“Fly me to the moon, let me play among the stars.” Frank Sinatra sung that great song in August of 1964 when the space program and dreams of setting foot on the moon excited the imaginations of people around the world.
This summer, the space race is back with billionaires Branson, Musk and Bezos reigniting the dream to put themselves and others in outer orbit. Hundreds of people plopped down giant sums of money to have a chance to ride a rocket and float weightlessly in the nearer realms of outer space.
Do you have big dreams that require a financial commitment? It doesn’t have to be creating an aircraft or rocket to fly into space. Sure, if someone else paid I might take a ride on the rocket, but my dreams and visions of the future start with taking care of my family, creating memories through shared experiences and providing support for my daughter with Down syndrome’s entire life so she can live her best life possible.
There are lessons to be learned from watching the new space races, lessons we can all use in our financial lives and planning for the future.
- Build a strong financial base. It’s unlikely any of us become billionaires – there are about 3,200 of them as of 2020 – but we can all focus on getting out of debt, funding trust and retirement accounts and having enough money to feel comfortable. Once the base is in place, then excess funds can be used to pursue passion projects.
- Know that you’re on track. Branson, Musk and Bezos passed the point where they have to think if they’ll have enough funds to last a lifetime. A financial plan can let you know if you’re “on track” or not to have enough money to last and to fund estate goals to a special-needs trust and to gift to other children.
- Invest for your future. These billionaires put money to work. They each created wealth by the stock they held in their companies (and in others, I’d guess). To grow wealth, take a portion of your earnings and put it towards something that has the chance to gain in value. This can be done by investing in stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities or your own business. You cannot create wealth by spending everything you earn.
- Envision your future and take action. I don’t know their stories but somewhere along the way those three billionaires sat down and imagined themselves in space and then put action plans in place to get there. Sometimes, I imagine myself flying around the earth as well but I haven’t done one thing about it (and really I’m not too interested). That’s a dream without a goal and one unlikely to happen.
In my work with families with special-needs members, the first step is to get a piece of paper and write all that’s desired from the future. Imagine the focus required to build a rocket to fly to space. Now, imagine taking that same effort to some of your goals and dreams – we have enormous capacity when we put our desires, passion and intensity towards achievement. Fly to the moon – maybe not for me. Helping my daughter gain independence – count me in. That’s a goal that will help me feel like I am flying around the stars.