GraySquare Shares with Timothy Koontz

“Everything Has a Price Tag”

Goals are one of the most frequently discussed items amongst people. Whether it be business, family, health, retirement, school, or any other host of roles one plays in life, setting and hitting goals is paramount to success. I was told early on in my career that “winners” set goals and hit 80% of them and “normal” people just walk aimlessly through life. In my early 20s, when I was first preached the importance of them, my biggest issue was identifying long-term goals that were truly interesting to me. Many people had long term goals that sounded good to me, such as big house, fast car, provide for children, travel, give back, support parents, etc. However, for me, none of these items were overly relevant at the time. My initial career strides were made by having the simple goal of being proud of my efforts and accomplishments. As my adult life began to develop and play out, my true interests became more defined, at which point, I had goals but encountered my second problem with goal setting.
I started seeing people around me, in various aspects of my life, that would talk about what they wanted, but very few were accomplishing the things that aligned to them achieving what they stated. I began to examine my own life and realized that my path was largely the same. The goals seemed to not be coming into view. They seemed distant in spite of my diligence and commitment to hard work, optimism, vision, care of others, and personal development – all of which I was told were the keys to accomplishment. What I soon found out is that there was something I was not understanding and one question that I was not answering. As an entrepreneur, I observed the same misunderstanding in my people. This is where we begin our journey together.
The concept I didn’t understand was that everything has a price tag. Everything. It is easy for people to think of the price of a fast car, because it is clearly stated. But when it comes to retiring early, providing for children, travel, etc. people rarely think of this as a price tag. The key, though, is understanding the price tag that your goals have, and consulting with wiser people to have a true understanding of the price tag of your goals. Once I have the price tag, I can do simple math to work my way backwards to accomplishing what I want or modifying the goal if I feel it is larger than the effort I want to put in. If I lack the understanding of the price tag, I am aimlessly wandering and am not getting closer, which is where burnout and depression come into play. They are my enemies. The price tag gives me the mathematics to eliminate my enemies and start on the path to accomplishment.
Let’s say one of my goals is to retire at 50 years old, own a comfortable home, live a “good” lifestyle (we will define this as upper middle class America), travel three months a year, pay 100% of college tuition for 2 children, and have a fast car. Let’s also assume that I am 30 years old currently, $0.00 in savings, renting a house/apartment, will live to a normal age of 78 years old, and work in a career that allows for growth financially. Let’s get some prices!
28 years of retirement with upper middle class lifestyle
  • $100,000.00 x 28 years = $2,800,000.00
  • Adjusting for Inflation and making interest on my savings will hopefully be a “wash”
Own Comfortable Home
  • $500,000.00
Travel 3 months a year
  • $50,000.00 x 28 years = $1,400,000.00
Tuition for 2 children
  • $150,000.00 x 2 children = $300,000.00
Fast Car
  • $150,000.00
That puts our price tag at $5,150,000.00. Now we have something with which to work! We can simply do math! Unemotional, rational, logical mathematics. We have 20 years to work with and we are at the beginning. Usually career and financial progress is not linear. Meaning, we usually start small and make gradual progress and if we develop and work hard at some tipping point, some flash point, the money pours in. Imagine an athlete. They train as a student and an amateur for free for 15+ years, then they get the $100,000,000.00 contract “overnight”. Business is not dissimilar. Ask around!
So, our 20 years, let’s break it into 10 years of growth to become amazing at our craft and 10 years of capitalizing on our expertise. So we have 10 years to earn the $5,150,000.00 to hit our aforementioned goal plus live for the 20 years to get to age 50 at our normal lifestyle. Let’s tie it all together. For ten years, we are not worried about anything but survival and progress to attain the skills and habits and discipline necessary to accomplish. After that we need to make $615,000.00 a year ($100,000.00 for our life and $515,000.00 to accomplish our goal.
$615,000.00 a year (starting in 10 years)
$11,826.92 a week
$2,365.38 a day
$295.67 an hour
We are now in cruise control. We have our numbers! Now we can make decisions! $615,000.00 a year. Is it within reason? Do I have the diligence? Am I in the right career path to accomplish that number? If $615,000.00 is out of our reach, what do I do? CHANGE. Change something. Change anything. Either change the goal and make it smaller, or change the career and make it bigger. If I stare at an unattainable goal, I will drive myself to depression and burnout.
Go to your coach, manager, boss, family, inner circle! Now it is time to ask yourself and your team of trusted advisors the one question that you need answered. Start at your price tag and ask yourself How Am I Going To Do That? Keep asking until you can’t answer any more. Break it down piece-by-piece.
Let’s use one more example and keep it simple. Now the goal price tag is $10,000.00 for a replacement car in 6 months.
  • How am I going to get $10K in 6 months?
    • Save $384.62 a week
  • How am I going to save $384.62 a week?
    • Start a savings account and set an auto transfer on payday
  • How am I going to do that? I don’t have an extra $384.62 a week
    • Sell some of my unneeded things
    • Ask my boss for a raise
  • How am I going to ask my boss for a raise?
    • Email him/her and ask for an appointment to talk and what I need to do for the extra money
  • How am I going to email my boss?
I am basically done at this point, because the answer to my How Am I Going To Do That? Is tapped out. I can’t answer the question more granularly. So the How Am I Going To Do That? Gave me the road map to get to my price tag which was determined by my goal.
Most exciting topic in the world? Not quite. Most impactful? Possibly. Your Price Tag plus your question and roadmap give you the ability to do whatever you want and avoid depression and burn out. I challenge you! Take the time. Write out your goals. Get with a professional to get your price tag. Ask yourself the question How Am I Going To Do That?. Get your roadmap.


Tim Koontz is the President of GraySquare, Inc. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he started his career in sales and marketing in 2006. In 2008, he started his first company and grew it over a period of 6 years and eventually started GraySquare, Inc. in 2016 as his second entrepreneurial endeavor. His two stated goals are to “Do Something Special” that changes the marketing / sales / advertising industry and his motto is “Leave Your Mark”. Tim is a Nike Collector, Pearl Jam Addict, world traveler, and a family man. He splits his time between the United States and Colombia, South America where his wife, Juliana, and two boys, David and Jacobo, live most of the year.
GraySquare is not just a business and a job, it is a way of life, and we are going to do something memorable that changes the business world and allows us to give back to our people and to society in ways most only dream about.