Dream Big

Who are the first people you think of when I say “successful person”? Chances are, you think of the famous people: Steve Jobs, Abraham Lincoln, Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Phelps, Tom Hanks, Adele, etc. Maybe you’ll swing back around to including a relative that isn’t so obviously successful, but more likely, you’ll think about the big names first.ย There is an endless amount of resources telling you about the habits, routines, diets, and life hacks of “highly successful people” so you can mimic them and be successful too. You’ll even find amazing stories of the failures of successful people that they overcame before they succeeded. But let me focus on the obvious element to success that we hear a lot: Successful people dream big.

Let’s look at what some of goals these people did NOT set. Steve Jobs never said: “I’ll get a job with a good pension, and I’ll comfortably retire at 65.” Michael Phelps never said: “I’ll just learn how to swim across the pool without drowning, and then I’ll stop swimming.” Adele never said: “I sound pretty good in my shower. But it’s a good thing no one else can hear me!”

Dreaming big changes you. It breaks down walls of “I can’t” and helps you explore possibilities with confidence.

So let’s talk about money and big dreams. Sure, you can dream about becoming an Olympic gold medalist or to have a chart-topping album, and those dreams will lead you to being financially successful in some ways, but there is another way to be financially successful. It’s called: saving money. Mr. T and I are working toward quickly saving lots of money so that we can dream big in anything we want to do and not have to worry about the money part of the equation. But our path to financial awesomeness doesn’t involve becoming famous. It involves simply saving money. Successful people in finances are people that have managed their finances well and have made money multiply, right? And you want to be a successful person. So, dream big.

Set your financial goals high. Maybe you want to retire with $10 million. Or maybe you want to retire with enough money to live AND buy a yacht. Or maybe you’d like to retire in 5 years, or 7 years, or 10 years. Maybe you just want to get out of all that debt once and for all. Break down the walls of impossibility and set your goals high. Our goals involve paying off our mortgage in 3+ years and having $500,000 in savings in 6+ years.

The problem with finances is that we are often guilty of not choosing a path at all. We know we want to have lot of money at some future date, but we fail to pinpoint how much we actually want and set at date as to when we want it. Sometimes we make large goals, but do nothing more than declare “I will be rich someday.” A lofty goal is only achievable by degrees. You will not declare yourself a millionaire and find it to be so without any other effort. Start with your big, lofty goals, and then break it into chunks. How much can you save this year to get there? $10,000/month would get you to $10 million in 28 years and $1,000/month will get you to $1 million in the same amount of time (assuming 7% interest). $6,000/month will get you to $1 million in just ten years and $500,000 in six years. Each month you’re able to save high rates, the more attainable your lofty goal becomes.

What if you Fail?

The awesome thing about saving money is that you can’t ever fail. Sure, maybe you won’t actually be able to retire in ten years with $10,000,000. Maybe Mr. T and I will fail, too. Maybe in 2022, we don’t have $500,000. What happens then? Then we’ll have a whole bunch of savings and a paid off house. Doesn’t sound like a total failure to me.

What we’ve discovered in less than a year on this lofty financial journey is there is no reason not to try. Nothing is stopping you. And setting big goalsย activates the mindset shift necessary to rethink priorities and evaluate what you really want in life. If the goal isn’t difficult, it won’t make you question anything and then you won’t be capable of achieving greatness. If Michael Phelps set a goal to go for a swim once a week, he would probably be able to easily achieve his goal. But he also wouldn’t be an Olympian. It’s the undertaking of something difficult that transforms us into beings of possibility rather than negativity. You can achieve great things. And that includes your finances.

What are your lofty financial goals?

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  1. We must dream big to achieve big goals. I love the concept of the self-fullfilling prophecy. That is, we become what others (and ourselves) expect us to become. How ofte do you hear of the children of doctors growing up to be doctors themselves? Quite often. I understand that they are also priveledged and have connections; however, they were also ‘expected’ to do so. Steve Jobs expected to be a heavy hitter. He was. Yes, everyone fails. But it’s the people who fail and keep moving that win at life. Nice post!

