Why silence isn’t necessarily bliss

Over six million adults refuse to discuss their Will with loved ones

Making a Will is very important if you care what happens to your money and your belongings after you die, and most of us do. But have you tried to talk with your parents about their Will? If that conversation isn’t happening, you’re not alone

And it’s not only parents who are uncomfortable. Adult children may also be nervous about raising the topic of their parents’ finances for fear they appear greedy or nosy. Understandably, talking about dying can be seen as ‘taboo’ and it is not always easy to bring it up. However, discussing your Will with beneficiaries means they are better prepared when the time comes.

However, worryingly, almost six and half million adults refuse to discuss their Will with loved ones according to a recent research[1]. A quarter (26%) of people with a Will say they will not discuss it as they do not want to think about dying and one in four (27%) do not want to upset beneficiaries by discussing the contents of their Will[2].

It is also hugely important for family members to be aware of vital decisions in your Will, such as who will look after your children. By overcoming ‘death anxiety,’ the natural fear of talking about death and the emotions associated with it, these important conversations can ensure your beneficiaries are aware of your wishes and understand them.

Nearly half (45%) of UK parents, the research identified, with adult children believe their Will is ‘no one’s business’ but their own or a partner’s. But sharing the contents of a Will makes the financial and practical consequences of death easier for those left behind. Losing someone can have a huge impact on finances for months or even years to come, so it is crucial for families to be prepared.

‘When I’m gone’ conversation with your partner or family

  • Avoid talking to someone when they’re busy. Look for opportunities to broach the subject, such as when you’re discussing the future or perhaps following the death of someone close to you
  • Consider beginning the conversation with a question such as, ‘Have you ever wondered what would happen…?’; ‘Do you think we should talk about…?
  • Think about how you would manage financially should the worst happen. What impact would losing a partner or family member have on your household income and your expenses? Be aware that your financial situation may change in the future
  • Make sure you know where all important documents such as Wills, bank details, insurance policies, etc. are kept, so that you have all the information you might need
  • Prepare in advance – would you know how to manage the day-to-day finances? If not, consider how you could start to learn about them now so this doesn’t come as a shock

In the event of an illness, loss of capacity or death, are your plans in place?

Many of us will eventually reach a point in our lives when we require specialist assistance to ensure that our family will be able to cope better and manage their affairs in the event of an illness, loss of capacity or death.  If you would like to review your particular situation, why not give us a call?

Source data:

[1] Royal London – six million figure is based on ONS adult population stats of 52.8million. Our research shows 47% of UK adults have a Will – 26% of this figure equates to 6,458,535.05

[2] Opinium on behalf of Royal London surveyed 2,006 adults between 26 and 29 October 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

Are You Spending Your Time Doing What Everybody Else Does in Retirement?

Many soon-to-be retirees struggle to imagine their week without work in it. All those blank calendar days are exciting, but they can also be overwhelming.

But once you actually retire, you might find that your daily routine isn’t quite as different as you expected, and that there isn’t quite as much blank space as you’d anticipated. With some reflection and a little intentional thinking, you can fill in the rest of your agenda with activities and experiences that will bring meaning and happiness to your retirement.

Breaking down the day.

Let’s start by looking at some findings from the USA. Pew Research analysis of some data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to American Time Use surveys completed by people at retirement age, the biggest chunk of a retiree’s day is spent …

You guessed it, sleeping! Retirees sleep, on average, 8 ½ hours every day. Depending on your old work routine, that might be something of a luxury to look forward to!

Here’s how the rest of a typical retiree’s day breaks down:

  • Leisure: 7 Hours
  • Chores and errands: 3 hours
  • Work: 2 hours
  • Grooming and health care: 1 hour
  • Eating: 1 hour
  • Unpaid volunteering and care-giving: 1 hour

Hopefully in retirement you’re going to reward yourself with some big-ticket experiences, like travelling. But as you can see, a good portion of your daily schedule is going to be spent doing things you already do: sleeping, showering, eating, grocery shopping, checking in on your friends and relatives, and maybe working a few hours part time.

7 Hours of What?

It’s that 7 hours of leisure time that some retirees really struggle with.

