When my family immigrated to the United States in 1994, my parents had $200 in their bank account. Within 5 years, they were able to buy our family home. And since then, they have been able to acquire multiple residential properties, (fortunately) put me through college, and travel the entire world. How do you go from a mere $200 to living the lifestyle you always wanted?
Moving to a new country is never easy. My parents had to go through a lot of hardships to transition and assimilate to a new culture and a new way of surviving. They worked tirelessly to keep food on the table, put me through college, and afford my family a substantially better life.
The truth is families around the world face consistent financial challenges, and these challenges become even more magnified when you move to a new country. It is really difficult to cope and adapt to the new country; when I was young, my family came to the U.S. with aspirations but little to no money. However, they set extremely specific goals, laid out a clear and actionable plan, and continued to work diligently towards their vision.
Eventually, their hard work and dedication yielded 10X the results they envisioned. And as I embarked on my own financial journey, I realized I wanted to emulate and elevate my own financial success. For a long time, I always limited myself when it came to money. However, as I continued to read, learn, and develop more, I started to grasp the importance of believing in your potential, maintaining a clear financial vision, and developing an abundance mindset.
So, I would like to pose a thought – no matter what your financial position may be today, what do you want your bank account to look like in 5 years?
In order to truly get there, let’s discuss 3 imperative actions and mindset shifts that I trust will help you get there.
Treat your life like a CEO of a company
By this, I mean that just like a CEO of a company focuses on his or her financial situation with proper planning, that is exactly how everyone in our society today can meet their financial aspirations. A CEO of a company not only focuses on making more money and growing their business, but along with that, they also have to balance debt obligations, cover expenses, pay an income to employees, save for contingency events (e.g. pandemics), and invest for the future.
Moving towards adulthood, I realized that if I want to become successful and continuously grow my wealth, I must learn, follow, and emulate the people who have successfully embodied the CEO mindset. My parents were my first inspiration, and from there, I looked up to even more prominent individuals such as Gary Vaynerchuk, Chamath Palihapitiya, and Oprah Winfrey. These individuals are the CEO of their lives and have appropriately planned out and visualized how to accomplish their financial goals.
And guest what? You can do it. To become the CEO of your life and reach your 5-year financial goals, here are 5 areas you will want to focus your energy:
- Create income streams (9-5 job, side business, gig work, etc.)
- Slash operating costs (food, recurring subscriptions, housing costs)
- Develop cash reserves (rainy day or emergency funds)
- Grow your capital (invest in equities, bonds, forex, real estate, etc.)
- Automate your future (use tools to allocate set percentages to each bucket)
For me, this is an iterative process and one that requires fine-tuning. As long as your financial plan is clear, you will dial up or down certain areas depending on where you are at that point in time. This is the true mastery of CEO that you can start to adapt today.
Building Your Financial Game Plan System
Beginning my path to financial well-being was not easy. I had to devise a strategy to achieve my financial aspirations no matter how much I earned. Many of us are familiar with the expression, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” When it comes to financial goals and objectives — this old adage still rings true. Quickly after we immigrated, my parents devised a clear plan that allowed them to be in control of their finances, to build toward their financial goals, and to truly become the CEO of their future.
And in my personal growth process, I have learned a multitude of important truths that can help almost anyone balance their financial situation and develop their 5-year map or GPS (Game Plan System).
- Build an emergency fund –No matter where you are in life, it is important to set aside 8–10 months of living expenses. You do not have to do it all at once, but every dollar you save today is a dollar you will not have to borrow if something unexpected happens.
- Pay down debts – Obtain the lowest rates you can on your debts. Refinance your mortgage and student loans, making on-time minimum payments on all the debts
- Contribute to retirement – Whether your company has a 401k plan or you create your own IRA account, make sure to contribute 8-15% of your income to your retirement. This prepares you for your future and also brings down your yearly taxable income
- Put your income to work – Whether it is a portion of your paycheck or your yearly bonuses, start to make investments that align to your broader financial goals. Equities, mutual funds, ETFs, REITs are all compound interest vehicles worth exploring (remember to do your research before investing)
Personal Monthly and Quarterly Reviews
Once you begin your journey, you have to keep an eye on your finances the same way a CEO and a business would – on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis. Every business does this to benchmark against their goals and make necessary adjustments.
When I started my personal finance journey, I leveraged the lessons I learned from my parents and other successful role models. What I learned is that they all consistently stay true to this practice. Structured personal check-ins, especially financial ones, allow you to make critical adjustments as well as celebrate achievements.
Once you visualize your 5-year bank account outlook, you can easily set calendar reminders on a monthly and quarterly cadence to calibrate with yourself or even a partner to ensure you’re trending towards your goals. And you can use simple spreadsheets to manage and monitor your progress. Remember, you cannot improve what you do not measure, so it is vital to keep track of everything so your personal check-ins are that much more valuable.
Our life is directly correlated with the quality of questions we ask ourselves, so ask yourself “what do you want your financial status to be in 5 years?” How will you get there? What do you need to do today to ensure you are set up for yourself (and your family)? If we start to ask better questions, we start to get better answers that allow us to break through limiting beliefs and reach the financial goals we aspire and that can change the quality of our lives.
About Edward Gorbis
Edward is best known for his work as a performance coach and motivational speaker for ambitious first-time managers and entrepreneurs. He’s the CEO of Career Meets World, an inclusive community (and podcast) where you can learn and discuss the intersection of career and financial growth. You can keep up with Edward by following him on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.