You’ll Reach Goals Faster by Rewarding Yourself: Here’s Why

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If you are a regular on the BiggerPockets Blog or any personal finance blog, you should notice a common theme. Save money, invest that money, and in the future you will have much more money that you can spend on the things you want, or you can retire early.

I believe in saving money and investing money, but I also believe that you need to indulge and spend money to make yourself happy. I am not talking about selling off all your houses or using your entire savings to go on a six month long world tour. I am talking about rewarding yourself for hitting goals by doing something fun or splurging a little bit.

Not only does setting goals make you more successful, but rewarding yourself for hitting those goals will make you more likely to achieve them and to achieve them faster.

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Why Will Rewarding Yourself Make You Achieve Your Goals Faster?

Setting goals is a great way to help you achieve more in life.

Setting goals reminds you of where you are going and give you a road map of how to get there. Striving to buy 10 rental properties or to pay off a rental property: those are great goals. If you give yourself a reward for hitting those goals, then it becomes an even better goal.

Related: Follow These Five Steps to Achieve Your Goals!

Here are some examples:

  • When I buy ten rental properties, I will take my wife to St. Martin without the kids
  • When I pay off my first rental property, I will sell my personal residence and build a new home
  • When I make $100,000 from fix and flipping homes, I will hire a personal assistant

You don’t have to have huge goals or milestones to use this technique, either. It could be something more along the lines of:

  • When I make my first offer on an investment property, I will throw a party with my closest friends.

If you give yourself a reward after hitting a big or small goal it will make you want to accomplish it faster. That in and of itself will help you achieve more.

How Do I Use This Technique to Buy a Lamborghini?

I bought a Lamborghini Diablo earlier this year; in fact, it arrived on Father’s Day.

I bought this car much sooner than I ever envisioned. A couple of years ago, I thought I might be lucky if I could buy a Lamborghini at some point in my lifetime. Then I started to take goal setting and self-improvement much more seriously. That goal moved up from “sometime” to ten years.

Then I started seeing much more success, and that goal moved up from ten years to 2016. Last year, I made a goal to buy one in 2014, thinking it would be towards the end of the year — if i was lucky. I attached buying a Lamborghini with another goal: making enough money from my blog on a monthly basis to afford the car payments and monthly costs.

It is funny how things work out, but one of the big reasons I was able to afford this car was not a huge increase in my income, but the realization that the car was not as expensive as I thought it was.

  • Insurance is only $900 a year
  • Yearly maintenance should run $1,500 or less (including cap ex; major maintenance every 15,000 miles)
  • You can finance exotic cars much like a house; 12 year fixed rate loan at 5%, 15% down

When I first made my goals about buying a Lamborghini, I thought I would have to pay cash and that the insurance, maintenance and other costs would be much more expensive. I am not suggesting everyone go out and finance a Lambo, but my blog was producing more than enough income to cover the monthly costs: I have purchased 10 rental properties, I have grown my real estate team to 9 people — and I have worked my butt off to get there.

Related: How to Overcome Fear & Ask for What You Want (or the Time I Made $30K in 6 Weeks)

I could have paid cash for the car if I really wanted to, but having that cash freed up for more flips and more rentals would make me more money that the 5 percent interest rate it was costing me.

What This Article Taught Me

Writing this article made me realize I need to set more rewards for myself.

After writing this article, I realized I do not have any specific rewards for my big future goals. I have many smaller goals and some rewards I have set for those, but many of my big goals are lacking a reward. I think I will start working on that right way to focus myself on those goals. When I can associate a big reward with a big goal, that also makes me think of my goals more often, which is also extremely important.

Delaying Gratification is Good — Up to a Point

We all have to delay gratification and save money to get ahead in life. But you can’t delay gratification forever, and you have to do things that make you happy today. By coupling big rewards with big goals, it forces you to save, invest or reach milestones before you give in to temptation.

How do you reward yourself? Or do you keep your nose to the grindstone, waiting for future financial freedom?

Voice your opinions below! 

