Melissa Myers, CFP®

(231) 733-1166

What's Your BHAG?

| October 12, 2016
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For those of you wondering what a BHAG is, it stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goal. What is your Big Hairy Audacious Goal? In my opinion, if it doesn’t both excite you and scare you, it isn’t a BHAG!

Dream Big

Setting goals is a big part of what motivates me to do the things that I do on a daily basis and I tend to set big goals. My husband and I have a BHAG for 2030. Our son will be done with college and we’ll be free to travel. The type of travel we have in mind doesn’t include a car, plane, or train. Our mode of transportation will be that of the floating nature. A forty foot motorized boat, make and model to-be-determined.

From Spring Lake we’ll take the Grand River to the pier heads at Grand Haven and head north on Lake Michigan. We’ll pass under the Mackinac Bridge, head south on Lake Huron, continue on through Lake Erie and possibly Lake Ontario, arriving in NYC by way of the Erie Canal and/or the Hudson River. From there we’ll travel down the eastern seaboard to Florida. Perhaps we’ll detour to the Bahamas.  When we’re ready to head north we’ll go up the gulf side of Florida, up the Mississippi to Chicago, and north until we reach our home port of Grand Haven.

The Great Loop is something we HAVE to do.  As I write this blog I'm getting goosebumps and tears in my eyes!  I am both excited and a little scared.  It must be a BHAG!  Listening to my heart I know that I'm all-in! There’s someone else I have to listen to. My husband. The route I just outlined may change a little. Or a lot. Maybe he’ll want to go the other direction. Who knows? All I know is that we have both agreed that this is our shared goal!

Plan Early

2030 is a long way off. Even so, it will be here before we know it. So will retirement, grandkids, and gray hair! Regardless, we are already taking steps to prepare for the adventure! Fortunately for us there have been many who have gone the route before us and have shared their experiences including costs, charts, and specs for the “right” boat. There is even a special association that you can join, America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association, to learn, connect, be inspired, and share your experience.

What do you need in order to complete the Great Loop? From what I’ve learned you need the right boat. Having the knowledge of what the “right” boat is today and its approximate cost we were able to calculate how much we will need to save over the next 14 years. While we aren’t yet investing the full amount each month, we did start a monthly systematic investment earlier this year. The key to achieving goals is to start. Periodically we’ll increase the level of investing. When the time arrives, we’ll have enough saved to purchase the “right” boat.

Be Open to Learning

There are many special moments and lessons to be shared when planning for such a BHAG.

  • Belief that it can become a reality
  • Benefits of long term planning
  • Accountability
  • Being friendly on the docks

Last summer my son, Brock, and I were walking along the boardwalk in Grand Haven. He knows of our plans to become Loopers (what you call those who do the Great Loop). While walking he noticed a boat that was unique. He asked, “Mom, would you like that boat for the Great Loop?” He has really bought into our dream and asks that question on a regular basis! I told him, "Yes, I would like that boat for the Great Loop."

Upon closer inspection we spotted the special Looper burgee which is a white flag that you fly until you’ve completed the Loop. Once you’ve completed it you switch out the white burgee for the gold, which indicates that you’ve completed the Great Loop. There is even a platinum burgee which indicates you’ve made the Loop several times! While we were looking at the boat a man came out and told us he was from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was the captain, his wife was the chef, and they were the crew for the owner of the boat who along with his dogs decided to make the Loop! We also learned that this was a special Dutch boat, only one of two in the United States!

Share Your Goals

By sharing our goal with our son we have accountability! He is very focused on helping us identify the best boat, is helpful to point out other Loopers when he sees the burgees. He has a vested interest in making this happen. He’s counting on us to provide a vacation spot for him multiple times over the course of his first years in “the real world.”

What’s your Big Hairy Audacious Goal? Seriously! I would love to hear from you. I would especially love to help you implement a plan to make your BHAG a reality. When you share your goals and are held accountable to implementing your BHAG plan you have a greater probability of success.

Melissa Myers, CFP®

Melissa is a Gen X business owner and CFP® professional.   She teaches what she has learned on her way to success. She wants to share her secrets to achieving BHAGs with you. Call or email Melissa at (231) 733-1166 or email:

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