The road to success is paved with <fill in the blank>. Hard work? Determination? Good ideas? Yes to all of that, but without a winning personal wealth strategy, its like wandering in a forest at night with no flashlight.
Many people who are seeking financial independence don't have a solid plan on how to get there. Sure, they know the run-of-the-mill tactics like max out your 401k, find some passive income streams, maybe start a blog and generate some affiliate income, and invest in mutual funds.
But what is the strategy? I was confused with a lack of strategy for years. I had lots of ideas and good investment techniques, but I had no road-map on getting from here to there. What should I spend time working on?
Why do I GIVE UP ON MY BLOGS AFTER 2 MONTHS? Then one day it clicked.
I needed a strategy.
It's a simple concept, but like chess, requires forethought about where your efforts are leading you. Companies often pay executives the big bucks because they are proven masters of strategy.
So I approached the problem using my 15 years of professional finance management experience and adapted a strategy map technique used by Fortune 500 companies, developing a brand new personal wealth strategy technique called the Personal Wealth Strategy Map.
The purpose of the Personal Wealth Strategy Map is to enable anyone to build a game-changing personal wealth blueprint with actionable outcomes.
This exercise helps you outline how much you need to save, and using decisions on your income, savings, and investment strategies to create a path to financial freedom. Below is an example of how to use the Personal Wealth Strategy Map. A blank template is available at the end of the post.
The formula behind this methodology looks something like this:
Why + How Much + When = Income + Saving + Investing + Learning
Here's how it works:
Step 1: Establish your primary objective, the amount of money you need to achieve it, and the time-frame you will need to earn it.
What is your goal? It's a simple question, but if you don't know the answer, stop right there and spend some time deciding what it is you truly want.
Your own company?
A second house on the beach in Brazil?
A year off without financial worries?
Only you can decide what your dream is. and it's the essential “why”, “how much”, and “when” parts of our equation.
This is not a small sum of money, given that at the time I created the plan, we had about $5k in the bank. So how will we get there? With a killer strategy!
Step 2: Identify 1 to 5 income streams that will funnel into your plan.
Dreams and goals are great, but you need a way to fund them. The income streams to list on your strategy map are sources of income for saving money or funding income streams. Don't include funds you'll use to pay for living expenses.
Project how much you plan to generate from each income stream. Then decide how much of that to reinvest into growing more income vs. how much goes into savings.
For instance, let's say your online blog is really taking off, and generating around $5,000 per month.
You're spending as much personal time on it as you can, but to take it to the next level, you need some outside help. Hiring a part-time virtual assistant to focus on promotions, tweets, and pins will cost you $500 per month. That $500 per month is an investment into growing your income stream.
In my strategy map, here are my income streams and how much I plan to make from each up until my launch date:
- Affiliate Links – $65k
- Online Course – $45k
- Sponsorships – $15k
- All bonuses + $2,000/month from day job – $125k
- House Sale Profits – $50k
Step 3. Create a Savings Plan
First, decide how much from each income stream you will save. Then create a budget to keep your spending in check.
Revise your budget as needed.
Step 4: Decide How to Invest Your Earnings
You'll want to take advantage of compound interest and stock market growth as much as possible. Its a good idea to also keep an emergency fund in an interest-bearing savings account. Higher yield options include brokerage accounts for trading stocks, options, and mutual funds, Lending Club, which provides a solid return of 5 to 4% for lower risk over a 3 to 5 year time-frame, real estate, and other options. Your timeline for reaching your goal will affect which investment strategies will work for you.
Here are my investment allocations:
- Money Market 5%
- Lending Club 25%
- Stocks & Options 50% (I use Tastyworks! Fund your account and have a chance to win a free Tesla on 4/2/2020.)
- Mutual Funds 20% (Personal Capital has an excellent free net worth tracker app and they also offer wealth management services to busy people.)
Because I'm an options trader, I have a much more aggressive investment portfolio than many others. Please choose the investment strategy that works for you and your risk appetite. My allocations are for example only, and will vary greatly from person to person.
Update: As this was written prior to Coronavirus, my investment allocations have changed. New allocation:
- Money Market 25%
- Lending Club 50%
- Stocks & Options 25% (I use Tastyworks! Fund your account and have a chance to win a free Tesla on 4/2/2020.)
- Mutual Funds 0% (Personal Capital has an excellent free net worth tracker app and they also offer wealth management services to busy people.)
I'm looking at real estate crowdfunding platforms as another investment option. More on that in a future post!
Step 4: Educate Yourself
As you identify what income streams to focus on and which investment strategies work for you, you will also want research, learn, and grow your knowledge in specific areas that relate to your strategy.
This can include classes, certifications, books, online courses, coaching services, researching specific topics, and so on. List those items in the final section of our Personal Wealth Strategy Map.
I listed items related to building an online presence on my strategy map, including:
- Social Media Marketing
- Affiliate Marketing
- How to Build an E-Course
- How to Build an Email List
- Video Editing
- How to Find Sponsors
This list will grow and change over time. And like all strategies, be willing to let your strategy flex and adapt as conditions or findings change. Maybe that one income stream didn't yield as much as you thought initially, and you need to update your assumptions.
Think of this strategy as more of a roadmap than a budget. The navigation may change as the landscape becomes more visible.
Download for Free
If you haven't yet, fill out the quick request below and receive your free BeyondPennies Personal Wealth Strategy Map template. The strategy map is just the beginning. After you've completed that, its time to flesh out the rest of the plan.
If you have any questions or comments about the strategy map method, please leave a comment below: