Begin with the End in Mind

Begin with the end in mind

You’ve probably heard the Stephen Covey quote before that says you should “begin with the end in mind”. While it’s meant as one of his seven habits of successful people, I think it’s actually advice that can be applied to personal finance as well.

So how do you turn a great snippet of advice into action?

Let’s take a common financial goal as an example: buying a house. If you want to buy a house, you can start by asking yourself a list of questions like these:

  • What kind of house do you want to have, starting with your dream house?
  • What features will it have?
  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms?
  • What kind of things will it be located near?

Once you get those answers, move on to the minimum requirements for a house that would meet your needs. Maybe your dream house has 4 bedrooms and an office, but at a minimum you’d like 2 bedrooms and a nook in the living room where you could set up an office.

Make it happen

Once you can visualize both of these things, you can start to figure out how to make at least one of them happen. You can check the price ranges of area houses, check with a Realtor to see what might be required to buy a house, check with your budget to see what you might be able to afford, etc.

The same idea can be applied to things like retirement planning, career planning, etc.

In all cases, being able to visualize the “end” clarifies your desires and allows you to make a plan to actually get there. And that makes reaching your goal a whole lot easier.


  • Having a very detailed mindset of your goals is indeed very helpful to slowly realize one’s dreams. It gives us more motivation in to slowly achieving what we want.

    • The clearer your goals, the clearer the steps to reaching them can be — which means you’re more likely to get there :)

  • Focusing on your end goal also keeps you focused so you don’t go off in a direction you did not intend, which can waste a lot of time. I sometimes have this issue when I am researching something.