According to Pew’s research, most people over 60 spend 4 ½ hours of their leisure time in front of their TV, computer, or cell phone. And while there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a good movie or the latest pictures of your grand kids on Facebook, that much time on the couch just isn’t healthy. “Couch potato syndrome” is a symptom of a retirement that isn’t keeping you physically, emotionally, or mentally active.

Even more troubling is that when you’re stuck to a screen, you’re usually alone. And according to that same Pew study, married retirees spend over 7 waking hours alone as a couple (excluding personal activities such as grooming). Single retirees spend 10 waking hours solo.

Alone time isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But people are social animals. We need other people to support us and keep us stimulated. If you’re too content to stay in bed or on the settee you might be socially isolated, which can have negative effects on your health and sense of well-being.

Your Ideal Week in Retirement.

What you do during those 50 or so weekly leisure hours when you’re not on holiday or completing everyday tasks will largely determine how you feel about your retirement.

So ask yourself, “What does my ideal week in retirement look like?”

To answer this question, start by thinking about the things you love doing and the people you love doing them with.

If your adult children and grandchildren live nearby, you might want to pencil in a weekly dinner.

Have you always wanted to perfect your backhand or get your handicap down? Find a coach and schedule some regular lessons.

Do you have some unfulfilled artistic dreams, like writing a book or painting? Don’t just wait for the mood to strike you. Turn that unused bedroom into your personal studio and set a schedule.

What’s something you love to do that your spouse isn’t interested in? Schedule some alone time … just not 7 hours of it.

You might also think about the other retirees you know, and ask yourself, “What differences have I noticed between those who seem to be enjoying their retirement, and those who don’t seem to be having any fun?” What are some activities they do that you might enjoy? Some potential pitfalls you might want to avoid?

If you’re still having trouble, make an appointment to sit down with us. We can work together through The Ideal Week in Retirement tool we designed to help retirees create a new weekly schedule. It’s a fun exercise that will definitely get you excited about living the best retirement possible with the money you have.

Sources:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-people-do-in-retirement-hour-by-hour-11562338744?mod=hp_jr_pos1

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/07/03/on-average-older-adults-spend-over-half-their-waking-hours-alone/

Bank of Mum and Dad part 2 …..

Innovative products to be created for would-be home owners

The Building Societies Association (BSA) have recently published a raft of recommendations as to how the mortgage industry can support the Bank of Mum and Dad in their endeavors to help first-time buyers onto the property ladder.

They have called for more innovative products to be created to enable parents and grandparents to loan or gift money to family members who are would-be home owners. The BSA also wants building societies to provide clearer communication to help explain all the options, and it wants regulatory and tax barriers to be broken down.

Helping younger homebuyers climb onto the housing ladder

The BSA’s report recognises the contributions of the Bank of Mum and Dad to date, highlighting the billions of pounds that have been gifted and lent to help younger homebuyers climb onto the housing ladder.

They also confirmed that 90% of all building societies expect this form of financing to play an increasing role in helping first-time buyers over the next five to ten years. Their priority now is to help create an environment whereby the financial well-being of the older generation is not put at jeopardy due to their generosity in helping younger family members achieve their housing objectives.

  • 86% of people surveyed wanted to own their own home, but the financial challenges facing first-time buyers meant many thought they would never achieve this aspiration
  • In 2017, there were 360,000 first-time buyers – but the minimum should be nearer 450,000. The ability to buy was increasingly concentrated on dual-earning households and those with higher incomes
  • More than half of aspiring first-time buyers expected the Bank of Mum and Dad to support them onto the housing ladder

Support between generations remains a fundamental ambition

The report also highlighted how the Bank of Mum and Dad wasn’t just about family members handing over cash in the form of gifts and loans – many customers wanted support between generations through guarantees or using their property or savings as security. Indeed, it also identified equity release or downsizing from larger properties as ways to support the younger generation.

Robin Fieth, Chief Executive of the BSA said: ‘Home ownership remains a fundamental ambition for the majority of people…against the challenging backdrop of high prices, a woefully inadequate supply of homes and a growing intergenerational divide, new ideas and strong debate are essential. Family help – the so-called “Bank of Mum and Dad” – is great for those fortunate enough to have this option, but innovations in underwriting could help all potential first-time buyers.’

