The foundation of My Dollar Plan is actually the same as the name… it’s based on our dollar plan. Readers wanted to know what it looks like, how we created it and how we manage our finances to it. So far I’ve only mentioned it in theory and haven’t explained the nuts and bolts.
Today we’re kicking off the series to create your own dollar plan! Over the next several months, I’ll guide you through the process. Along the way, I’ll share examples from our plan to give you ideas. Each step will be spaced out so that you have time to work on your own plan as we go. As always, feel free to leave comments and ask questions. I’ll answer them as we go.
Where are you heading in life? If you could look back on your life 10, 20, or 50 years down the road, what would you want to have accomplished?
Many of us set goals, but have you gone to the next step to align your financial life with your goals?
By the end of the series, you’ll have a roadmap that takes you from where you are now to where you want to get to… financially. And we’ll put some checkpoints in too. Let’s get started!
Step 1: Brainstorming
All good plans begin with a brainstorming session. You probably have a handful of goals in your head, but have you devoted time to really generating a bunch of ideas that you want to pursue?
Create the environment. What situation do your creative juices flow best in? Is it with a big empty posterboard sized paper? How about sticky notes? A plain piece of notebook paper? Get the supplies and get comfortable.
Block out some time. An hour should be good to get started. Make sure you won’t have any interruptions. The last thing you want is to get going on a roll and have the phone ring.
Start writing. Write down your goals in life. These can be short-term, long-term, or anywhere in between. The goals do not have to be financial. Anything goes here. Write for an hour and include any thoughts that pop into your head. This isn’t the time to restrict yourself. If you want it, write it down.
Walk away. This is a critical piece in brainstorming. Too often after we jotted down all our ideas, we try to classify them immediately. Give the brainstorming some time for reflection. By letting the ideas just sit for a day or two, you’ll find yourself thinking about them, adding to them, and building some excitement.
Group your ideas. Once you’ve given the ideas time to develop, it’s time to group similar items. You may find your ideas fall into some general categories: family, career, retirement, etc. You’ll be able to focus on a category of plans together since they are likely intertwined.
Get your spouse involved. You can do a joint brainstorming session, or you can brainstorm separately and work to combine your ideas later.
Some of my goals that I’ve shared previously:
- Two year plan so I can choose to Stay Home or Go Back to Work without financial consequences.
- Our ultimate goal: Become financially independent by 2017.
- Financial Goals for 2008 includes many of our short-term goals for the year.
What are your goals?
Next up? Step 2.