One of the most important steps – and perhaps the most overlooked step to wealth building is the setting of specific goals. I once read an article – it has been years so don’t quote me on specifics. The article quoted a study of college students, graduates and working professionals. It asked if the study subjects wrote down their goals. Most people had goals but this study was looking at the difference between those who wrote their goals and those who just had them in their heads.
The results of the study were interesting; if I remember correctly, 80% of the people who wrote their goals were successful in attaining them whereas only 20% of those who did not write their goals were successful in attaining them. This observation echoes the same findings that Napoleon Hill had in his book “Think and Grow Rich.”
It is very important to write down your goals.
In November 2004, after I had read Napoleon Hill again (I had read it twice back in my college days), I sat down and wrote out my goal. It was an ambitious plan and I did not know if I would accomplish it or not but I wrote it down. I’ll have to admit, I didn’t read it twice aloud daily like I was supposed to. Perhaps I read it a few days a week and sometimes I would forget for a week or two. But I would always come back to it, visualize it, fantasize about it and try – as hard as I could – to will it to happen.
I, Samuel, will have in the bank, $1,000,000 – one million dollars, cash, by 30 November 2012. For this amount of money, I will give my time, effort, energy, liberty, ego, family, relationships, friendships, freedom, hard work, travel, recreation and hobbies; I will use all of my determination, nuance, skill or anything else necessary to make this goal a reality.
I can already see myself in possession of this money. As I close my eyes, I can already see this amount of money in the bank. It is as sure as there. I will attain this goal. I will focus on this goal and all of my actions will drive me towards this end; I will conduct myself in a way that is compatible with the successful attainment of this goal. I will forgo and ignore all distractions that take my attention and efforts off of this goal.
I will read this statement, aloud, twice daily, morning and evening, until this goal is a reality.
I surpassed the $1,000,000 cash mark on 5 August 2012, about 3 months before my goal date. There were many months (years) where I thought I wouldn’t make it. Especially after the 2008 stock market crash. I lost over $100,000 in one month. Many of my work colleagues freaked out and abandoned the market and put their money in FDIC insured accounts. I re-read my goal and thought about it and realized that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
I piled what cash I had left into the Dow Pro-Shares Ultra fund (leverages the Dow Jones Industrial average 200% – if the Dow is up 10%, you’re up 20%, if it is down 10%, you’re down 20%). Then, I took out a margin loan with my broker and plunked down some more in this fund and some other blue chip stocks. For the entire year 2009, I put every last paycheck I had into good stocks that I thought were severely undervalued.
I received an application for a Discover Card & it invited me to “transfer balances” interest free for 6 months. I thought, “Why not,” and put down my brokerage as a creditor – I did have a margin loan after all. Sure enough, Discover mailed them a $20,000 check. This freed up $20k in margin allowing me to buy more stock. I then called up my Visa card and asked if they would send me “some of those balance transfer” checks. They were happy to oblige. My account climbed about $400k from Fall 2009 til Spring 2010.
During the French Revolution, one of the frogs said, “Buy when there is blood in the streets.” How true that is. If you want to be rich you have to be bold when others are scared. You have to think outside the box. You have to seek the advice of wise people (I pay more in financial newsletter subscriptions than I ever paid for any membership or subscription and it has paid off 100 fold).
Back to goals. Have you written your goals down yet? If not, 80% chance you won’t make your goal; you probably will not become a millionaire. Better to write your goals and be in the 80% club!
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