4 ways to improve the view of your day

Do you ever wake up and just lack energy, motivation and start to sink under the burden of the day ahead, worrying about everything which may or may not happen, and looking at everything with dread?

Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s a virus – there are probably loads of labels or reasons you may add to justify it – but maybe, there is something far more positive you could do. Continue reading “4 ways to improve the view of your day”

Bullying doesn’t just happen in the playground…

I am sure you can recall with familiarity with the school bully. That person who you tried to cross the playground to avoid, yet they always seemed to come after you.

It is not just at school where we see bullies. Maybe the same sort of person carries that on into adulthood, or maybe, the bullied becomes the bully when they get a little power at work.  Continue reading “Bullying doesn’t just happen in the playground…”

Big Issues v Small Issues – which causes you the most upset?

The next time you have a major issue in your life, once you have dealt with the immediacy and handled what is essential and urgent, take a second to reflect on how you handled the situation. How did it work out for you, how well did you cope, function, and react to what was happening and what needed to be done.  The chances are – that you have handled something big and meaningful far better than a less significant issue – let’s have a look…

Dealing with a minor issue

Firstly, you are putting together a piece of flat packed furniture (not IKEA, as their stuff seems to go together really well), nothing seems to fit, a few screws get put in the wrong place, you have to rebuild it several times, you stand on (and burst) that little glue packet which is never any good, and gradually the situation builds to great annoyance and frustration. Tools fly across the room and everyone else in the household wisely stand well clear. Obviously a less than useful reaction to the challenge in hand.

Dealing with a major issue

Secondly, your child is ill, they call out to you in the middle of the night to find that they have vomited all over themselves, their bed, their floor, and are in quite a poorly state. Immediately you jump into autopilot, whatever is going on can be dealt with, and nothing phases you at all – wow, what a reaction.

Surely the big reaction should go with the big problem?

Take a step back, with a rational mind for a moment, what should be the toughest situation to deal with? A bit of flat packed furniture which will not quite go together, or a room covered in vomit and an ill child? Obviously, without any emotional attachment, as a snapshot, the DIY fiasco should be the easiest to cope with, but why is it not ?

Who is this problem really about?

Stand back and ask that question – I am making this all about me?

Take the ill child, the focus is on them, helping them, easing their woes, you dedicate yourself to others, serve them, and aim to make them feel comfortable.  Whilst the situation is not perhaps awfully savoury, that doesn’t seem to matter at all, you do what needs to be done.

Turning now to the DIY frustration, this is all about you, your failure, your frustration, your inability to complete the task. Anger towards the ‘useless instructions’ becomes a vent for your anger towards yourself, the annoyance also follows that path. You start to make up stories in your head, spiralling ever onwards into greater and greater anger.  It is all about you, and that is where the problem lies.

Is money the same as other emotional experiences?

Yes! In exactly the same way, decisions about money, investing and planning can also affect you in different ways.

Take an investment, if you can accept that the market is the market, and that no-one can predict the future, no clever fund manager can accurately time the markets, and that the person bragging about their ‘stellar performance’ will most likely be talking about a very short snapshot in time, then your investment journey will be far more peaceful (it is about someone or something else – the market not you).

On the flip side, trying to pick stocks, when to buy, when to sell and when to hold will lead you into the DIY avenue of frustration, anger and disappointment (now it is about you and your ego). Key to success is understanding that what happens just happens (that may not sound scientific, but it is true) in the markets, and that by sticking to a well thought out plan is wisest way not to lose money through emotional decisions.

Be it DIY, ill children, investment strategies or anything else which may cause you worry and anxiety, at Serenity we understand that it is about your whole life, not just the money. So remember, take a second to ask yourself ‘who is this about’. See if you are attaching stories to your own emotions and making them spiral out of control. It’s just about you, and most of it is made up anyway.

Together we can bring some Serenity to your life

What’s missing from financial planning?

Is financial planning just about numbers?

Anyone who has ever come into contact with a Serenity financial life planner will be more than aware of our passion for not just financial planning, but financial life planning.

Why is Financial Life Planning important?

That small four letter word ‘life’ may not seem that significant but it epitomises the whole point of all of us being here. The whole purpose of being on the planet is about life, and without that key element, perhaps there is no point, no purpose, and no logic.

In this article in Forbes, George Kinder, the founding father of Financial Life Planning explains the huge difference between financial planning and financial life planning.

What is the difference between Financial Planning and Financial Life Planning?

In short, one deals with people’s money, the other focuses on their lives and happiness first, then sets to work around the money part. In a way, it is comparing living to living life.

Surely investments and pensions matter most?

