No these lessons don’t involve smoking weed or getting myself into trouble. The Elon Musk as of late doesn’t seem to the Elon Musk of old where the focus was on working harder than anyone and putting the focus on building of companies.
Something that Elon Musk did over 10 years ago didn’t get a lot of fan fare but I certainly appreciated it. What did Elon do?
He put his plan for Tesla out for everyone to see. If you don’t believe me check it out. I’d like to share with you why a personal finance master plan is important and what mine entails.
Elon’s Master Plan
The details of the plan aren’t so important to me as a personal finance blogger. Whats important to me is that he put it out there, under the radar and then executed to those plans.
For Tesla he was essentially telling all of their competitors exactly what he was doing. Since then he’s open sourced his patents. By doing each of those things he’s put out to the world what he’s going to do and the technology with which he’s doing to do it.
By doing this what does this tell me?
Idea’s & plans are meaningless and that the value comes from execution.
Ideas are meaningless
That seems like a bit of stretch doesn’t it. Of course ideas aren’t meaningless. However any entrepreneur, small business owner, etc has probably a million ideas. Until those ideas or plans have come to fruition they don’t mean anything.
They aren’t bringing any value. They aren’t doing any good. Recently I just touched on how to be in the top 5% in anything. The last two steps of being in the top 5% were to commit to 10 years and put in the work.
Master plans are for everyone
Now don’t get me wrong. Having a plan is important. I think everyone person and business should have a plan for what they are trying to accomplish. However, the plans never work out like you thought.
The importance of the plan is not how closely reality mirrors what you thought was going to happen. Putting the plan together requires you to think deeply on what you’re trying to do and why you’re trying to do it.
When something does change, and it inevitably will, you’ll probably have thought through that issue or problem and already know the solution.
Master plans are for everyone. Whether you are just about to graduate college, trying to get your financial house in order or who knows what, putting together a master plan is something I’d recommend.
Master plans for you
What is your situation? Maybe you are a soon-to-be-college graduate that is moving out on their own and you don’t quite know what you need to do with your finances after college. Here may be a good master plan for you that will set a good financial foundation:
- List your student loans and payments (month 1 after graduation)
- Track your expenses to understand where your money is going (months 2-5)
- Set a formal budget that includes your student loans (months 6-12)
- Take the excess cash you have and start paying down your loans smallest to largest
Or what about if you got interested in personal finance later on in life? Maybe you’ve got some debt and a family and don’t quite know what to do. Here is what you may want to think about:
- Track your expenses (2 months)
- Set a formal budget and stick to it and save all the excess cash, if there is any (months 3-6)
- Take excess cash each month and decide its best purpose (paying down debt, putting it into savings, etc)
After writing out those two examples something dawned on me. They were both simple. It didn’t take a financial wizard to figure them out. They are basic and straight forward.
There is little, if any, math involved. No fancy equations. No money out of your pocket.
To actually make them happen they were going to take patience.
After years of overspending and getting into debt people think that they can and need to correct all of that in a single month. I think thats the wrong approach.
I think its better to ease yourself into. Noticed how the master plan for both didn’t actually require anything other than tracking their spending for a few months.
My master plan
I’ve put together a master plan for my finances. I’ve got my goals for 2019 and the vision for my life. Those are building blocks or pieces of the puzzle but don’t quite capture what I’m after. The building blocks of the plan are really easy to write down, however, actually reaching these milestones will take a tremendous amount of work and discipline.
- Continue to pay down student loan debt while saving in a taxable account
- Be debt free other than house & continue to save money in a taxable account (~2024)
- Pay cash for our next house, thus, becoming debt free (~2029)
- Invest gap between income and expenses to save fore early retirement
- Have the option to retire early (~2044)
Its weird to think that it only took me 5 short sentences but it will take me till I’m 55 to do. I could have been more or less detailed.
Comparing the plans that I put up earlier for the different scenarios I realize that the steps to mine are much more drawn out. I think that on any journey, the steps at the beginning are much closer together. As you get deeper into any field it takes longer to make meaningful strides. I guess thats why the extra mile is never crowded!