Compose a Letter to Yourself to Help Visualize Your Goals
Don’t just imagine it — put it in writing
One of my New Year’s resolutions was to be much more active on a platform called Bigger Pockets.
It’s the biggest platform for people interested in real estate and investing to come together, learn from each other, use tools, exchange stories, etc.
I had always liked my membership and the many benefits and tools they offer, but I had slacked as far as writing in the forums. I never really knew if it would have much of an effect.
With the resolution in mind, I started to post regularly in January. To get an idea of what my topic area could be, I first read a lot of the “trending topics” in the different forums — or is it fora?
To me, it was very interesting to read that most people who post regularly are providing pretty negative stories and descriptions of experiences about turnkey investing. My experience has been very good, so I decided that will be my topic area.
I am astounded by how many people have contacted me to discuss my approach to turnkey investing since I started writing about it. At the same time, I also sensed that many people, especially early on in their investing career are really unsure of where to start, how any of the many options to invest money could work for them, and how to make sure these investments would work out.
Yes, there is a lot to learn in any investment area. Regardless if you decide to invest in stocks, in real estate, in commercial ventures, or any other forms you can think of, it’s always important to have a thorough understanding of all the influencing factors that make an investment successful or let it fail. In the end, it’s how you evaluate the risks. You determine if what is possible to achieve warrants the risk that is involved.
In the kind of residential real estate investing I suggest and practice myself, the risk is limited, the outcomes pretty predictable, and the main factors are discipline and patience.
When you want to decide if the approach I have chosen would work for you one other thing is really important: What’s your goal?
What do you aim to achieve?
For my real estate investments, I partner with turnkey providers to reach my “Time Freedom Point”.
That’s a date in the future where the passive income (some call it positive cash flow) from my residential real estate investments is higher than the amount of money I need for all the expenses in my life.
For most people to afford the things we need in life we are required to exchange our time for money. Basically have a job, or two, or three. When you reach the Time Freedom Point you have the freedom to decide what you want to do with the most precious thing you have — Time.
If you love what you have been doing, keep doing it and continue collecting money for it. If your work occupation isn’t exciting you that much anymore, you can stop and do the things you are passionate about.
No worries about money because your passive income will take care of that.
To find out when that Time Freedom point will occur to you, you first want to determine what the amount of money has to be for you to stop exchanging time for money.
For example, let’s just say you calculate that you need $4200 each month to cover all your expenses. If you apply my strategy, you can reasonably calculate that you will get $300/month in passive income/positive cash flow out of each investment property — a nice 3 bedroom house in the Midwest that you bought for $100k and rent for about $1000/month.
With that in mind, it is clear it will take 14 of these properties to get to $4200/month.
Most people can’t just go to the bank, pull some money from the account and buy 14 houses. It will take time to save, then invest, save again, invest again, and get to the total number of houses. Because of this fact it will take 8–12 years to get to the Time Freedom point.
If you are a pretty factual person, you might be ok with that understanding and the calculation and can see how pleasant life will be without a job and $4200 coming in each month.
A lot of people I talk to tell me that there are two big things in the way:
- The confidence to get started — and I love to help with that. By actually going through the experience of purchasing assets, you can learn how to do it. With a mentor, like me, you have a good chance to avoid any major mistakes and losses.
- Maintaining motivation and energy for a long period of time. Admittedly, 8–12 years is a long period of time — especially in our current reality of instant gratification and 24-hour news cycles.
To help with the 2nd hurdle, a tool I have been using is coming really handy. It’s called “The Letter to Myself”.
This is how this works:
You find a spot where you can think without distractions. Now imagine what you will enjoy if you no longer have to work or have to struggle to get money every month. What would you do? What will bring you the most joy?
Next, imagine you were to gather with your best friends for a nice meeting, i.e. by the beach, at the cabin, next to a fire or fireplace, etc. See yourself in the role of a storyteller.
You start telling the story of the journey to get to your Time Freedom Point in as much detail as possible. Imagine all the things that need to go well and all the things you can imagine could go wrong on that journey. Write that story down and call it “Part 1”. (Make sure you write as detailed as humanly possible, even if it feels like you are writing a book. Don’t give up if it takes a little effort to get into the flow).
Find a second opportunity, 3–7 days after you wrote part 1. Sit down again and write part 2. Now you are describing a typical week in your new life after you reached the Time Freedom Point. Literally, start with getting up on Monday morning and finally going to bed on Sunday night at the end of that week. Again, put in as much detail as you can imagine about every little thing you would and could do when you have the freedom to live your passion and no longer need to exchange time for money.
Now that you have part 1 and part 2, make it a habit to read part 2 each Sunday before the new week starts (some people also do that Monday morning).
Once a month read part 1 and make any corrections to the story of your journey. Most people realize they didn’t put nearly as many of the details in the story as what actually happens. So keep adding, adjusting, detailing, and refining.
You will see how much this two-part letter to yourself becomes a source of positive energy and motivation.
Yes, there are hurdles and delays on the journey, but part 2 will always support you and remind you of the vision of your life that you are working for.
Take the first step and begin writing.