Mums and Dads are you planning to lend money to your children?

It goes without saying that lending or gifting  money to your loved ones shouldn’t endanger your own financial status. But if this is your plan, then it requires professional financial advice to assess all of your options. If you would like to discuss this subject with us, please contact us.

 

 

 

Are Things Really That Bad

This week the World celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing and it was fantastic to see such a positive story in the headlines, particularly as it seems that the media and people in general can sometimes take a dark pessimistic view of the world.

So, with this in mind, I decided to share some thoughts, courtesy of Jeremy Kisner, an American investment adviser and optimist.

Kisner reminds us that the world has improved dramatically over almost any time frame you can consider. But, he acknowledges, it doesn’t always feel this way because negative headlines attract eyeballs and sell advertising for the media. Granted, there are tons of very real problems. Nevertheless, Bill Gates nailed it when he said, “Headlines are what mislead you, because bad news is a headline and gradual improvement is not.”

Human progress occurs because every day a few billion people go to work and figure out ways to improve living standards. Individuals do not always recognise the gradual improvements. But one place you can see the progress is in the stock market which has been going up for most of our lives (with, granted, a few bumps in the road) and is now close to all-time highs.

People get scared reading the news — North Korea, Iran, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, refugees, economic disparities, global warming — and then they get even more scared thinking about the things that might go wrong. But meanwhile, people buy more things, companies grow, wealth is created, and billions of people live longer and better lives.

Here are a few of Kisner’s examples of human progress:

Life expectancy: Consider this: If you were born in 1900, you would have had a 23% chance of dying before age 20 and a 38% chance of dying before age 45. Kids born today have about a 1% chance of dying before age 20 and a 4% chance of dying before age 45.

Modern Conveniences: When our grandparents were born, virtually no one had electricity … or telephone or indoor plumbing. They didn’t have a car and couldn’t fly in an airplane. Today, 85% of the people in the world enjoy the benefits of electricity. And two-thirds have a mobile phone.

Poverty: Twenty years ago 29% of the world population lived in extreme poverty. Today it’s only 9% . . . and the rate is still falling.

Retirement: Some 90% of 65-year-old American men who were still alive in 1870 were working. Today only about 20% of 65-year-old American men are still working … and many of them are working by choice not necessity.

Housework: The average family spent 11.5 hours a week doing laundry in 1920. That has fallen to 1.5 hours a week as of 2014.

Safety: Americans became 95% less likely to be killed on the job over the last hundred years. Seat belts, air bags and other safety features have brought down auto fatalities from 50,000 a year in the 1970s to about 37,000 today, despite more cars on the road. The fatality rate from road accidents per 100,000 people has dropped from 25 to 11 — less than half what it was in the 1970s.

Disease: In the past century, vaccines and antibiotics have brought miracles for modern medicine. Just since 1990, the control of infectious disease has saved the lives of an estimated 100 million children.

Food. Between 1961 and 2009, the amount of land used to grow food increased by 12%, but the amount of food grown has increased by 300%.

Kisner maintains that people who think the best days for the Western World, and for our economies, are behind us are essentially saying that human innovation is going to slow down or stagnate. He says that doesn’t seem likely, at least over the next 20 to 30 years.

Don’t you agree?

 

How to Increase Your Generosity Without jeopardising Your Retirement

How are you going to get the best, most fulfilling life possible with the money you have once you retire?

Study after study has shown that retirees who spend their time and money on experiences are much happier than those who just buy stuff. Charitable giving can be a particularly meaningful way to keep yourself active and put your assets to good use.   Just as long as you don’t overdo it.

If you’re feeling an increased desire to give back now that you’ve retired, here are some tips on balancing your good intentions with what’s best for you and your family.

  1. Do your homework.

Recently, there have been high-profile cases of fraud and misappropriated funds at some very famous charitable organisations. But even if you’re giving to a charity that is well run, you should understand where your money is really going. If you’re happy with your money helping a larger organisation to pay its bills and employees, great. If you want your money to have a more immediate impact on those in need, consider giving to smaller organisations in your community.

