Over the past year I have noticed a significant change in my perception of life and death. Despite being 41 it is only recently that I have experienced the death of a friend or peer – someone of a similar age, similar stage in life, and in one case someone I went to school with. Prior to this, death had been something remote and academic, something that occurred to others, or people significantly older than me and I therefore couldn’t imagine myself in their position.
I received another reminder of mortality this week with news of a friend’s death from a suspected heart attack. At 50 he was a few years older than me, but like me was married with two young children. His death was completely unexpected as he had till that point appeared healthy.
This death in particular highlighted the dilemma we face in planning for the future, namely that we deny ourselves the enjoyment our money could buy us today so we can save and invest it for a future we may not reach.
On the other hand I spoke to my grandfather the other night. He has been ill recently and has slowed down significantly in the last year, but at 94 years of age he is probably entitled to do so. He recognises that he is closer to the end than the beginning, and every conversation ends with him saying goodbye – in case we don’t get the chance to speak again. But he is at peace with the world and happy with what he has achieved in his life.
So given my life could span the next 60 years, or be over within the next 60 seconds how can my need to enjoy life today be reconciled with a plan to provide for tomorrow?
Quite simply, it comes down to knowing what is important to you and your family, and continually focusing on that. Even the most affluent and highest earners among us have finite financial resources that can be easily frittered away, with little left to show for them. Whether you want to ensure your children receive the best available education, travel to exotic locations, collect artworks or make a significant philanthropic gesture, anything is possible but everything is not.
Financial success lies in being able to do as many of the things that you decide are important to you, and that are possible to achieve within the limits of your resources.
Clearly, to achieve this requires you to know what you want. But once this is settled, you will need tools to help you evaluate what is possible and thereby refine your objectives. From there it will be important to continually reassess your position to know whether you remain on track to achieve them.
When was the last time you stopped and considered your overall financial position? If you haven’t done so for some time I invite you to complete our 9 Point Financial Health Check. Upon completion we will email you a personalised report, together with a suggested course of action if we feel it is warranted. Click here for your checkup.
Or if you would like to talk to us and obtain a Second Opinion on your plans and the strategies you have in place to achieve them, click here to contact us.