    Mrs. Mad Money Monster

    • MaggieBanks

      Yes, a self fulfilling prophesy – it’s a mindset. If we never think we can achieve something, we won’t ever achieve anything. If we just pick easy goals, we won’t know how far we can stretch ourselves.

  2. a woman

    Successful is to keep the path and the dream, to enjoy the path not only the end. My cousin decided to loose 50kg. She did it! And I admire her, because she has a perfect job for her and she found the force to change the diet and live, after more then 10 years double!

    My husband finished 2 marathons and tried a ultra-marathon (81 km). He failed to finish? no! he run around 50 km ! he keep the preparation plan, he enjoyed the running until Waterloo and to turn back from there (ok, he is not the only one that come back walking from Waterloo, Napoleon did the same ๐Ÿ˜€ 250 years ago )

    • MaggieBanks

      I love the Waterloo example. ๐Ÿ™‚ And I can honestly say that I have never run 50km for the simple reason that I’ve never told myself I could! The same is true of any goal. If you set a big one and tell yourself you can do it, you’ll be able to achieve more than you ever assumed you could before.

      • a woman

        He started step by step: when I meet him he was like me, a 3km jogging person; then
        -I become 6-10km – he 0;
        -I get pregnant and I gained 16kg – 10kg for him
        – I come back from maternity with a 4 kg girl and I get slim in 2 months- 10 for him
        -he re started to run
        -he took medal for 20km – I am a 3km runner
        -he finished 2 marathons – I still run 3km
        -he started the ultra -marathon – finally he realize is too much to run 10hours continuously – I still run 3km

        • MaggieBanks

          3km is still farther than I run. I hate running. I do Zumba instead. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. It is so easy to passively move through life without a big plan. Sometimes I find the hardest part of making a change is to figure out the plan, or even where to start. Like for instance, I would love to switch careers to teaching, but I have only a 20% clue about how to go about it efficiently. I think money and finance can be hard for some people, very intimidating – which can make it difficult to understand the steps to take – maybe that is why Dave Ramsey is so popular!

    • MaggieBanks

      Having steps to take is important, and, as we know, finances are not an open topic as much as they should be, so people just don’t know. Dave is loud and popular and has simple ideas, so people with any desire to get their act together can find him and apply what he says. But dreaming big on your own and figuring out what YOU want to do and how to get there will get you farther. It is tough, however, when you don’t know how or where to start.

  4. “Itโ€™s the undertaking of something difficult that transforms us…” Amen! Right now my lofty financial goal is to get out of debt in two years. And it starts with knocking out about $12k in 2016. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. I love this post, Maggie — so inspiring! Our goal of retiring fully in two years is definitely on the lofty side, just because we may not be all the way there in terms of what we’d ideally like to save. But we are both comfortable pushing for a more audacious goal, and if we don’t quite reach it, then like you said, we’ll still be somewhere awesome, with tons of savings and a fully or nearly paid off house. And then we’ll just adjust our plan to work part-time for the first few years or retirement, or whatever we have to do. But there’s no downside to saving as aggressively as we are!

  6. MaggieBanks

    The sentiment of the overused quote: “Shoot for the moon and if you miss, you’ll land among the stars” works here. The stars are pretty good, but if you don’t shoot for the moon at all, you’ll never even reach the sky! Luckily, with saving money there is no risk in missing the goal! There’s no reason not to aim high!

  7. Your post reminds me of Ramsey’s mantra about getting “gazelle intense.” Little goals are not very exciting, so we don’t care about them as much. There isn’t as much motivation, or as much regret when you don’t meet them. Our debt didn’t used to bother us too much, because we were following along the standard path with decades of work. As soon as we set a more-extreme goal, it woke us up and gave us the motivation we needed.

    • MaggieBanks

      Sometimes when a goal will take years and years to make happen, we just give up on it entirely. But if we see it’s actually possible, we can apply that intensity Ramsey talks about to just get it done! Small goals don’t inspire the same amount of commitment or intensity.