About Author

Mark Ferguson

Mark is Real Estate Broker and investor in Greeley, Colorado. Mark invests in long-term SFR rental homes and also does 8-15 fix and flips a year. Mark started a blog this year that focuses on investing in long term single family rentals.

25 Comments

  1. Brooks Rembert on

    Great article. My wife and I became reluctant landlords several years ago when I was transferred from the DC area and couldn’t sell our home. But recently we’ve started to see the benefit of having a real estate business and have an contract on our first rental home.

    I’m still trying to come up with a good “celebration”; maybe just a nice dinner, but the ultimate goal is eight rentals in the next eight years. If we reach that goal, I think a nice vacation will be in order.

  2. Richard Guzman on

    Amazing article!
    It is amazing how BiggerPocket blogs just come at a perfect time in someone life – like now!
    Your article touched home for me as I truly believe in rewarding yourself in any personal or professional goal you set for yourself. In my 9-5 job I would always reward myself many times when I made recruiting quotas or received a promotion. Just like your Lambo, some of the rewards I gave myself were items I always dreamed about when I was younger, nice rolex watch, 1.5ct diamond earrings, or maybe that vintage silver age ASM comic book! Your words are so true —
    “I also believe that you need to indulge and spend money to make yourself happy”.

  3. Mark I agree with you 100% on this. I believe in rewarding myself and my family when we hit goals. Personally when I hit a real estate goal and I decide to do something nice for myself or my family it reminds why I got in the business anyway.

  4. I think the great point in this is — you’re supposed to have some fun in life, and along the way with your hard work. It helps you keep your eye on the goal and makes it more fun. Good strategy, I should work on adding a component of reward into my planning. 🙂

  5. Awesome topic Mark. This is going to spur me to reward myself and my family for more of the milestones we’re hitting.

    To me the power of the reward is in the pausing, reflecting, and being thankful for where I am. So I tend to like the time-off goals, sabbaticals, or vacations instead of stuff-goals. Plus, buying stuff (especially on payments) turns the reward into a counter productive financial decision even if you can afford it.

    That free time and flexibility is the thing I don’t want to wait for, and therefore that is my preferred reward before I begin to climb again.

    • Hi Pete, I created a laminated flyer I stick on the dash when I park it that says a few things about the car and about me. It also says if you sell a home with us, I will give you a ride in the Lambo.

      I have taken to a few happy hours our team has and it has been a big hit there. The biggest thing it has done is become an instant conversation piece wherever I go. I talk to about three times more people now than I used to which is what real estate is all about.

  6. La Nae Duchesneau on

    Great Article! I hadn’t thought of that. A reward with a goal accomplished. I am going to have to put some thought into that and adopt it into my lifestyle. I like it!
    I get caught up in just living life, sure going out to eat, paying my bills…. But I have been wanting to go to Australia and an African Safari and time is just slipping away. I think I will attach it to a goal and do it!

  7. That is really a great idea. I do tons of little projects in my own house, I do enjoy starting the projects, but then I get slower and slower to finish them. But if I set a reward for myself when I finish one, like buying a new tool for another project, that would keep me motivated longer. I know I can buy the tools and supplies at any time, but it’s more motivational to think about them as rewards.

  8. The big key is that you reward yourself/celebrate accomplishing a goal.

    The problem most people have is that they think they “deserve” all sorts of things apparently for just being alive. So there is nothing special since they will just do anything they want at all times regardless if they can actually afford them or not.

    Most of us that are trying to work hard and sacrifice now for a better future lose sight of the fact that you don’t have to deprive yourself of pretty much any fun for 20 years just so maybe you can retire fairly young.

    It is good to save and sacrifice, or more accurately spend wisely rather than blow tons of money of crap that doesn’t really enrich your life, to reach a goal but it is a great thing to celebrate your accomplishments.

  9. Vincent Crane

    Great article Mark. I definitely agree that having a reward attached with a goal drives you to get it done faster. And isn’t it interesting how quickly wealth can be built with real estate? I don’t see many people 20 years into their W2 job driving a Lambo. Thanks for posting!

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