I’ve only recently begun to plan 15+ years out for my future. Until now, it was hard for me to imagine where I’d be (realistically!) in 5, 10, or 20 years. When I was in my 20’s, it was so easy to say, “Oh, I’m going to live in a big house and make lots of money….someday.” I had no idea how I was going to achieve those pie-in-the-sky dreams, but it was a nice day dream to have while working two crummy jobs.

Now that I have a solid plan in place, it’s much easier to see where I’m going and how I’m going to get there. What changed? Two things – I have a stable income and career and I’ve learned how to set attainable goals.

My stable income and career have been a huge boost to me meeting this year’s goals. Before this year, our income would fluctuate from month-to-month making is near impossible to budget, especially if an unexpected expense popped up. Too bad I didn’t shoot for this route 10+ years ago! I’d be way ahead.

I’ve also been able to set goals that I’m actually meeting. Changing my strategy to a quarterly time frame, I review my goals every three months. I’m setting more realistic goals, or goals I know I can meet. The shorter time frame and realistic amounts make meeting my goals easier.

Since I finally comprehend the ability to plan for the future, I’m looking at 13 years away. An odd number, I know, but it’s exactly the earliest I can retire with a pension in place (I love what I do, but may not feel this way in 13 years). Our plan is multi-level and requires retiring in a less expensive city other than Los Angeles, but it’s definitely doable.

Step 1 – Continue making quarterly financial goals that allow us to save for a slush fund, house fund and retirement.

Step 2 – Buy a house within 18-24 months. (Hopefully prices will dip a bit!)

Step 3 – Continue earning side income that is long-lasting and possibly passive that will follow us into retirement.

Step 4 – Max out income level within 18 months and continue on a path that will allow for a possible 5% increase in a few years.

Step 5 – Sell said house in 10 – 12 years with the idea of moving to a less expensive state (purchasing a house in cash so we won’t have a mortgage payment by our late 50’s)

I’m being fairly realistic with my 13-year plan, even the house plan is a solid one since housing in Los Angeles is notorious for increasing by 200% within a 10-year time frame. Even if our house only increased by a small percentage, we’d still be able to have enough in profit (after the mortgage is paid in full) to possibly fund a house in another state for cash.

I also have a few alternate plans in the back of my head in case this version doesn’t work out exactly as planned (which is very likely!)

Have you planned 10, 15, or 20+ years into the future? What might yours look like?


  1. Money Beagle Reply

    I generally look around five years out. Anything outside of that is too unpredictable. You just don’t know what the future will hold, and not that you do anyways in the short term, but your odds of having things go according to plan seem to fall off a lot after the first few years. Either way, it’s great that you’re now able to be so forward thinking. That’s a big step.

    • @Money Beagle – That’s very true, planning 5+ years in advance might seem a little unpredictable, but I like having a “loose” plan in place. I think my motivator is the earliest retirement age, which is why I’ve sort of started plotting out where I want to be by then (I actually love my job, but it’s also exciting thinking about the next phase of my life – which is still 13 years away!) I’m also eyeing moving out of state at that point, too. MR. LH has finally gotten on board with that idea recently, so now I’m super motivated to start plotting!

  2. I think gaining a stable income is key in making long term plans. Its just really hard to anticipate what things will be like when you are young and so many variables are up in the air. Its important to recognize things can always change, or be different than you anticipated, but its still useful and productive to make those plans and try to stick with them.

    • @The Wallet Doctor – True, things can definitely change. But, I really like the idea of having a long-term plan in place.

  3. Jon @ Money Smart Guides Reply

    My wife and I have planned the long term out already. We are now working backwards to plan for the interim – 5-10 years out so we know where we should be to still be on track to meet our long term goals.

  4. Poor Student Reply

    To be honest I’m still trying to figure things out so I don’t have a fixed plan in mind what I want to do 10-15 years from now. Nevertheless, I have set up some medium-term goals regarding my career and finances and I very much hope that I will stick to my plan no matter what happens, with some adjustments here and there.

    • @Poor Student – I think when you’re young, it’s difficult to plan more than 5 years out. Actually, some financial planners prefer working in 5-year increments as opposed to anything longer term. I’m sure once you’re finished with college and have a job, things will begin falling into place. good luck!

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