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What does a 5 year plan look like?

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I’ve been making list upon lists of what I want down the road, what my future will look like, what my personal goals are, both financial and otherwise. I have about filled a notebook with my scribbles and wandering thoughts.

As I begin to narrow down what I want, I have begun to make lists of how to get there.

So my question is, what does a 5 years plan look like? Is it just a bulleted list of goals? Does it include a breakdown of steps to achieve these goals?

I’ve become pretty good about setting baby step goals and achieving them. And as a project manager professionally, I am pretty good at scoping out longer term plans and goals, considering resources and other constraints.

What do I Want

I guess I’ve never sat down and thought too much about life after kids. Other than my desire to travel and thoughts of living in an RV someday…just really haven’t put too much thought into it. So this has been a fun and enlightening experience.

It’s also made for interesting discussions with the kids. Each of them have a different perspective on what they thought I would do and what they want me to do. But thankfully, I have become very clear in that this step, this plan is about my future, my security, my finances.

And in focusing on me, hopefully, I will free them from the burden of me in my latter years.

So, BAD community, what does your 5 year plan look like? Where do you keep it? What does it include? What does it not include? How detailed is it? Who do you share it with? And how often do you review and update it?


10 Comments

  • Reply csdx |

    I tend to do top down approaches with 5 year plans. Write down big goals, give them a timeframe, figure out the cost to them, break each goal down into a monthly figure and add it to the budget.

    This largely works because I already have a good plan for a monthly budget so by breaking each goal into a monthly amount I can tell how realistic each one is. If my budget with the goals is more than income, it’s easy to see tradeoffs, like if I eat out less then I could put that amount towards my goal of a new car, or maybe I trim down my vacation goals to fit more important ones in.

  • Reply Cynthia |

    I don’t remember how old you are, but I feel like retirement should be number one. Not just money in account, but securing fixed costs. Think about housing, Will you continue renting or buy something with the goal of having it paid off so you will only be paying taxes, insurance and upkeep? If you want to RV maybe a small condo would be a good home base. What will your transportation look like? Basically what do you want your life to look like and how can you make that happen by preparing now?

  • Reply T'Pol |

    My 5 year plan is on an Xcel sheet. It includes a projection of my Cash Flow and Net Worth. In accordance with the cash flow, I will enter budgeted amounts of money for upcoming needs, planned investments and planned vacations. This way I have a general idea of what is doable. It is not a wish list. There are usually a maximum of 5-6 things. That is what my Cash Flow would allow. In previous years, I once had a long bucket list vacation, many years ago there was an apartment, three years ago, there was a car in those plans. Currently, I have no big ticket items like that. My current 5 year plan includes; changing the floors in 2021-22, re-doing the balcony 2022, having the whole apartment painted in 2022, a vacation in the US in 2023 if Covid-19 goes away by then.
    When I insert the costs of the above items in my projected cash flow, I know whether they are possible, or whether I need to save more or cross some of them off my list. My shorter and longer term plans are always built into my Cash Flow.

    • Reply Hope |

      I love this example, thank you! This is kind of what I envisioned too…specific goals for different years and then creating a financial plan around them.
      Thank you!

  • Reply Lisa |

    I feel like a broken record, but, retirement! You are in your 40s and if I’m remembering correctly the last time you brought it up you hadn’t starting saving at all.

    • Reply Hope |

      I have started but barely.
      The question wasn’t what to include so much as how you record it and track it, etc.
      But yes, retirement is on my list for sure.

  • Reply Angie |

    Okay so a plan is great. If you’re going to use it. If you get stuck on the idea and the creation of a plan…. Then a plan is useless.

    So forget about the plan and just start. I tend to make lots of lists like this. And then never look at or refer to them again. For me, a list is just procrastination and more inaction.

    Your goals are pretty straightforward. I’m not sure why you need a 5 year plan really:
    Retirement – Any calculator is going to tell you an amount you think is out of reach. So set an amount to start saving monthly and just go for it. Make it simple and automatic. Stop using the lack of a “plan” to procrastinate on this longer!!!
    Health – Stay healthy for kids, foster kids, and potential grandkids. Your biggest bang for your buck in retirement at this point is going to be your health. This isn’t monetary per say, but prioritize your health.
    Secure Housing – *This needs the most thought. Do you see yourself in a house of your own? Or do you like the ease of renting. How long could you see yourself in your current area? Is there a time in the future it makes sense to start fresh? Are there alternative living communities (55+) you’d be open to in order to cut down costs instead owning a conventional home? What would this mean to your life/budget?
    Debt Free – Pay down ASAP.
    Emergency Fund. – All set.

    • Reply Hope |

      This is a great list. But it is also why I need a plan.

      As for retirement, yes, I am two months in now on an automated, bi-weekly contribution to a ROTH IRA. It’s not alot but it’s a first step.

  • Reply JP |

    My 5 year plan is that I don’t have one. I have only one goal – To be financially able to do whatever I choose at the time, and do what I choose to do or not do for work. I can’t tell you how liberating it is to know that I can tell my boss to jump in a lake if I needed to. There is nothing I have hated more than having to do a job I hated and knowing I had little choice but to keep going. I know that you are self-employed but this is something others of us face.

    • Reply Hope |

      Oh, believe me, I’ve been there…and can feel your pain! Even my very short foray back into the corporate world made it clear why I work so hard to be self-employed.
      Prior to going out on my own, 14 years ago, I worked in the corporate environment for almost 10 years.
      I have taken a lot of flack for staying home and continuing to pursue freelancing. And there is lots of I give up – corporate health coverage, paid time off, steady hours, steady pay…but, oh the freedom! I wouldn’t change it for anything.
      And while I am not in a position to tell anyone to jump in a lake, I certainly am able to decline clients or projects, take days off and not think about corporate vacation, sick time policies or the results.

So, what do you think ?