Do some googling and check online watchdog databases to make sure your favoured charity is on the up-and-up and unless you know the organisers personally, avoid online crowd-funding campaigns that aren’t legally accountable for how they use donations.

  1. Consider a volunteer position.

Your favourite non-profit or charitable organisations need money. But they also need manpower.

If you’re thinking about working part time in retirement and a salary isn’t really important to you, diary regular volunteer hours instead. You’ll get all the same benefits of having a job: structure, responsibility, camaraderie. Plus, those who volunteer report lower levels of stress, an increased sense of purpose, and better physical and emotional health.

  1. Teach, tutor, or consult.

When looking for a charitable outlet, don’t overlook the professional skills that you honed over your career.

You might not have the qualifications to teach at a school or university, but you could talk to your local community centre about holding a seminar that could benefit your community. You might have finished running your business but there are high school children who could benefit from your mastery of business. Open your door to local small business owners or recent graduates who need an entrepreneurial mentor.

  1. Make a plan.

It’s a scientific fact that giving makes us feel good. But some retirees may get too caught up in their generosity. They forget that gifts and donations are coming from that same pool of assets that are supposed to keep them safe and secure for the rest of their lives. They may have trouble setting limits and saying no.

There is indeed such a thing as too much giving. You might not think much about writing an extra  cheque or two early in retirement. But it is important for retirees to maintain a long-term perspective on their nest eggs. This generation of retirees is going to live longer and lead more active lives than any in history. You need to make sure that helping someone today isn’t going to make it harder to cover your health care and cost of living needs tomorrow.

So, if you and your spouse want to make regular charitable donations, you should come in and talk to us. We can incorporate giving into your monthly budget and retirement income plan.

We’re always happy when our clients want to help others. But it’s our responsibility to make sure your financial plan covers your best interests first.  Let’s work together on a plan that will make your retirement secure and the world around you a little brighter.

 

 

Tax-efficient ways to fund the next generation

It’s natural that you may want to give younger members of your family a financial start in life, especially when we hear about some students graduating with eye-watering levels of debt. If you can help your children or grandchildren without risking running out of money yourself; it’s important that you do so effectively.

An obvious way is by funding university tuition fees and maintenance costs. By funding a student’s three-year course upfront, parents or grandparents can prevent the student from taking on a 30-year debt and the interest costs associated with that.

There are a number of ways do this.  Set out below are two tax-efficient ways to do this are:

Individual Savings Account (ISA)

Start saving whilst the child or grandchild is still very young.  If the investment is allowed to grow, it could build up into a sizeable sum. The money can then be given to the grandchild as an adult.  The capital could be enough to cover tuition fees and possibly board and lodging as well. If the ISA is a Junior ISA, set up in the child’s name, any gains will not incur Capital Gains Tax, and they will not be considered part of the parents’ or grandparents’ estate for Inheritance Tax purposes.

However, the child will automatically gain access to the money when they turn 18, hence they can choose what to do with it. If the ISA is set up in the parents’ or grandparents’ names, the parents or the grandparents would be able to decide how the money from the ISA is used, but it would be considered part of their estate for Inheritance Tax purposes for seven years after it has been gifted to the adult child or grandchild.  See our previous article on gifts and the 7-year rule.

Investment Account

For tax reasons, this approach may be best suited to grandparents. Grandparents can set up a designated account for a grandchild and invest a capital sum in it. The grandchild’s initials are put in the designation box when the account is set up, creating a bare trust. A bare trust, also sometimes known as a ‘simple trust,’ is one where the beneficiary (the person who benefits from the trust) has an immediate and absolute right to both the trust capital and the income received by the trust from that capital.

HM Revenue & Customs will view income and gains from the investment as being attributed to the minor, who will have their own Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax allowance, so there will be no tax implications for the grandparents. Any money invested in this way leaves the grandparents’ estate seven years after it has been gifted. At 18 (16 in Scotland), the grandchild is legally entitled to the money, however, and can use it however they see fit – which may not necessarily be for education.