To quote one of our very great friends Andy Hart of Maven Adviser, ‘no adviser ever got a letter from a pension policy asking for help’.

Surely Financial Planning is no place for emotions

Emotion drives decisions, and decisions drive life, this is when we finally figure out that people’s emotions drive everything. To understand emotions, and ultimately our clients’ drivers through their lives, we need to listen to them, not project our opinions on how clever we think we are.

How does a Financial Life Planning relationship look?

It’s all about having a deep and meaningful relationship with our clients through their lives, not a synthetic relationship with their money for as long as it lasts. Without that deep relationship, we are just continually guessing at what may be best for our clients, guesses which may have a long term detrimental effect on their happiness.

Together we can bring some Serenity to your life

 

How can you improve someone’s day?

 

Isn’t just thinking nice thoughts good enough?

It is generally easy enough to think nice thoughts about other people (it is actually easiest to criticise, but that is a topic for another day).

You may have noticed over the years, that very few people are telepathic, they cannot read our minds.  If the FBI cannot find a source of telepathic people to be agents, it is unlikely that the people we  meet day to day will have such skills. Continue reading “How can you improve someone’s day?”

How to cope with the stress of money

How bad can the stress of money get?

Aside from low esteem, lack of self worth, depression, PTSD and suffering from workplace bullying, another key factor which led my friend Del to die by suicide in 2013 was the stress of the financial future.  Worried that his illness could cost him his job, he could see no way forwards, no way to protect and provide for his family, and no outlook which seemed possible.  Tragically, I only knew of this after he died.

Who is there to help?

Had Del sought professional financial help instead of suffering quietly, allowing the stories of worry to spin out of control, without doubt we could have found a way to change his perspective, and work together to build a way forward.  Instead, he came up with his own financial plan, to protect his family’s financial future by choosing to die by suicide, relieving his own suffering and in his eyes, helping them.

Picking up the pieces, and working with Del’s wife Nel, we have been able to help, to give her purpose, and to bring a little sparkle back into her eyes at times, and that is the most worthwhile aspect of being a financial life planner.

Where-ever you are,  here are 6 stressful money situations highlighted by Business Insider which may seem difficult to avoid, yet are never the end of the road – there is always a way forwards …

How to deal with a financial emergency 

If you do not have capital saved, make sure you have an emergency credit card to fall back on.  This is a temporary solution, but will give you enough time to seek proper advice, and make a plan to move forwards.

Worrying about buying a home

Here is a stress-pit of worry.  How much should you borrow? Should you borrow as much as possible? Should you use all your savings? What protection should you have?

The questions are endless, yet can be answered if some proper planning and modelling is carried out.

 

How much should I save for retirement?

No two people are the same, there is no magic number which fits everyone.

Only when you know what you would value in retirement, can you start to figure out what you may need money-wise.

This is the importance of financial life planning – an approach which puts your life at the centre of the plan, not the monetary values.  You may be surprised, the qualities in life which you want may not required huge sums of money at all.

 

When should I retire?

Just like above, no two people are the same.

If you have a range of plans and ideas which need you to be fit and healthy, maybe you need to retire sooner.  If you love what you do, but can start to find a great balance between that and leisure, then there may be no reason to rush into it.

Either way, discussing a planning it is essential.

 

How much money should I give my children?

It’s hard to say no, and at the same time, many of us would rather see our children not have to struggle.

Making it too easy may not be a good thing, but saving it all up until you die – that too has it’s own perils.

Whatever you do, by adopting a balanced plan, and sensible approach, you could be able to help your children along, and at the same time, helping them value what they are given.

Above all, don’t deprive yourself of the fun you deserve later in life (but also, don’t aim to be the richest person in the cemetery).

 

How can I help my parents with their finances?

One of the trickiest conversations of all is talking about your parent’s money.

Naturally cagey, they may not want to volunteer the information (and is is hard to not look as if you are interested in an inheritance, particularly if they are unwell). Bring siblings into the conversation, and start the discussions well ahead of time to figure out what sources may be available for long term care funding, and of course, what wishes they have.  In the same way that you want to enjoy your life, they should be focussing on their days being as comfortable as possible, not scrimping and saving and trying to get one over on the local authority by not paying for care (saving the fees, but ending up in a grotty care home).

What to do next?

By proper planning, and discussing these issues with a professional, there is a chance that many of the most stressful money situations can either be avoided, or at least eased.

Please, please do not let them spin out of control stories in your head.  Ask for help, get a reality check, and let someone guide you onwards.

Find someone who speaks your language, who keeps things simple, and are focussed on you.  Financial decisions are hard enough to make at the best of times, never mind when you have huge levels of stress and worry to cope with.