How to Build Your 10-Year Plan

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hi my name's mark Kohler and I'm a CPA

attorney author and truly a business

consultant and with my team of amazing

attorneys and CPAs we help thousands of

clients around the country build their

American Dream build their business plan

their model their structure and how they

can better succeed financially well a

principle we talked about a lot and a

strategy that's affected my life

profoundly is building a 10 year plan

the 10 year plan is an important piece

of building your American dream now what

I love about a 10 year plan and what's

unique very very different than

goal-setting is it really illuminates

that light at the end of the tunnel it

gives us a road map with measurable

steps we can take and we can see where

we're really headed in a more realistic

and practical way so where do we start

well the 10 year plan begins with an

ideal scene I want you to write down pen

to paper what your future financially

looks like 10 years from now what's

realistic write down what you see in

your own vision in your bank account

how many rental properties you have your

retirement fund you're building what

does it all look like and write it down

now to really complete this you've got

to find an inspiring spot where is that

place where you're uninterrupted and you

can really meditate and think about that

future is it by the ocean is it looking

at the mountains is it in a park is it

in that favorite place in the house

where you can find solace think

profoundly about what that future is

going to look like now write it down and

that's your ideal scene I also like to

use the acronym smart Smar T sometimes

referenced in goal-setting in popular

self-help culture but I think it really

helps when writing down your ideal scene

now S stands for specific I want you to

be very clear about what your finances

look like make sure you're clearly

stating in detail all the areas of your

finances that you want to have impacted

or affected with your plan M stands for

measurable when you're being specific I

want you to put real numbers dollar

amounts or quantify rental property or

assets or raw land or whatever the case

may be put numbers to it a stands for


let's be realistic I'm not gonna

probably be a billionaire in ten years

but what could I obtained with

reallocation of my resources and using

my time more effectively and getting the

education I need and finding maybe

partners or money that I didn't think of

before to help me get there

is it really attainable let's be

realistic our stands for relevant are

these financial goals going to fit into

my overall ten-year plan maybe where I

want to live my relationships my health

and goals are maybe setting for myself

and other aspects of my life I have to

make sure they all interconnect and

think about some of those broader issues

so that my financial goals are relevant

to my overall personal plan T stands for

time specifically ten years from now on

a specific date of where we want to be

with these finances and the next

important piece in this process is we're

going to work backwards we're gonna look

at this plan and say okay if I want to

be here it financially in ten years

where do I need to be in five where do I

need to be in three or even one year

from now I can work backwards and have

attainable clear steps of what I need to

do to get there for example rental

property if I say I want ten rental

properties in ten years

well maybe I should have five properties

in the next five years three properties

in the next three years one in the next

year can I set that goal and make it

happen now that we're thinking of moving

backwards from our ten-year plan so that

we can see what we need to do tomorrow

it begins the process of building our

annual strategic plan and here's what it

looks like I like to use the whiteboard

here so we've written down this

beautiful ideal scene what is our what

are our finances look like ten years

into the future and we can start to work

backwards right we can say okay if I'm

going to be here in ten where do I need

to be in five years and then well where

should I be in three years and we can

probably extrapolate backwards and say

okay if I want to be here in three where

do I need to be in the next year well

this allows us to draft that strategic

plan and the strategic plan

is really the nuts-and-bolts to-do list

of what I'm gonna do in the next month's

weeks maybe even days this year to keep

me on my journey on my path to get to

this point and I carry around that strap

plan with me where everywhere I go I

want to have that with me on a plane

taking at home at night having it next

to my nightstand I want to be able to

make adjustments to my strat plan as

life comes at you because it's gonna be

modifiable it's your plan it's okay if

you change it we still know generally

where we want to be but we can't turn

our life upside down to get there we're

gonna have this annual strategic plan

but something we're working towards a

place we're headed now a couple

cautionary points the first one is this

plan may require you to take one step

backwards before you take three steps

forward for example I had this couple

that came to my office and had their

10-year plan all written out they were

excited to show me I was anxious to see

it and as I looked at it they had a

pretty lofty goal for 10 years which is

fine but they almost just mechanically

divided it by 10 and say well here's

where we need to be next year I thought

I don't know if you're ready to be there

in one year or even 18 months from now

we've got to do some housecleaning we

need to get out of some debt we need

some reserves we've got to do some

things to build a foundation before you

start on this journey and let's think

about that and as an analogy if I'm

going to take a 10-mile hike shouldn't I

pack a bag get some water make sure I've

got the right shoes on maybe I take an

hour or two to prepare for this journey

or hike before I'd just run out the door

or else I'm gonna clearly fail on my

plan if I don't prepare properly so

taking some time the first year - not

even obtained where we think we should

be on an annual basis it could really be

a huge step forward in

eighteen months to two years from now

then we can really put the pedal to the

metal we can turn on the gas two or

three years from now and catch up to

where we need to be in five years

because I built the foundation first and

that's okay I don't want you to feel

like you're moving backwards this 10

year plan is terrible because I'm not

making progress oh no no you're making

progress building the foundation before

you throw up the sticks and bricks above

the ground because we want that building

to last we wanted to make sense and to

be structurally sound so it's okay if we

step back a little bit as part of this

10 year plan to really get on the fast

lane and get on the freeway to move

along the path now the most important

and final step of this process is

sharing it right sounds scary you got to

share this plan with people really I

know but that's what makes it come alive

and creates accountability because

you're gonna share this and now

someone's gonna ask you about it on a

regular basis and you're gonna feel like

you need to make progress not only for

yourself but for those that you've

shared it with to show them that you're

serious and you're gonna be legitimate

about this plan now who do you share it

with well for years I've talked about

having that Board of Directors or Board

of Advisors for your corporation or LLC

now if you don't have an entity yet and

your business plans are still out there

in the future

that's okay if you can still build a

Board of Advisors you're gonna choose

three four or five people that could be

from around the country around the world

they don't have to be down the street

young or old business owner or not male

or female family or not family but three

to five people that believe in you

they're not gonna tear you down they're

gonna encourage you but give you real

truthful advice but not again

tear you down and make you feel bad

about yourself and your plan these are

people that are going to be cheerleaders

for you no matter how you modify your

plan find these people and maybe you're

buying them dinner or lunch or even

paying them per hour I don't know that

people that you can count on to lean on

and discuss with your 10 year plan is


forward in summary remember it's a

journey I've used that word a few times

during this presentation it's not a race

yeah this is your plan don't feel like

you've got to compete with someone else

in the family in the neighborhood in the

church or in the club wherever you're

socialized don't worry about how fast

they're moving or what they're doing or

what they're trying to accomplish this

is your plan and you need to move it

you're paced it makes sense for you

everybody is different and that's okay

but we still need a plan we want to be

making progress and even if that

progress is just a little bit every day

week or month at least we're moving

forward so don't give up write down that

plan and carry it with you everywhere

you go

to help motivate you to get there