Spring always evokes a strong sense of renewal. Dusting things off and looking ahead. Planning and organising. Sorting things out that we’ve been putting off. As we emerge from lockdown, planning for the year ahead has never felt more poignant. And with the start of a new tax year too, it’s all about new beginnings.
Whilst there’s much to look forward to, you might be finding it all a bit overwhelming. And you’re not alone. Plans have changed last year more times than we can count. Investment fluctuations have created many nail-biting moments. Our worlds have been turned upside down, and with it, our finances.
But amongst all the uncertainty, having a goal to focus on and a plan to hold on to, can help us feel more in control. Like running a business or running a marathon, having goals and a plan keeps us on track.
When there are up and downs or bumps in the road, we might make slight adjustments but it’s important to keep an eye on the long-term plan. And whilst many of us have specific revenue or salary goals, this doesn’t always translate into an overall financial goal. Even then, having a goal on its own isn’t enough. The plan is where all the magic happens.
Planning for the life you’d love
Lifestyle planning embraces the idea that our financial plans provide for the style of life we’d love. But in the world of cold hard numbers, talking about hopes and values and purpose can seem counter-intuitive. After all, our finances are entirely measurable and tangible. Whereas dreams are not.
But lifestyle planning can marry the two. It has the power to transform ‘hope’ into ‘how long’. And a ‘wish’ into ‘when’. Which helps transform dreams into reality.
Clarity and the bigger picture
Lifestyle planning normally starts with lots of big questions. Things you might not have even considered, especially if it’s far into the future. Like what you really want out of life. Where you’d like to live. How you’d like to spend your retirement. How long you’ll consider working. Whether you’d consider semi-retirement.
This process is essentially about clarity. It’s the moment you realise that the bigger house you wanted is actually less important than the travelling you’d like to do. Or that enjoying holidays with your grandchildren is more important than inheritance. Or that you’d love to carry on working one day per week even when you reach retirement. Ultimately, it’s about your values and the things that matter most to you.
Top Tips for getting the most out of lifestyle planning
1. Keep it simple
Start with what’s most important. You might have lots of goals but it’s important to reflect on absolute priorities. Try writing down your top 10 objectives for the immediate future, the mid-term and longer-term retirement. See if you can reduce the ten to five. Then try to narrow it down to your three absolute top priorities.
Another way to look at this is, if you only had a year left to live, what would you do with your time? It might sound rather extreme but this approach can really help identify what’s most important.
2. Get clear on your values
If you’re not clear on what your core values are, setting clear goals and priorities can be much harder.
Start by writing a list of principles or characteristics that you feel strongly about. Keep going until you’ve captured what’s important to you. Highlight the ones that stand out; the ones that feel exceptionally important. Then, taking this shortlist, try to pick just 5 things that you deem to be the most important values to live by.
How do the priorities set out in tip one align with these values? When you are crystal clear on your values, it becomes much easier to make decisions that align with what matters most.
3. Revisit lifestyle planning at least once a year
Inevitably, things change. Your overall goals may not change much but it’s important to revisit them reasonably often so that you know you’re on track and on plan.
Having a plan to focus on helps you feel in control, even when the unexpected happens. And let’s face it, this last year took us all by surprise.
Get in touch
Whether you’re excited about what’s ahead and raring to make new plans or feeling overwhelmed because priorities have changed, we’d love to help you realise your dreams.
Please get in touch and book a free lifestyle planning session to help you on your financial journey to post-Covid and beyond.