  8. Yes! Dreaming big & lofty goals are incredibly important. They always give me something to look forward to. ๐Ÿ™‚ A couple of our dream big/lofty goals:

    1. Save enough for 20% down on our first home
    2. Have a large enough emergency fund to cover 1 year worth of expenses for the both of us
    3. Save enough to cover/partially cover kid(s) future tuition costs to avoid student loans
    4. Never experience credit card debt
    5. Have enough to pass on a sizeable sum to future generations of our family as well as donate to a charity/non-profit of our choice

    We’re well on our way for all 5, but the important part is also living for today and finding that great balance. ๐Ÿ™‚ Every year I hope to re-evaluate these lofty goals because circumstances may change, but the exciting part is already having the lofty goals established!

    • MaggieBanks

      Those are excellent, lofty goals. Looking forward to your big goals gives you motivation! If they’re not exciting, they’re not big enough!

  9. Awesome post and so true! I’ve always been huge into goal setting and pushing myself in everything from sports to school, and now finances. How can you get anywhere without goals?

    My current financial goals for 2016 are:
    1. $6K in dividend income
    2. $10K in private lending
    3. $10K in realized capital gains from stock trading
    4. $20K from part time work

    We can get 50% of each pretty easily, the other 50% will be the fun part!

    • MaggieBanks

      Those are great goals! Can’t wait to see how you do! Goals do help push us to see what we’re capable of doing… and I love that about them!

  10. I have definitely been guilty of not having lofty goals or big dreams… But I’m working on making them… Right now, I’m working on an emergency fund, and a pretty big travel fund for 2016 (a few out of town weddings and my honeymoon), and once that is done I will return to concentrating on my retirement fund… Though I haven’t put together a plan… I’m thinking that the lofty goal for retirement would be retire in 15 years… Not sure what would be required for that yet, but I’ll work on the plan…

    • MaggieBanks

      Can’t wait to hear about that plan! Remember to just start with 25 times your annual spend and that’s your financial independence goal! ๐Ÿ™‚ Right now, our plan includes us making some money, but maybe we should aim higher! We’ll see where the next year takes us…

  11. Wow! This was an awesome, awesome post. Thank you so much for the inspiration! We set lofty goals last Friday, so regular reminders are necessary to stay focused! Thanks again!

    • MaggieBanks

      I’m excited to see where 2016 takes us all! I love a new year… it just gets me determined to start fresh and set better, bigger goals!

  12. Man, the first time I went to CO I visited CO school of mines campus and I said, “I’m getting my grad degree from there.” I had just started studying geology and was still living in KY but 8 yrs later I was leaving there with a great job and my grad degree. ๐Ÿ™‚ it took a lot of work and I got rejected twice but I didn’t quit trying and it paid off. Side note, working close to there I think ultimately it was my persistent annoyance that did it, lol. I stopped in 1-2 times a week to talk to the geo director. He sighed every time he saw me, lol.
    Point is I had a goal and made it happen. It would’ve been easy to quit when I got turned down twice, but I kept at it and got accepted and graduated from there. It’s all about attitude, and I’m all for shoot for the moon and if you miss you’re still with the stars. Never heard it before, but I love it!

    • MaggieBanks

      This is a great example! Thank you for sharing. Grit and determination are hugely important! Make a goal, make it big, and then figure out a way to get there! Also, I can’t believe you’ve never heard that saying. It’s completely overused, but I love it too. ๐Ÿ™‚ The sentiment is so true.

  13. I’m always torn when I hear the “aim for the stars, you might land on the moon” phrase but I try to aim for realistic short term goals as a way of balancing out my disdain. ๐Ÿ™‚ The long term goal are the stars but the series of short term goals are more realizable and realistic…

    That said, it’s only a failure if you stop, right?

    • MaggieBanks

      I agree that the short-term smaller goals should definitely be attainable. But if you never push yourself, you’ll never actually know what you’re capable of achieving.

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