Over the weekend, my family and I were huddled around our television on the couch enjoying a show called Insane Pools. The episode featured a couple who had saved for more than 10 years to build the pool of their dreams. When they could finally afford it and saw the final results of their hard work, you couldn’t help but smile in response to the joy they expressed.
Watching this episode made me wonder, how do we balance saving for a long-term goal with living and enjoying our lives in the “now?” It would have been difficult for that couple to spend a decade saving for a pool if their day to day life was miserable or they’d had to significantly change their lifestyle to accommodate their long-term goal. It’s likely that this couple balanced their big goal of building their dream pool with smaller, short-term goals, which is what we’re focusing on here.
BHAG stands for “big hairy audacious goal,” and was coined in the mid-90s as a term to describe ambitious long-term goals that propel companies and people forward. The idea behind setting a BHAG is to help prevent you from focusing solely on small, more easily achievable goals that can be accomplished within a few days, months, or years.
A BHAG is supposed to be intimidating and something that takes years or even decades to accomplish. In the case of the couple from the Insane Pools, their BHAG was building the ultimate pool that required them to save for 10 years to afford. This couple could have set the bar much lower. They could have settled for a less exciting, standard pool that may have only required a couple of years saving. But this couple had a vision and they were willing to wait longer and work harder to make it a reality.
The Value of Creating a BHAG
I believe it’s beneficial for everyone to set both short and long-term goals. Short goals may include switching jobs, trading in your car, or going on vacation, whereas your long-term BHAG may be purchasing a vacation home, taking a year off from work to travel the world, or retiring at the age of 50.
While we all love the instant gratification that comes from accomplishing short-term goals, it can be even more gratifying when you finally achieve a big goal you’ve been working toward for years.
Creating Your Financial BHAG
Creating a BHAG can feel overwhelming and impossible. But that’s the nature of a BHAG; it’s supposed to be overly ambitious and not easily attainable. A goal is only a BHAG if it requires many years to achieve, is action-oriented and exciting, and requires commitment and strategy to achieve.
As difficult as setting your BHAG can be, it can be even more difficult to commit to it and stay on track over the years. Depending on what your BHAG is, it may make sense to break it into measureable mini-goals. You’ll also want to check in on your progress on a regular basis.
It’s not easy juggling a BHAG with work, family, and your passions in life. When it comes to creating and following your BHAG, you may want to turn to a professional for guidance. A financial advisor can help you create a specific and customized roadmap that helps you work toward your BHAG, all while still enjoying life along the way.
At Private Client Wealth Advisors, we can serve as part of your family’s executive team, sitting side by side with you as you navigate your financial journey, plan to attain your goals, preserve your future and lean on our firm as your resource to allow for the best long term financial decisions for your family. Want to learn how we can help you create and pursue your BHAG? Contact us by phone at 303-945-2222 or email us at email@example.com to set up a complimentary review of your goals, needs, and circumstances.
Barry Steelman, AIF® is the Founder, Principal, Managing Partner, and Client Advocate at Private Client Wealth Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm based in Denver, Colorado. He specializes in working with individuals, families and businesses and conducting financial planning, portfolio management and retirement plan services. Along with more than two decades of experience, he is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary®, which signifies knowledge of fiduciary responsibility and the ability to implement policies and procedures that meet a defined standard of care. Learn more about Barry by visiting www.privateclientwealthadvisors.com or connecting with him on LinkedIn.