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A journey, not a destination

I hate the word retirement! It conjures up all kinds of images associated with the end of life. Couples with grey hair walking on a beach, golf, bowling, bingo… Traditionally, retirement is a set age in the future. It could be 60, 65, 67 or 70. The age doesn’t matter, but the mindset does. We save and save to get to that magical goal of not working. There’s nothing wrong with this, but what if we thought a little differently…

What if we focused on the journey instead? What if we focused on living our best life now and in the future? However, to do that, you need to know what’s important to you. Let us look at Maslows Hierarchy of Needs.

This is a theory in psychology regarding the needs of humans. Lots of people tends to focus on the bottom two levels; the basic needs of physiology and safety. I.e. we focus on getting more and more ‘things’.

Instead of focusing on expanding these levels, lets look at moving up the pyramid. The next two levels are psychological needs. Level three is all about family and close friends becoming more important. Having these close ties is important for your happiness and mental health. The current lock down has brought this sharply into focus with separation from parents, loved ones and close friends. Level four is esteem needs which is to do with feeling accomplished and having a level of self confidence. This may be tied to your work or something else.

The top level relates to self fulfilment. But what does this mean? This level is concerned with achieving potential and feeling fulfilled. How could this be achieved? As with everything else, this is highly personal. It could be a business you are building (or want to start), charity work, helping in your community or building something that makes you proud.

How does all of this relate to retirement being a journey? In order to live your best life, you need to establish what each of these levels means to you. Once that’s done, you can work your way up the hierarchy of needs. What’s included in each of these levels may change and evolve over time, meaning your journey may take unexpected turns.

You don’t need to give up work to start on this journey, but it may include stopping your current work at some point in the future. Once you know what’s important to you, you can live the life that gives you the best chance of achieving your goals and working your way to the top.

How does financial planning fit in with this? Money is quite often the fuel required to move up the levels. It enables goals to be met and major life changes to be made. By tying your financial planning to the things that are most important to you, you can ensure that you live your best life now, rather than at an arbitrary date in the future. This is what the very best financial planning does. It aligns your money with your goals and ensures your assets are efficiently helping you work up the your own hierarchy of needs.

If you know someone who would like to have a chat about aligning their money with their life goals, please do get in contact.