Life Goals and Personal Finances

Today I went to a talk at Silicon Valley Code Camp that was about managing your time effectively by using life goals. I’m summarizing horribly, but the basic idea was that you’d give yourself a goal in each of 7 areas (I think it was based on The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) - a goal you’d like to achieve in 10 years. Then, you try to figure out what your plans should be for the next 5 years, such that you’ll be on path to achieving your 10-year goals. This planning keeps going down until you end up with daily goals, and then those are the things that you do. The great thing about this is that you can directly track why whatever you’re doing is helping you achieve your life goals (or why it isn’t!).

There’s an accounting system known as double-entry bookkeeping, in which every subtraction from an account has a corresponding addition to another account. While the motivation for this appears to have been error-detection, I find it more interesting from a money-tracking perspective - that is, seeing what your spending is going towards. For instance, money spent on a kitchen remodel is also “deposited” into the value of the house.

It seems these two concepts have great potential when joined together. Rather than track money and time separately, track how your spending (of both) contributes to your life goals (or doesn’t!). This particularly shines when addressing situations where either money or time can be spent to accomplish a goal - repaving the path to your front porch, obtaining a woven basket for storage, getting vegetables for your dinner.

Does any tool do this? Not that I know of. Time to get hacking.