Follow-up #1

Gary North

While you are digging yourself out from under your mountain of debt, you should begin to think about what your lifetime goals are. In the short run, your primary goal is to get out of debt. But, in the long run, staying out of debt is not sufficient. It would be like an alcoholic who stays away from alcohol. It is important that he stay away from alcohol, but that does not solve the problem of what to do with the rest of his life. It is not just staying sober; it is doing something useful while staying sober that is important. It is important for him to stay away from alcohol, and it is important for him to achieve something with the time that he has remaining.

The same attitude should govern your situation. You have to look at your deliverance from debt as a way to throw off shackles that were preventing you from achieving significant lifetime goals. Once you have thrown off this burden, you can begin to consider seriously what it is you want to do with the remainder of your life.

There are goal-setting sites and programs all over the Web. I have no particular one that I believe is an example of one-size-fits-all. Generally, it is a good idea to establish two or three major goals for your life, with the outer limit being age 70. Anything beyond age 70 is gravy. You may be able to live beyond 70, and anything you achieve between 70 and time of your death is what used to be called in grade school “extra credit.” You should assume that your physical productive capacity will decline after age 70.

It is not good enough to have lifetime goals. You have to have a plan which will enable you to achieve your lifetime goals. This mandates budgeting. It is more a matter of budgeting your time than budgeting your money. There are certain things that you have to do in sequence, and if you do not do them in sequence, you will have to scramble very rapidly to catch up with what would have been a systematic lifetime plan. Your debt has sidetracked you significantly. It may take another two or three years for you to get off the detour that debt imposed on you. But you will be able to get off this detour and back on the main highway soon enough.

At that point, and perhaps even now, you should begin to think about what it is that you would like to achieve with the rest of your life, once you become debt-free. That should be part of your goal of becoming debt-free. Becoming debt-free is simply one step in a series of steps on the way to whatever they were goals are for your life. These are really important goals. These achievements will constitute your legacy. It is the thing that you will leave behind that will be most significant. The only way for your memory to be preserved beyond one generation is for you to leave something behind it is still serving other people.

Maybe this would be a book posted on the Web. Maybe this would be a series of articles you wrote for WordPress.com. The reason I switched this site to WordPress.com is simple. I wanted to make certain that this material will be available to people indefinitely. I do not have to pay WordPress.com a monthly fee. It sits online, where Google searches will find it. Of course, the site will be rated very low, because I’m not actively adding new material to it. But, through word- of-mouth, and through word-of-mouse, people will come to this site. I want them to come to it in 100 years, or 200 years. When you post a site on WordPress.com, you have a real possibility of creating a legacy that can last long beyond your death. None of your heirs has to pay to keep the site online.

The same thing is true of YouTube videos. If you create a YouTube video, that YouTube video is probably going to be there in a century. If you create a YouTube channel, which is free of charge, the videos that you post on it will also remain in the century. Here is how to create one free of charge: http://www.garynorth.com/public/department137.cfm.

This has never happened before in history. Always before, a writer was dependent on a publisher to keep his books or materials in print. Most books go out of print after the first edition. But, with free PDF-posting sites such as Scribd, that document will be available in 100 years, or 1000 years.

I therefore recommend that you do whatever you can to identify what your legacy is likely to be, or what you would like it to be. You should begin developing a plan to achieve that legacy. The plan should involve a regular review process, at least annually, and perhaps four times a year . You can always revise a bad plan. It is better to have a bad plan than no plan.

Give a great deal of attention to this, because once you have made the decision, and once you have developed a long-term plan, the longer that you stick with that plan, the less time you will have to revise it, or abandon it, in order to achieve a new set of goals, with a different kind of plan. The earlier you get started on this, the earlier the compound growth effect will take place in your life.

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