When you sit back and daydream about the future, it’s unlikely that money is the first thing to cross your mind.
Indeed, it’s likely that the experiences you want to have, rather than the exact figure you want to earn, are what motivate you day to day.
The reality is, though, that pursuing amazing experiences in life means having enough money to pay for them. The cost of living crisis has made times tighter for many people in the UK, and even if you have plenty of wealth to sustain you, you could have found yourself doubting your future financial viability.
In fact, according to Aegon’s financial wellbeing index, 1 in 3 top earners still worry about money, despite having more than enough to provide for themselves and their families.
So, no matter your wealth circumstances, having a financial plan that helps you work towards your most treasured goals is extremely important.
Keep reading to find out how putting your goals first can help you form a financial plan that sticks.
Prioritising your happiness could help you figure out how much is “enough”
Money can’t buy happiness, but it can facilitate experiences that make you happy. So, before setting up a financial plan, it’s important to look inward and decide what would make you happiest in your life.
Sadly, Aegon’s financial wellbeing index reports that only 1 in 5 people are “very aware” of what makes their life enjoyable, and just 15% can name what makes their life meaningful.
To you, happiness could be defined by a number of things. When discussing what would make them happy in future, some of our clients have included:
Being able to help children and grandchildren onto the property ladder
Ticking off “bucket list” travel destinations
Retiring before they’re 60
Having time to take care of grandchildren
Volunteering for organisations they care about
Feeling less stressed overall.
Crucially, making your “happy list” is the first step towards figuring out what is “enough” for you.
There is no magic number that is perfect for everyone – calculating yours is about looking at your goals and using them to inform your financial plan.
Doing so could enable you to begin pursuing the things you desire without wondering if you can afford them.
Visualising your “happiest self” might make you a more disciplined saver
Once you’ve taken steps to prioritise your goals and have lined up your finances accordingly, you may find that you are more motivated to maintain the plans you’ve put in place.
Consider the famous 1972 Stanford “marshmallow test”, in which children were given the choice between eating one marshmallow now, or two marshmallows if they waited for a period of time.
Although initial results varied, this test exemplified the power of delayed gratification; those who waited were rewarded doubly for their patience. But without being able to visualise a specific reward – your “financial marshmallow”, as it were – it can be easy to give up on the financial goals you set.
That’s where centralising happiness comes in. Not only can this method of financial planning help you to understand and pursue what matters most to you, but it can actually make you more likely to achieve what you set out to do.
As reported by Aegon, research shows that the stronger a person’s vision of their future self is, the lower their debt-to-income ratio is likely to be. The more you connect to your future self, the quicker you might realise that you’re creating that future in the present day, and may be more financially proactive as a result.
So, visualising your happiest self is not just a thought exercise; it can actually improve delayed gratification and motivate you to follow your financial plan.
Holistic financial planning can enable you to put your happiness first
The financial planning profession is witnessing a sea change – and for good reason.
In a more old-fashioned model of working, a planner might have sat down with a new client and discussed projections, income, investment returns, and legacy planning first.
In today’s world, though, financial planners are beginning to realise that starting with the numbers could alienate the individuals we work with.
That’s why today’s method of financial planning is far more holistic. While we’re fully qualified to discuss all the above topics in detail – getting into the nitty gritty is an important part of what we do – as our client, you are encouraged to put your family, your goals, and your happiness at the centre of the conversation.
Ultimately, money can’t buy happiness, but it can certainly give you the confidence and security to pursue what you want the most.
To begin striving for a happier future through goals-first financial planning, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0208 882 2979 for more information.
This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.