The 7 Steps for High Income Earners to Safely Retire. Step 3. Strategize. Part 2. Your Certain Goal.

As promised, the highly sought-after Part 2 of Step 3. I’m going to need to make a map at some point. Incidentally, that is what you will be doing here.

There are a million books about goal-setting and planning. Many of these are much better than I can teach. Perhaps I’ll write a brief article on the process I use later. For now, think Habit #2 in Steven Covey’s well-regarded book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. You’ve probably already read it. In case you haven’t I recommend doing so. Take some time to evaluate your trajectory and decide how real estate will fit in.

By now, you are putting 10% of your income into a savings account and you are wondering what you should do with it. Well, that depends on your real estate goal.

But I Don’t Have a Goal Yet

We really need to spend some time strategizing on this one, because it will guide all of your decisions going forward. Recall that when I turn 50 years old I won’t have to work a job any more. I call it a goal because we are familiar with that term, but it is more than that. It is a Certain Goal.

Athletes that have the best game of their lives don’t talk about goal visualization, they generally say they simply knew they would win. Everything about that game was them succeeding. There was no question. Martial artists when breaking a board have no thought of failure. Word your statement just like that: a statement, not a wish. I have many wishes, I won’t obtain 10% of them. This is your Certain Goal. I have one certain goal and I will obtain it. Your Certain Goal needs to be part of you, as sure as the sun rises, it will happen. Don’t leave room for doubt.

I also recommend having a time limit. An age is good here. I think that grounds you and gives you something which to look forward. It keeps you on task. Decisions you make now will be different when you are getting close to the age in your Certain Goal. The age helps you in making these decisions.

Involve your spouse, if you have one. That person will be very helpful to support you when the times are tough and also to share in the joy when the times are rich. That person also must be behind your scheme and you may have some convincing to do. Don’t go forward until you have agreement.

What is Your Certain Goal?

You have and will have many goals in your life. You will reach some and miss others. Some people set up goals knowing that they will not reach them all. Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars. I truly don’t have a problem with that for your typical goals, but you must have one overarching thing you must achieve at all cost. If you think you might not make it, you don’t have a Certain Goal. You heard my Certain Goal. You can take it for your own, change it in some way, or make up your own. But you really need to have one or you will suffer from having no aim.

Perhaps you want to be sitting on a beach upon retirement at age 65. You will need to have a plan to get you there. To sit on a beach, you must want to not have any concerns for money. You need a steady return on your investments without a lot of work. You want to look for equity in projects that need little intervention from you. You might look to commercial properties that, once rented, require little owner involvement. Perhaps you would purchase multifamily buildings and would then choose to hire a property manager or contract with a property management company.

Maybe your Certain Goal is that you will be your own boss at age 55. I enjoy managing property myself but it takes work and sometimes a thick skin. At a certain point, I will need to pass this off to an employee because I will need to focus on other parts of my business. I will decide when that is, not some middle manager. If this is you, then you need to learn multiple aspects of real estate so that you can manage the employees you will soon have.

Another possibility may sound terribly selfish but I think it is very focused and reasonable. You may want to reach a monetary goal by a certain age. Is it cash in the bank? I hope not. Let’s go with equity in properties. You then focus on acquisition, finding properties that make a profit, but rolling those profits into more acquisitions continually until you reach your goal. At this point you do a hard stop. You will sell a few and use the proceeds to pay off the mortgages of the high-performers and live on the income produced by those debt-free properties.


Or make a plan, if you don’t like using made up words with exclamation marks. Write down your Certain Goal at the bottom of a piece of paper. On the left margin write your age or the date that you want to achieve this Goal. At the top of the page, write your current age or the current date. Write down every year on the left margin from now until your Goal date. It can be as simple and sloppy as this:

What will you have to own, do, or have done to achieve your Certain Goal? Now it is time for the nuts and bolts. You, like me, are used to having a certain level of income right now. We enjoy what that income can purchase for us and our family. I can certainly survive on less, but I don’t want to have to do so. I want to be able to continue my current income, but from my business, rather than my job. The answer is then easy, I need to have the same level of gross income (remembering that your employer might be paying some taxes and insurance) from my business. That is a lot of money, so I need to get started right now.

At this point, you should have a number, which is the yearly amount you want to have at your final date. Write this down on the form.

Now is the time to write your milestones down. Divide your timeline up into quarters. You will have one quarter being (now), and at the end of your last quarter will be your Certain Goal. You will have three quarters left and it is time to brainstorm about what you want these to be. An easy option is to think about how much income you will need from your business. It will start off slow, then grow more quickly, so take this into consideration.

Think about a milestone that you will have when you have just ¼ of your plan left. If your plan is 10 years long, then this will be at the start of your 9th year, meaning you will have 2 years left to complete your Certain Goal. What do you need to have at this point to be done in 2 years? Remember, the growth is much more later on. Take some time to think about this. If my Certain Goal is to have $200,000 in business profit, then I need to have about 3/4 of that by the start of my last quarter.

Take some time to do this. It will become your roadmap to get you to your Certain Goal. I created a spreadsheet and put in some numbers. You can get it by signing up below. You don’t need to have it, but it’ll make some calculations easier. It will take the income you want to have and help you calculate how many units (apartments or homes or other property) you need to purchase each year. You just have to put in your information. The numbers will become apparent as we continue with our education.

We are going to spend quite a lot of time getting an overview of some different ways to make money in real estate. This cannot by any means be comprehensive: there are more ways to make money in real estate than I can possibly write about, but I will tell you about the ones on which I have made money. You will then choose your own aim.

You are a professional and a Hard Worker™. You have a lot of income but not a lot of time. You are going to look to build a business that earns you money with some work and the time you have. You have cash flow but not a lot of cash. That helps you get loans but makes it difficult to find down payments. But you are now keeping 10% of every paycheck and with your current income, believe me, it won’t take you long at all to get some money together to do it.

So do it already!