‘If you fail to plan you plan to fail’. While Benjamin Franklin may have said this, many people have experienced the effect of not planning for their financial future, and it’s not pretty. Just by reading this you are already considering your future so I congratulate you. And because I’m partial to property as an investment vehicle we already have something in common.
When it comes to property investing some people treat it as a hobby. Some people research their butts off but never take action. And then some people like me, had a plan to retire by age 45 with a few properties paid off, providing passive income to fund a modest lifestyle. But life doesn’t always go according to plan which is why we have contingency plans.
A plan involves five steps and these can be transferred from property investing to other areas of your life:
- Research of ourselves first and foremost followed by research of the marketplace. This is where I learned that our priorities can change drastically throughout life. Cash flow, capital growth and returns are important but relaxing somewhere with loved ones brings the most joy. It’s a balance.
- Setting a goal with a date and knowing why this goal is important. The ‘Why’ is so much more important than the ‘How’ because the universe doesn’t work well if we try and control everything. That’s like tying someone’s hands so they can’t work their magic. Having a Plan is important but keep the BIG picture in mind and be open to possibilities.
- The specific date is important to maintain focus too. Choose an age, anniversary date or other important day of the year. For example 30 June 2017, which is the end of the financial/fiscal year in Australia. If you just say you want to achieve your goal in ‘three months time’ then when you wake up next week that goal is still three months away.
- Looking at our assumptions and contingency plans. Have we assumed that our health allows us to continue to earn an income and have we taken out income protection or insurance? Some people say not to have a contingency plan so that you are forced to take even more action towards your goal. That’s okay provided that if things don’t go according to plan you don’t have a meltdown.
- Setting milestones and breaking these down to action steps that can be conducted within a half hour timeframe. As these little steps become an enjoyable habit you’ll find you don’t need to set time aside. For example instead of allocating half an hour to research property I now have to set a cut off so that I will not surf the net looking at property for more than three hours. I really do love it!
- Rewarding ourselves along the way so that when we achieve a milestone and that final goal it truly has fulfilled us and had a ripple effect. There’s no point in achieving a goal if it hasn’t made us a better person and somehow contributed to the BIG picture.
My own experience is that I’d been interested in property since my Dad, who had gone through the Great Depression of the 1930s in Australia, said “make sure you always have a roof over head and food on the table.”
Buying my first property at 21 my plan was to buy a house every two years. Well the second came along three years later and the third property, four years later. That was okay. I was on the track albeit going a little slower than hoped (three properties by age 28). Please notice how I use the word ‘hoped’ instead of ‘expected’. In my next article I’ll talk about mindset being the basis for a successful property portfolio. For now, realise that a successful plan is based on more than hope.
So I expect you’ve gained something out of this and would love to hear your thoughts below. What are your tips for the process of Planning?