The 10/10/10 is the framing of the outcome of a decision across three timeframes:
The answers to these questions provide a different perspective and usually help the user to find the correct answer without being misguided by circumstances at the time of making the decision.
When I was 22, I had just moved to NYC, and I was trying to start my career by landing an interview on Wall Street. Of course, it was imperative for me to dress the part to land the job. With a rapidly evaporating savings account, I knew for a fact that I couldn’t afford a new suit.
I was presented with a dilemma: I could stay in every weekend and start saving up enough to buy the suit… or I could buy the suit by getting a credit card (while enjoying the city life), and hope to pay it off eventually.
Here’s how the 10:10:10 method played out when I thought about buying on credit:
I’ll feel good about myself! I don’t want my weekends to be defined by one purchase, and I don’t want to spend my life scrounging pennies.
If I land a job by then, I’ll be glad I got to enjoy my weekends! But if I don’t, I’ll have to worry about paying off that dress (and not having any income).
Either way, I’ll (hopefully!) have a job by then. If it takes me a while to land a job, though, I know that credit card debt can snowball very quickly, and I could end up regretting pilling on debt for years to come.
Sure enough, I lived very frugally for a while and saved up to buy the suit, and although I did land a job fairly quickly, I avoided going into debt in the process. And, as I learned, job security on Wall Street isn’t the best, so I was very happy about the extra cash cushion I had built up in case the job didn’t pan out.