception the revolving door of business partners, all of these goals were listed in the late 1990′s. From my direct experience writing your goals down is a very powerful experience. Did I achieve all of my goals I set out to do? Absolutely not. I have modified some in the past 10 years, others I no longer want, and others I have yet to achieve.
My Ten Year Goals
As I’ve mentioned before, I have very long term horizons in my investment goals. I look at investing as at least a 5-10 year process. Along the way I make small incremental steps. Here are my financial goals for the next 10 years:
- At least $200,000 yearly passive income via stocks, bonds, real estate and my businesses
- Have at least $75,000 in each child’s 529 education plan (as the oldest will be 14 years old)
- Have enough in our retirement accounts where we “could” retire.
I say “could” retire as I don’t believe in retirement per se, because in many cases retirement equals death. I believe in enough money invested where you didn’t have to work another day again. You work at only the things you love to do without worrying about money, and what I define as truly being wealthy. For most people that magic number is around $2-3 million in net worth. What matters more though is not net worth, but your cash flow. Personally, we are very much along that way and should reach that goal long before the ten years are up. I should also state the passive income is truly passive; no more than 5 hours per week should be needed to ensure these assets are performing.
I will not bore you with the detailed steps on how I plan on achieve these big goals, but I will say you need to detail out each of your grand goals. There are many great books on the subject of goals setting and suggest you start there.
You see, like in my case, a lot can happen in ten years. If you plan it out, you will be able to anticipate things down the road. You’ll be able to seize the opportunity when the time comes. The future will most definitely come; it’s your objective to plan for it.