What is most important to you?
1. In the first phase of life we depend on others and we learn;
2. In the second phase, others are dependant on us and we work;
3. In the third phase, others no longer depend on us, we no longer have to work and we are free to savour life.
The first two phases of life are very important, teach us many lessons, and serve as a foundation for later life. In phase two, we need to pay attention to key personal financial planning matters to ensure that we save hard, put our money to work early and make sensible choices for the future.
Assuming that we have saved, invested and paid down debts by the time we reach middle age, it is to phase three that we concentrate on with life planning. We plan for and aim to achieve our lifelong goals and dreams in this phase of our lives. We are free to savour life.
People who have Financial wellbeing have income levels sufficient for their lifestyle needs and enough capital put by to give them peace of mind. Welbeing comes from financial security. They have a lifestyle the enables them to be satisfied. This does not necessarily mean they are wealthy. They are content with what they have and the lifestyle that brings. Some of our clients want to see all corners of the globe and soak up life’s experiences, but others are just as happy spending time with their family, walking their dog, or taking up a new hobby. It is about aligning your lifestyle with your finances. It is about having enough for the life you want.
Our goal in the life planning stage is to help you to uncover your values, goals, key relationships, interests and hobbies.
Once established we can then see if we can help you to discover what inspires you and to see and do things that you would look back on and smile.
This is often easier said than done. If we are not careful we can miss new ideas or opportunities that come along and need to be grasped. We are all only here for a short time and in our view we should live life on purpose and not look back and think of what might have been. Blogger Tim Urban has provided some context to the length of a human life. What’s interesting about this is that the third phase when you can genuinely live out life to the full is shorter than you think. We encourage our clients not only to uncover their goals, but to plan to do the more demanding things in the early years of retirement when we have the resources, desire and health to grasp the opportunities.
Some of our clients collect things such as antiques and classic cars. They get enormous pleasure out of this and this is important to them, there is however a persuasive case to invest your time and money on experiences and not so much on things.
Spend money on experiences – not possessions
A 20-year study conducted by Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University, reached a powerful and straightforward conclusion: Don’t spend your money on things, spend it on experiences.
Why do companies and corporations push their wares on you, the consumer? What is the purpose? How do they bait their hooks, reel you in, catch your attention and tempt you to purchase their products? They simply offer that you will have happiness when you consume their products.
While buying a new house, car, or iPhone might satisfy you momentarily, it will not last. Experiences on the other hand, live on forever. If you spend money on experiences, as opposed to material items, you are going to experience much more joy and contentment in your life. Experiences are priceless while material items mostly have an expiry date. The house and car you buy are wonderful purchases at the time, but as time elapses, the satisfaction you receive from them is most likely going to diminish.
Contrastingly, experiences will never lose their appeal. You may have spent a couple of hundred pounds on concert tickets for your favourite artist, but that is an experience you will never forget. You can always go back to that moment and conjure up pleasant feelings. Perhaps you will never forget a night out you had with friends, or how you travelled through Europe, America or Southeast Asia. These are life experiences that will never be replaced no matter how many cars or gadgets you buy.
Experiences help define your purpose and passions.
Failure to spend money on experiences means failure to discover your purpose and passions. Your purpose and your passions should serve as your compass through life. They should guide you and influence your daily activities.
Your experiences don’t need to be expensive or grandiose, and neither do your purposes and passions. However, you should align experiences in your life that are in tune with them. If you enjoy sports, for example, and perhaps you believe your purpose in life is sports-centric, then it makes sense for you to spend money on playing your favourite sports and attending sporting events. This goes for any other passion you have in life.
Don’t miss out on opportunities to pursue your purpose and passion. These are the experiences that matter to you, and ultimately they will help shape your life. Take advantage of them because they are always great investments!
What does it mean to live a good life? How will you feel when you reach retirement? This video will help you with some ideas!
Experiences give you a new slant on life
Perhaps there is no better way to learn about worldly perspectives than traveling. Traveling is undeniably one of the greatest ways to experience different cultures and social norms. It is an education that you will never experience in a classroom no matter how many places you study.
Experiences are worth investing in because they teach you life lessons that you won’t acquire anywhere else. Traveling to new places teaches patience, acceptance, understanding, as well as organisational skills. Purchase tickets to the theatre, opera, cinema or musicals to expose your senses to the performing arts. Spend time at museums and exhibitions to uncover information from past historical time periods and view amazing art. Observe the sacrifice and commitment it takes to be an athlete by attending sporting events. Spending time in nature and with animals can be extremely meditative, uplifting and healing.
Develop a thirst for experiences that are meaningful and significant. Experiences do more than just merely endow you with facts and figures. They transform your life. They teach you how to be humble, virtuous, and compassionate. These lessons might be subtle at first, but they are a big reason why you spend your money on experiences.
Although we encourage our clients to seek out experiences, as stated earlier that doesn’t mean that we don’t value collecting things and some possessions such as buying a holiday home may allow you to live out some experiences that you will cherish.
Also this doesn’t mean that you take up any opportunity that comes your way; rather, invest the time to research and decide what experiences are right for you. What experiences are important to your well-being? In most cases you will know immediately, and the money you invest in them will be money well spent.
Go ahead and fill your life up with experiences. Many of them will cost you nothing. Some of them will be reasonably priced, and maybe some will be expensive from a financial standpoint, but rich with rewarding memories and life lessons. Always link these experiences with your passions and purpose if you desire complete satisfaction. You can always spend your money on more “stuff” with a limited amount of happiness, or you can invest in purposeful experiences that will contribute to a long-term feeling of joy and contentment.
Check out our bucket list for ideas on how to get you started.