What I learned at the Afford Anything Goal Setting Workshop

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the inaugural Afford Anything, Live and In-Person workshop event in New York at the Financial Gym.  Before we get into what I learned, planned and how to take action I just want to express what the absolute best thing about this weekend-long event was.

NEW YORK Graffiti
Walking West 25th Street

The Best Part Was The People

The best part was the people.  It was so fun & exciting to connect with so many amazing people with like-minded beliefs and goals,  People that we didn’t have to hide or downplay our saving, investing, or spending. This friendly, and encouraging community of entrepreneurs, professionals, authors, investors, and savers is driven and motivated. I’m not sure if this was because of such limited human interaction over the last year and a half, or what it was. I do know that it was fun to have face-to-face discussions with other humans.

Chris and Paul Pant
I was a total fanboy
meeting Paula! 😄

We had structured content and sessions and helped us learn about how we think about money, finances, risk, and where we’d like to be in the future. Equally, if not more important, where all of the conversations in between these sessions. The discussions before and after our day, over lunch, dinner, and coffee breaks. Hearing others’ stories, ambitions, accomplishments, and goals were inspiring & motivating.  

My Beginning Is Someone Else’s Middle

This group of people was from all walks of life with different backgrounds, and at different places in their journey to FI (financial independence). Some were very new, and others fairly experienced, far along their path, and are close to being able to “retire” from their W-2, or nine-to-five job. It was so interesting to hear where people were from and how location affected their plan.  Some were in HCOLAs (high cost of living area)  and some were not. Should they move and relocate? These and so many other factors affected how people would plan. 

I don’t want to disclose all of the specifics of the individual sessions within the workshop as I don’t want to reveal any special sauce in Paula Pant’s curriculum. I will discuss a few of the tactics that were used to help me think and what was most helpful to me. If you aren’t familiar, Please, go listen to the Afford Anything Podcast. Paula does a great job explaining topics in a way to makes them easy to learn. She is wonderful at interviewing guests and answering listener’s questions.

How We Think About Money

We had exercises and discussion topics that helped us learn more about ourselves.  To learn our belief system around money.  Do we think of money in terms of scarcity or abundance?  Are there beliefs or things that are holding us back from achieving our personal finance goals?  Do we hide, or downplay our investments, balances, or savings? Perhaps our spending and how frugal we are?

Birds Of A Feather Flock Together

One thing I learned is that I don’t often share I have investment properties, or that I save/invest 65% of my income unless it’s with those that understand the mindset, and the long-term goals I have.  I don’t want to be judged, or I absolutely get frustrated when someone hears I have rental units they come back with snarky comments, “oh you’re a slumlord, huh?” Ugh. No! No, I am not. I offer quality, well-maintained properties at fair rates, to those that meet or exceed my qualifying criteria.

Also, I don’t share my numbers with my family, or my adult children because I want them to understand that we will always maintain a strong work ethic. I don’t want them to think they can start to slide and just expect that, “Dad has the money, he’ll help me out.”  While I, of course, will always help my children in case of an emergency or other need, but these are not just hand-outs. 

Working alongside this group of attendees this weekend was so freeing. I felt I could share so much, and not be judged. I could ask for perspectives, thoughts, and feedback. People could share with me, and I could learn from others how they’ve been successful in a tactic or strategy.  It was awesome!

Getting to the meat of the program, we were developing a picture of what our life would look like in ten years.  We then would break down those goals and discuss actions or steps to achieve these goals.  In working through this exercise one of the biggest breakthroughs was starting with the end in mind, and working backward. 

What Does Your Life Look Like in 10 Years?

We attempted to be specific write out, or paint a picture, of what our life would look like in ten years. I’ll see myself, or visualize myself residing in a smaller, modest home. I’ll still be in the Midwest, most likely still the gopher state of Minnesota. After my morning routine, I’ll work at my non-profit, The Luger Foundation, as I’ll have left my “day job.” I’ll be spending more time and focus on My Podcasts. The Thrash Report and Heavy Metal Money. It was fun to write out the desired agenda, and look forward to making this come to life.

6:00 AMWake, Coffee & Review News & Media
7:30 AMMeditate
7:45 AMWalk
8:30 AMReview / Reply Emails and Daily To-Do Items
10:00 AMBlock of Productivity Time
The Luger Foundation (Non-Profit)
Luger Investment Group (Real Estate Investing)
• Write for Heavy Metal Money
• Prepare / Research for Heavy Metal Money Podcast
• Prepare / Research for The Thrash Report Podcast
12:00 PMLUNCH (Research, Social Media)
1:30 PMNap
2:00 PMBlock of Productivity Time
• Review / Reply Emails and To-Do Items
• Practice Guitar / Write Music
• Write for Heavy Metal Money
The Luger Foundation (Non-Profit)
Luger Investment Group (Real Estate Investing)
6:00 PMDinner
7:00 PMWatch a Movie or Show
9:00 PMWind downtime (crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, etc)
10:00 PMBed Time

We used data and calculations to determine the age or year in which we would achieve FI and be able to retire early if we chose to.  This was based on investment portfolios, other income streams, or profitable businesses. Then, one of the worksheets and exercises I found the most value in was developing a timeline. For example, determining my FI year was 2026 was at the middle of my 10-year timeline. This is my endpoint so to speak. One could argue this is just the beginning of an amazing chapter of life! 

Then working to left within the timeline we established milestones along the way leading us back to today.  For me, it was adding additional investment properties as well as migrating from residential to commercial properties.

I’d be establishing the cash flow needed to cover living expenses and healthcare.  I also included in my timeline the selling of my current primary home, and downsizing to a more modest home for an empty-nester. 

It was such an eye-opening experience looking at this in a backward way with starting with the end in mind.  This is strange because in technology we often look at projects and implementations this way.  We look at an event or due date first, such as a regulatory filing, compliance report, fiscal or calendar year closing, and work our way backward. We take into account testing phases, training users, and other integrations to build a timeline working backward. So… I’m not sure why I never looked at my other goals in this way. 

I now have a timeline, to begin with, and will continue to iterate and adjust as we make progress or encounter barriers.  I’m thankful for this event, and all of the wonderful contacts I’ve met. Let’s hope we continue to stay connected and challenge each other to be better.  And, those that may be reading this that we’re in this first-ever cohort, Thank you and I’ll see you in the community! 

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