Your goals should be defined. We all have dreams, wishes, and desires for how our life and business will be in one year, three years, even ten years down the road. We must be able to develop a clear picture to accomplish these goals or objectives.

I am amazed by how foggy agents are in terms of their goals in life, even agents who reach high levels of production. Numerous studies have been done on goals, written goals, and their results. The net result (short version) is people who have written, defined goals accomplish them. People who don't have written, defined goals don't. The studies also have indicated that less than 3% of people ever construct written goals. Wherever I find you today, either in the 3% or not, we can help you broaden your approach toward and use of goals. We will help you look at goals in more than the business sense. We need to have goals in our health account, family account, spiritual account, and financial account to name a few.

I have yet to ever meet an agent in my travels who didn't have a goal for financial independence. We all got into real estate with the desire to have the choice to work or not to work. In talking with agents, we all banter about the words financial independence as if they were a tennis ball in a tennis match. We hit it back and forth in our conversations. It slams around in our brain at least weekly or even daily. The question is what is financial independence? The more important question is what is financial independence for you?

To me, financial independence has two possible definitions. The first is a little broader: “The ability to live off of one's assets without working directly to create more assets.” It's the ability to live off of your stocks, bonds, CDs, loans you have made to others, and real estate. There are unlimited assets one can own to produce income. When we really look at financial independence, it is fundamentally a number. That's the second definition that is more specific and of higher value than the first. I think one of the reasons we have trouble getting numbers-based goals is because you can't fake it or fool yourself or anyone else. You either hit the number, or you don't. You also know where you stand at any one time against the goal when it's a number.

The financial independence number can take two forms. It is either a net asset amount or a net worth amount. This is a gross number that you have calculated based on achieving a reasonable return of investment that will allow you to be financially independent – to then live off of those assets without working. The other option is that it's an income level that is created monthly from the assets you posses. It's a certain number of rental properties that create a net cash flow of X per month. It's an annuity you purchased that pays you X per month until you die. In my case, it could be writing books that give me a small income from each book that is sold. Too often, we don't have a clear understanding of the result we are looking for.