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Letters From Your Future Self

As we begin a new year, I thought it might be fun to read a letter from your potential “future self.”  If you could write yourself a letter and send it ten years back in time, what would you write?  What critical information would you give yourself in 300 words or less?  With that challenge in mind, I’m going to let you see what your “future self” could be writing for you to receive today.

Option 1:

Dear 2013 {insert your name here},

Greetings from 2023!  I’m so glad you made some good choices over the past ten years.  They really paid off.  Since I’ve only got 300 words, I’ll be brief. Because you stopped using credit cards and started living on a budget, your house was paid for in ’19 and you’re planning an awesome family vacation this year – Hawaii here you come.  The car you thought about replacing in 2013 finally died in ‘16, but by then you’d saved up enough cash to buy something outright.  It’s a good thing you did.

Even though you don’t want to read this part, I figure I’d better tell you that you’re going to be laid off in a few months. But don’t worry – there is something better waiting and it all works out – trust me.  Your emergency fund sure came in handy. It kept the bills paid and food on the table.

Your kids are doing great. The time you were job hunting after the layoff allowed you to really spend some time pouring into them.  They still talk about how great it was having you at home with them.  Your wife still talks about it, too.  You really showed her how committed you were to taking care of your family and she fell in love with you all over again.

Thanks you for having some discipline and being man enough to lead your family, even if it wasn’t (sadly, still isn’t) the popular thing to do.  Even with the mistakes you made along the way, you did a great job.


2023 {insert your name here}

Option 2:

Dear 2013 {insert your name here},

2023 is not what I hoped.  You survived intact, but things aren’t nearly what they should be.  You should have listened to that weird guy who kept telling you to get out of debt.  You should have read his book in 2013 instead of waiting until after everything went wrong.  Instead, you laughed at him for saying credit cards were dangerous and went about your life.  That was all good until your boss came in and told you they had to let you go due to budget cuts.  That new car you’d bought a few months earlier because you “needed” it got repo’d because you couldn’t keep up with the payments.  You were able to keep the house and avoid bankruptcy, but only because some family helped you out.  I sure wish you would have saved some money.  Please, put some money away for a rainy day and cut up those stupid credit cards!  It will save you so much heartache.  I will give you some credit (pun intended), though.  When you were at home after the layoff, you really got to spend some time with the kids.  They still talk about how great it was.  You were sad for a while, but then you realized the only way to make it better was to get your life back on track.  We finally made it back to a good place where you could say things were better than before we lost it all after the layoff, but it sure took a while.  Don’t give up – I promise these ten years are going to be hard, but you’ll make it.


2023 {insert your name here}

Which would you rather read?  Look back ten years and consider which would be closer to the letter you’d be writing and remember this: small choices today may mean a lot tomorrow.  If you aren’t making progress toward the goals you want, pick a new direction.  Set new goals, develop new habits and make things better.




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  1. Tara H

    Wonderful! We are at the point in our lives that either of these could be our letters. I’m definitely having my husband read this! Thanks!

    1. Barry

      With all the stuff that happened to my family in 2012 and all the families I talk to who are at a “crossroads,” I thought this would definitely be a fitting post. Glad you agree. :)

  2. Jacquie K

    My first thought after reading this thought-provoking article? WOW! I’m so glad we have already started down the road towards Option 1. It’s not been easy, but life is getting better all the time. Our credit card debt is under $300 (of course the account was closed a long time ago.) We’re still driving our one vehicle now going on 7 years. This April will see the end of our student loan debt. And now that my DH’s health is back on track, he’s back to work full time. My health continues to be problematic, but the new power chair will help immensely. Thank you for all your good advice and encouragement, Barry!

    1. Barry

      Thank you for a comment to make me smile – I think it is well-summed up by “it’s not been easy, but life is getting better all the time.” :)

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