Funding for purposes other than education

Many parents and grandparents want to set up their children or grandchildren to enjoy a secure financial future yet paying down student debt is not necessarily the best option if they have a spare capital sum to invest.

They could also consider helping their children or grandchildren to save towards a house deposit (using a lifetime ISA) or start a pension for them so that they have security in later life.

Looking for help to grow your money?

To help you make better-informed investment decisions about how you can assist the next generation(s), please chat to us about what you would like to do.  We can look at this with you to help you decide if you can afford to do so and how.

Warnings

This article is distributed for educational purposes only and must not be considered to be advice.  The information is based upon our current understanding of taxation legislation and regulations.  Any levels and bases of, and reliefs from, taxation are subject to change.  Errors and omissions excepted. 

The “ABCDE” Method to Avoiding Knee-Jerk Reactions to Negative Financial Events

As part of the Financial Planning process, we talk to clients about how market volatility is a normal part of investing. We’ve also discussed how we’ve structured investments to “weather the storm” and maintain a comfortable level of income for both themselves and their family during turbulent times.

But we also understand that even those who are armed with this knowledge can get nervous during a market dip. What’s important is that you know how to prevent that initial wave of negativity from leading you to rash decisions that could damage your nest egg much worse than a market correction.

Dr. Martin Seay is a specialist in positive psychology, which focuses on strategies that people can use to improve their sense of well-being. Dr. Seay’s ‘ABCDE’ method can help you work through your reactions to distressing financial news and arrive at a positive outcome.

Let’s run through an example of how to use this method to avoid making a bad, emotion-based financial decision.

A. Activating Event

Sometimes stress and anxiety can feel all-encompassing. Dr. Seay believes it’s important that we pinpoint the event that triggered our negative feelings.  So, while you might feel general anxiety about your finances, drill down a little deeper. Is your job secure? OK. Are you saving and investing according to your financial plan? Good.

Did you just read on social media that today’s market correction was “THE BIGGEST ONE-DAY DROP IN HISTORY!”

Ahh, there it is. Let’s move on to the next step.

B. Belief

Market volatility can rouse some of our worst instincts about investing. We might fall back on long-buried beliefs like, “This game is fixed!” We might feel like we’ve entrusted our financial future to powers beyond our control.

Working through this step, it’s important to ask yourself where your beliefs come from. Have you been unsettled by widespread media coverage of major financial problems, like the 2008-2009 financial crisis? Have you had negative interactions with the finance industry in the past? Perhaps one of your parents distrusted the markets or made a poor investment that had a negative impact on your family.

Figuring out why you believe what you believe about the markets can help alert you before you fall back into bad financial habits.

C. Consequences

Panicked investors who can’t shake negative beliefs about the markets often make poor decisions during downturns. They think they need to “get out fast” to avoid more negative consequences, like further losses.

Ironically, cashing out your investments during a market correction usually leads to far more serious consequences in the long run.

So how can you stay focused on the big picture?

D. Disputation

Start by using what you know to counter what you believe.

For example, we’ve discussed in both client meetings and our blog that the historical, long-term trajectory of the financial markets has been to rise over time. And now, market averages such as the FT 100 index are near all-time highs. Therefore, when the market does have a temporary drop, we might say, “The FT was down x hundreds of points today.” It sounds like a big number, but as a percentage, it may just be normal volatility.

We’ve also discussed that “market timing” strategies usually just don’t work. That’s why our portfolios are diversified, balanced, and strategically re-balanced as necessary. Decades of market history have shown that sticking to this type of investment strategy may be more effective – and stable – than trying to jump in and out of the market based on what’s happening in the news right now.

E. Energised

 It’s amazing how just reminding ourselves of what we know to be true can make us feel better about a negative situation. Hopefully at the end of this process, you feel a renewed sense of positivity about this present moment and your financial future.

But, we understand that market volatility can be complicated; and a downturn can be downright nerve-wracking.

 

Warnings

This article is distributed for educational purposes only and must not be considered to be advice.   Errors and omissions excepted. 

Freetirees

Pension freedoms usher in a new generation

The introduction of pension freedoms has been a huge enabler for over-55’s, allowing millions to draw income from their pensions flexibly. Pension freedoms offer the opportunity to transition into retirement by continuing to work with reduced hours beyond traditional retirement age.

