Where can I find financial advice for 20 yr olds?
2017, Business Insider produced this great article about financial advice for 20 year olds. There are 2 simple elements to a great foundation for young people – save and don’t spend. Continue reading “What’s the best financial advice for a young person?”
How much does Christmas cost?
The chances are, all you can remember is that last year, your family Christmas cost a lot. You probably put a figure on it, guessing roughly – but hoping that it was nowhere near that amount. Here’s a really easy way to stay in control of your spending… Continue reading “The best way of budgeting for Christmas”
How did your travel plans for this year work out?
Reflecting back on your recent travels, journeys and holidays, how was it for you? Was it the tranquil, pleasurable experience you had hoped for, or did you experience challenges along the way? Did you embrace the moment, or just endure aspects of it?
Were you a tourist or a traveller?
What’s the difference between a tourist and a traveller?
Travellers tend to enjoy everything, embrace the moment, experience, wonder, not over prepare or over complicate, and focus on enjoying the here and now.
Tourists however, tend to want to tick things off their lists, have to be over prepared, everything planned to perfection, collecting photos for Facebragging and deeply concerned with telling everyone else what a great time they are having – sometimes, to the detriment of their own real enjoyment.
Doing it on the cheap
Similarly, if you have planned a wonderful holiday, are you tempted to lose some of the joy by travelling there on the cheap – budget accommodation, the cheapest transit, overnight journeys or inconvenient flight times?
Why ruin the whole point of your journey or holiday by saving perhaps 5% on the whole experience?
Take a £3,000 holiday, yet you scrimp and save on getting there – maybe a slightly cheaper option to return home overnight when your travel plans suddenly change (would an over-night hotel stay left you feeling fully refreshed for your return). By saving perhaps under £100 (3% on the overall cost) you put yourself to hours of discomfort and lack a sleep – yet the point of the holiday was to relax, enjoy experiences and feel good about yourself. The whole point of the experience has been compromised.
Life is very similar to the tourist/traveller analogy.
Are you just wading through this life, collecting badges, medals, things, almost like living in Pokemon? Or, do you embrace what comes your way, taking in the moment to enjoy everything around you, feeling grounded, experiencing something different?
Is it too much to stop, embrace, reflect and make the most of what is happening around you, taking your time, adapting plans, and enjoying the moment?
Memories are made of new experiences, and being a traveller in life. It is only by exploring the why – why you want to go somewhere, that you then start to look for the real meanings and qualities of your journey, and that, is what Financial Life Planning is all about – finding the point and the purpose – not just being a tourist in life.
Life is far more than just attaining or doing – it’s about enjoying the whole experience along the way.
Many children these days have everything, but have nothing. Everything they want, yet very little they need. Continue reading “How to give your children everything they need (not want)”
Why does my child want to play with the box and not the toy?
It seems, there is at least some logic as to why a 2 year old wants to play with the box a toy comes in more than the toy itself – exploration! Continue reading “Experiences or gifts – which is the most appreciated?”
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.
Do I need a bucket list?
There is far more to life than just having the traditional ‘bucket list’ – here is why…
Don’t just have a tick list of things to do
Take running a marathon, once that is done, do you stop running? Once you have had the holiday of a lifetime, do you stop holidaying, once you have built or developed the ideal house, do you become complacent about it? If you were to become a senior manager of where you worked, would the name badge be your goal? Look beyond the tangible things in life.
There are always reasons why you want to do things
Take running a marathon again, is it bragging rights you are after and to get a medal? To have a focus to keep you training to improve your overall fitness, or to push yourself to the max? Similarly, with travel, is visiting places just an opportunity to say ‘cross that one off your list Margaret’ or are the deeper experiences, memories, understanding and experiences to have? What would that ideal house give you, more than a big house to look at, but perhaps a haven a home, the space for your family to just be. Finally, achievement at work – is the name badge and title really all that matters, or is it that you inspire and lead continually, rather than just puff your chest out feeling important all of a sudden. Once you know the WHAT you want to do, ask yourself WHY you want to do it, and what if you didn’t do it.
The people in your life are also part of this
Your plan, your goals, your vision. That’s all great, focus is a wonderful thing, but not to the detriment of all of those around you. Training for a marathon requires a lot of compromise and balance with your family. The ideal holiday, has to be agreeable with everyone else, and then the key is not to lose sight that it is also their trip and experience as well. Just because it was on your list, does not mean that your view on what should happen is the only one which counts. The house – it’s again key to allow everyone to enjoy it, to find their own spaces, enjoyment, way of living. Overall it is a home, and one for people to feel safe and loved in, not just a pile of building materials. Pursuit of a career without recognition of everyone else leads to huge unhappiness in many families. Leaving home at 7am, returning at 6pm – really, what quality of life is that, and sometimes, it is easy to kid ourselves that we are doing it for everyone else. If you died today, guess what, your boss would replace you tomorrow! Always remember who will be by your bedside when you die.
The experience is fluid
It is great to have an idea, a vision of what it may be like, but remember, that is in your head – it is your reality, but not anyone else’s. A sub 4 hour marathon may need to become a 5 hour one, the holiday may be slightly, or even very different from what you had imagined, the house may not be a new one, but a renovations, a different location, anything could change – what if it is a red door instead of the blue one you had dreamed of? It’s just the portal to your haven – not the end of the world! What if you don’t become a director or senior manager of where you used to work, but rather found something very different elsewhere? Not the pin-striped suited meeting in a glass clad office, full of ego and materialism, but a real influencer, someone who made a difference – to others not just the owners bank balances? Go with the flow, like a river, the twists and turns often bring the most unexpected joy and happiness.
Ultimately, life, and your plan is an ongoing journey
Life is an ongoing development, change, adaption, and experience. Yes, of course it ends one day, but life as it is, is ongoing journey, something constantly changing. Take the marathon, maybe it is a shift to a healthier lifestyle which is the key, yes, the desire of a medal or running for 5 hours is the catalyst, but it is the shift which is the deeper aim. The travel may be to enjoy experiences, to enhance our understanding of the world, to create memories and to have happy times. Picking destinations is the catalyst. The house may be to create a safe haven a family hub, a place where you can all be together, and the career may well be to make a difference to others, which once we understand is not necessarily done with name badges, starts to release that attachment and ego. Life is not a list of achievements, it is a sense of feelings, of messages.
Life is who you are being along the way. So when you compile your bucket list, 101 places etc, start to look examine the reasons and feelings – that’s and is why working with a professional financial life planner is very different from just saying ‘cross that off your list Margaret’.
Is there a quick way to fix your finances?
Quick answer – no! Continue reading “The Quick Way to Fix Your Finances”
How could being made redundant affect my pension?
Just when you thought you had it all sorted, one of the few people to still be in a final salary pension scheme, a good salary, and making additional pension contributions, suddenly, it all goes wrong.
Redundancy sends you on a very different journey indeed.
However, being the diligent person, paying additional amounts into your pension, perhaps maximising your annual allowance of £40,000, the future looks ok, especially with the large redundancy lump sum you are going to be paid in the present tax year.
Then the tax regime comes tripping merrily in your direction : Continue reading “How could redundancy affect your pension?”