Sign up for The Wire Newsletter!

In The News

2021 Goal-Setting: Are You Willing to Pay the Price for What You Want?

By Sean M. Lyden - Staff Writer
Posted Dec 16th 2020 2:23PM

What do you want to accomplish in 2021?

Perhaps you’re a driver and want to take the next step to buy a truck.

Or, you’re an owner-operator looking to purchase a second truck to become a fleet owner.

Or, you’re a fleet owner with, say, five trucks and want to double your fleet to 10.

Whatever your big 2021 goals might be, your answer to this question will determine your odds of success: Am I willing to pay the price to achieve this goal?

After all, it’s easy to dream big; but it’s hard to execute on those dreams. So, here’s a three-step process to help you assess whether you really want to go for it.

Step 1: Be specific.
Suppose you’re a driver who wants to buy a truck in 2021 to take that next step to becoming an owner-operator. Now, it’s time to get specific with what “buying a truck” means to you.

What are you looking for in a vehicle?

What type of vehicle: a van, straight truck or tractor-trailer?

How much truck can you - and your business - comfortably afford?

Will you buy new or used?

If it’s used, what condition and the maximum number of miles would be acceptable to you?

If it’s a straight truck, what box type will you need - dry box or refrigerated?

What size sleeper?

What amenities do you want in the sleeper?

What about other equipment or upfits - such as a liftgate, e-track, aerodynamic side skirts - do you need or want on the vehicle?

Do your research and seek advice from successful owner-operators. What has been their experience? What do they recommend?

The idea here is to gather all the information you need to clearly define your goal down to the details.

Step 2: Determine the TRUE price.
Okay. Let’s say the vehicle you’re looking to acquire is an expediter straight truck for about $185,000.

Who much money will you need to put down to finance the truck?

What will be the monthly payment? Will your business be able to support it?

How much will it cost to insure the truck as an owner-operator?

How much should you have in savings to support your truck’s operations in terms of maintenance and repair?

These questions (above) focus on the dollars-and-cents required to achieve your goal. But that’s just the starting point. You’ll want to drill deeper into the time, commitment and habit changes required to determine the true price.

Take, for example, your credit score. Is your score high enough to finance and insure the truck at reasonable rates?

This is important to consider because an average to low credit score will drive up your insurance premiums, financing interest rates, monthly payments, and down payment amount.

Suppose your credit score is “below average” right now. What can you do over the next 6 to 12 months to improve your score - and increase your purchasing power?

Identify the primary reasons for the lower score. Is it because of a late payment?

If so, then do everything you can to keep making on-time payments, and your score will gradually increase over time.

Is the score drop because your credit utilization rate - the percentage of your total credit card balance vs. your total credit line - is too high?

If that’s the case, what changes do you need to make in your spending habits to cut expenses and aggressively pay down your credit card balances? Or, perhaps you can also take on a temporary side hustle to generate more income to pay down those balances faster.

But the most important question here is this: Whatever changes you need to make in lifestyle and habits, are you ready, willing and able to make those changes right now?

If so, proceed to Step 3.

If not, go back to Step 1 and adjust your big goal to fit the true price you’re willing to pay for it.

Step 3: Develop your plan.
You’ve made the commitment. You’re willing to pay the true price for your goal. So, what’s your plan to get there?

Be specific. If you need to save a certain amount of cash for the truck down payment, upfront insurance costs and “truck operations” fund, what do you need to do to accomplish that? What milestones do you need to hit along the way to ensure you’re on track toward your goal?

Think of your plan as a list of sub-goals that you need to achieve on the road to fulfilling your big goal.

The Bottom Line
As the late Jim Rohn put it, “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”

But you could also say that discipline is major line item for the “true price” you must pay to achieve your big goal for 2021.

So, do a gut check. Are willing to make the sacrifices - and pay the true price - to make that big dream a reality this next year?