This emerging trend enables you to choose a middle path, allowing for reduced working hours and more flexible quality leisure time, while also receiving your retirement benefits. Taking a phased approach to retirement, new research[1] shows, was the preference for half of UK workers over 50, or five million workers[2].

Tailor retirement to your own individual requirements

The flexibility that pension freedoms gives means that older workers can tailor their retirement to their own individual requirements, giving rise to a new distinct and more ‘free’ stage of life in between work and retirement.

A quarter (26%) of over-50s could see themselves continuing to work while collecting their pension, but their motivation for doing so isn’t driven solely by economics. Keeping their brain active and an enjoyment of work as well as the benefits of social interaction all play their part.

Work–life balance has never been more important

Earning an income later in life also provides workers with the opportunity to continue saving, which can mean higher retirement benefits in the future. The research highlights that a work–life balance has never been more important to those over 55. Pension freedoms have allowed them to throw off the shackles of a traditional retirement and follow a plan that suits their individual needs. While historically people benefitted from generous final salary pensions, one drawback of these was that they didn’t offer much flexibility to decide how and when to take benefits.

The pension freedoms have changed the way people think about retirement and are enabling the rise of a more flexible transition into retirement, including allowing people to choose to start accessing some retirement savings to support a reduced working pattern.

Freedoms to continue to live life on your own terms

Pension freedoms have allowed older workers to be more flexible, creating a distinct phase in their later life where they can alter their working pattern to their needs. This allows them to continue working beyond traditional retirement age while also having more time for leisure, for family, for volunteering and to pursue hobbies and travel.

The research also highlights another point that older workers want to be able to continue to live life on their own terms, and pension freedoms allow an increasing number to enjoy a new life stage where they can combine reduced working hours with enjoying more leisure time.

What is your financial action plan?

For many people, it’s not clear where their money will come from when they no longer receive a salary – and that can be stressful. But don’t worry. With our help, you can create a plan of the actions you can take today to prepare you for the life you want tomorrow.  Why not speak to us to arrange a meeting.

 

Source data:

[1] Research conducted by Aegon in conjunction with Opinium, based on responses from 1007 UK workers aged 50+ earning £20k+ between 30 November and 6 December 2018.

[2] Office for National Statistics A05 NSA: Employment, unemployment and economic inactivity by age group

Have You Been Surprised by Retirement?

We can’t know for sure what’s ahead in retirement any more than we know about our career when we take our first job.  We might start out with a plan, but life happens, and before we know it, we can find ourselves in the midst of something entirely different.

The surprises might come right away, when the reality of retirement doesn’t match up with our dreams. They may come later, after we think we’ve got it all figured out . . . only to find we don’t. By definition, we can’t know what surprises are in store for us.

Here are a few surprises …. have you experienced others?

A child moves back home. No one’s surprised if a son or daughter returns home after graduating from university. The surprise comes when for example, a single, 32-year-old son loses his highly paid job in the city, can no longer pay his rent, and moves back in with his parents. Hopefully they find another job and then off they go on their own again, but this could take some time so be prepared and don’t make it too comfortable for them… unless of course you really do want them to stay.

Where are we living now? A close friend of mine told me he always figured he’d retire to Spain. He and his wife spent several years visiting various parts, until one weekend they stayed with some friends in North Wales. They fell in love with area and before the weekend was over, they’d put down a deposit on a new house. Now, two years later, they love it . . . but even they are still surprised they ended up in Wales instead of Spain.

The doctor calls. It is probable that we will all get a nasty medical surprise at some point. You may have had an active lifestyle in your younger days and have visions of this continuing into retirement. But the arthritis in your knees and ankles may make you rethink this. Many people are taken aback when they discover they have to limit their activities or take medication for the rest of their lives.

Are we going to work? A lot of people plan to take a part-time job after they retire, then are surprised to find out the workforce is not clambering for 65-year olds. Working at the local DIY store isn’t everyone’s idea of a dream job, and whilst some of us may be suited to a consultancy role in our chosen profession, that is not for everyone.   The other ideal is to work whether it is paid or otherwise in a sector that interests you. Volunteer at your local theatre group or independent cinema or a charity.

