Leading the lifestyle I do, visiting so many different countries every year and having the freedom and flexibility that I’ve created for myself as a Nomad Capitalist, it’s not hard for me to take a positive view of life. I use social media a lot and follow quite a few sites that share this outlook, one of them being The Power of Positivity. They regularly share motivational and inspirational posts, some of which work for me, some of which don’t, but the other day they shared one of those “Try this simple trick to help you figure out what you want from life” kind of posts. As clickbait, it’s good marketing, and I’m always open to new ideas so I took a look.
What I discovered was something I found pretty interesting that immediately put me in mind of the things we talk about here on Nomad Capitalist — in particular, with regard to putting offshore strategies into place to keep more of your own money and build a freedom lifestyle.
The 10-10-10 strategy
It’s a simple philosophy that goes like this:
When you are making any decision, whether in your personal or business life, consider how the course of action you want to take will make you feel ten minutes from now, ten months from now and, finally, ten years from now. The idea immediately appealed to me because it’s so simple, but also because it absolutely taps straight into the heart of why some decisions are harder to make than others.
It’s the classic scenario of “Do I take the instant gains or do I forgo immediate gratification and wait for the long-term benefits?”
Not only can it help with those all-important “big decisions,” it can also be used for almost every choice you are faced with. It’s a way of quickly weighing up the benefits and the consequence of a decision so that you can make the best choice.
This powerful strategy is one you can apply to both your personal and professional life. As entrepreneurs, we all appreciate that you have to make sacrifices in order to build your business, particularly when you are first starting out. But we make these sacrifices because we want to build a better life for the future — to be free. Considering delayed gain over instant gratification is not a new idea for most of us.
However, I think that a lot of us probably don’t use this kind of decision-making process enough, even though it’s easy to apply it to every aspect of building your lifestyle. Whether it’s living overseas, getting a second passport, or moving out of the country to save on taxes, the 10/10/10 strategy can help you make good choices.
Cut through doubt
If I think back to moments in my life when I’ve struggled to make decisions or worried whether I’ve made the right one, I really begin to appreciate how this philosophy can help.
Take the first time I paid to get a second passport. I handed over a lot of money to an attorney to start that process off, and I remember feeling (probably ten minutes later, by chance) a little bummed out. I’m someone who always keeps an eye on my bank accounts and seeing thousands of dollars less in my balance didn’t feel great. But ten months later, seeing how that second passport would turn into a second residency (plus, having built up my bank balance again) got me pretty excited. And you can bet that ten years after that first decision, I will have no regrets. It’s definitely one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made.
So when you’re talking about offshore strategies and living the Nomad Capitalist lifestyle, you often have to do things that may not feel so good in ten minutes. Why would they? No doubt, these decisions demand your time and money, and your immediate feeling will likely be negative as the implications of that kick in.
Eye on the prize
But when you consider that these same decisions are an investment in your future and you think about how you’ll feel ten months from now, or even in ten years, then you are so far removed from that initial sacrifice that you will be able to focus on the positive.
That offshore investment opportunity that you’re considering may eat up some valuable time and capital today, but you could reap big rewards down the line. The same applies to many other business decisions. If you are looking at moving your business out of the country to save on taxes, for example, your 10-10-10 process may look like this:
- 10 minutes: Investing time and money = big outlay
- 10 months: realizing the benefits = break even
- 10 years: reaping the rewards = increased profit
And this is one of the things I talk to folks about in our one on ones.
I recently helped out a guy who was paying just over $300,000 a year on taxes from his business and was investing the rest of his money. He was taking his time trying to decide what to do and was only focusing on the negatives: the logistics, the money, and the time — all of which related to the first part of this philosophy, the first ten minutes.
So I told it to him straight.
“Look, you’re going to be paying out over $3 million minimum in the next ten years, and that’s if your business doesn’t grow. Not only that, but you are also losing the growth you could create from that money if you sent it offshore to invest. So solving this problem may take time out of your day and some money out of your pocket now, in ten months’ time, you’ll have $250,000 more and in ten years’ time, $3 million, maybe $4 million.”
When you think about it like that, there doesn’t seem to be any decision to make at all.
It’s all about balance
The original idea for this decision-making tool was created by Suzy Welch, a U.S. business journalist and well-known advocate of “work-life balance.” Her idea for the 10-10-10 strategy, published in a guide in 2009, is simple yet powerful and can be used to help you make just about any decision, from the personal to the professional.
That’s the other reason the formula appeals to me. Because I’m an emotional guy, I like to make my decisions with both my head and my heart, and with this technique, I can let both have their say.