Financial mindfulness comes of (and with) age

PUBLISHED: 00:00 04 June 2020 | UPDATED: 10:23 11 June 2020

monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images/iStockphoto

monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images/iStockphoto


In an exclusive monthly column for Berkshire Life, Ian Howe of Druthers Financial Planning, Windsor, helps you achieve your goals.

If I may, what is it that is most important to you in life? It’s a question of only 11 words, but the answer, when you really reflect upon it, is one that you may have never really considered before and one that is likely to start an exciting, new and yet possibly daunting thought process.

Even before our current socially distanced times, most of us would prioritise our hopes and fears for our loved ones over the accumulation of material possessions. This is a significant shift that I have noticed over the last few years. 

In the recent past, people’s answer to ‘what is most important to you in life’ has evolved from the accumulation 
of holiday homes and sports cars to less obtuse and far more reflective answers often involving working not quite so hard for so long, more enriched experiences with family and friends, and making sure that my legacy helps those that I love most and reflects my values. 

It may be difficult at the moment to see many positives from the global pandemic, but I’ve noticed that even the most overtly materialistic folk that I meet are now realising that life isn’t about accumulating stuff for its own sake. It’s about the fact that we have one crack at this life; it is about each other and the richness of the experiences that we collectively create, share and remember. This is what makes us happy and gives our lives meaning; money merely facilitates this sense of wellness and purpose.

You may be perfectly comfortable mapping out what the many phases of your life look like, in terms of what it is you want to achieve, by when and with whom. If not, you might appreciate having a guide to help you through and facilitate this conversation – especially if you are in a relationship and have never had this discussion with each other before.  

Even if you are able to fully answer that ‘most important’ question on your own, the next, almost obvious question is: ‘Can you afford to pay for it?’ And: ‘Can you get there with the investments, resources and plans you have and anticipate having, before time ceases to be on your side?’

This is where the conversation can get really interesting and meaningful and where Financial Planning can guide you through the most emotional and vital of your deliberations.

The output of these discussions is typically your very own lifetime cashflow plan upon which to run your life. This 
may initially sound mundane, but it is life changing and will give you the knowledge, visibility, security and, ultimately, the ability to sleep soundly as you have a roadmap upon which to lead your life, knowing that your future life is achievable. But I’ll share this in more detail with you next month.

In the meantime, please don’t be too unsettled about the state of your future finances. It is okay to feel unnerved, indeed it’s human to do so, but do know that no matter how uncertain the world currently is, it will settle down… eventually.  

Unfortunately though, it is the nature of economic cycles that at some point our precariousness will be brought into focus once more with the next crisis, driven by a cocktail of health, economic, social, technological and political change. Regardless, this doesn’t alter the fact that to regularly plan out your future is to control what you can; there’s little point worrying about the stuff that you can’t.

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