One of my neighbour’s volunteers to look after hearing dogs (dogs for deaf people) for one or 2 weeks at a time whilst their trainer takes a break.   This means that he gets to exercise and look after the very well-trained dogs but without any long-term commitment.

Money doesn’t matter as much. Although I find that retirement is a great leveller. Most of us expect to live on a reduced income, some savings and maybe a pension. Our income is stable. We’re not pushing for a pay rise or promotion. The pressure is off. So, a lot of people are surprised that success in retirement is less about how big our house is, or what car we drive, and more about having fun, hanging out with a good crowd, and leaving a legacy for friends and family.

We can deal with all the change. I know it’s sounds stupid, but it’s a surprise to me that after retirement, life goes on — meaning things continue to change.  We move; we have grandchildren; our kids do something unexpectedly different. We have different friends, perhaps different interests. We realise we can cope with a lot of change and adapt to new developments. Yes, some of us are surprised that we can do this!

 

Improve Your Relationship with Money by Answering These 5 Questions

Many people have a complicated relationship with money. Hang-ups carried over from childhood experiences get mixed together with positive and negative experiences through adulthood. Few people ever take the time to reflect on what money really means to them and how they can “get right” with money to make smarter decisions.

Take time to answer these 5 questions and you might find that you can do a better job of living your best life possible with the money you have.

1. What’s your first money memory?

Your earliest experiences with money probably happened in your home. You saw how your parents earned and managed their money. You probably compared the quality of your family home and vehicles to what you saw at friends’ and neighbours’ houses. An unexpected job loss or illness might have led to some very lean holidays or none at all. Or, if you grew up in an affluent household, you might have taken money for granted in a way you no longer do now that you’re the one earning it.

Identifying some of these early memories is critical to reassessing your relationship with money. Are you following positive examples towards decisions that are going to improve your life? Or, without even realising it, are you repeating poor money habits that are going to hurt you in the long run?

2. Do you feel like money is your servant or your master?

Sometimes money makes us feel like we’re a hamster on a wheel, running as fast as we can without ever really getting anywhere. But if you never stop chasing after that next pound, when it comes time to retire, all you’re going to have is money, and a whole lot of empty days on your calendar.

People who get the most out of their money recognise that it’s a tool they can use to skillfully navigate to where they want to be in life. So, instead of working too long and hard for more money, think about how to put the money you have to work for you.

3. What would you do if you had more money?

You’ve probably read about studies that show lottery winners don’t end up any happier than they were before their windfalls. This is a dramatic example proving some conventional wisdom: money doesn’t buy happiness. That’s especially true if you’re stuck on your wheel for 40 hours every week just chasing more and more money.

If the idea of having more money gets you thinking about all the things you’d buy, it’s important to remember how quickly even the fanciest new car smell will fade.

If you would immediately quit your job if you had enough money to support your family and live comfortably, then maybe you need to think about a more fulfilling career.

Having more money might not “solve” some issues you’re currently experiencing but asking what you would do if you had more money might lead you to new decisions that improve your current life satisfaction.

4. What would you do if you had more time?

Imagine you don’t have to work. You can spend every single day doing exactly what you want. What does your ideal week look like? What things are you doing? What hobbies are you perfecting? Where are you travelling? With whom are you spending your time?

These things often get pushed to the side when we’re busy working. But if your money isn’t providing you with opportunities to spend time doing what you love with the people you love, then your work-life balance might need an adjustment.

5. What would your life look like to you if it turned out “well”?

Hopefully by now you’re starting to think about how your relationship to money could be keeping you from getting the most out of your money.

The successful retirees that we work with don’t look back fondly on the amount of money they made or how much stuff they were able to buy. They tell us their lives turned out well because they used money to make progress towards major life goals. They say their money provided them the freedom to pursue their passions. And their sense of well-being increased as they committed time and resources to health, spirituality, and continual self-improvement.

When you reach retirement age, we want you to look back happily on a life well-lived. Come and talk to us about how our interactive tools and Life-Centred Planning process can improve your relationship to your money.