Recently, I bumped into a lovely client of ours. She’d just got back from holidaying on a Greek island with some friends, and so I asked if she’d had a good time. Of course she did, they had a brilliant time, but then she paused and said “I thought about you a lot whilst we were away!”
Well, I wasn’t sure what was coming next in all honesty. Just in case you may jump to the wrong conclusion; she’s 36 and very happily married. She runs a business and her husband, who’s ten years older, is in a great job. They’ve been clients of ours for about 3 years.
So, intrigued, we grabbed a coffee and she went on to say the following:
“Gary, we had a fantastic time, one of our best holidays yet. The food, villa, Greek people – it was all just magical. We went with our best friends and they too were wonderful. We’ve always been really close to them, and we all love really great holidays. We had lots of good chats and spoke about all manner of things. I suppose a bi-product of getting older and being in such wonderful surroundings is that inevitably, the conversation turns to the future and even retirement. Yet something seemed different this time!
To us, our friends were still talking like we had some 4 years ago; worrying about their future financial security, worrying about when (and if) they’ll ever be able to retire, worrying about how they’ll ever get out of the rat race in London. Worrying about how they are going to manage their aging parents, worrying about their own health too – and so the list went on. They were full of angst and definitely saw the holiday as a way to get away from the pressures of life.
…but we weren’t worrying about any of that on this holiday. We felt all of those things for the first 10 years of our marriage for sure, but decided to bite the bullet and invest in the help of professionals a few years ago. We’re not millionaires by any stretch of the imagination, but we have choices, and that’s priceless. We have no concerns about our financial security when we retire because Blue Sky has helped us sort out the Pension Transfers and invest that money accordingly. We know we will be able to retire, if we want to, at 45 and 55 because we took the bull by the horns and made a proper life plan – and are sticking to it! We don’t feel like we are in a rat race… far from it. We both work bloody hard but, after buying our ‘House of Dreams’ in Devon a few years ago and reshaping our working lives, this allows us to have a healthier, happier work/life balance, to such an extent, we actually enjoy every single day.
For me, part of the bigger plan when we started working with Blue Sky was to look at my business, consider our family commitments and really work towards creating a life we didn’t need a holiday from (that was one of my key phrases for over a year!). Gary, we’ve achieved it. I can’t tell you how incredible that feels. My husband still feels pressure from work, of course, and I definitely create my own pressures with the business, but with our Life Plan and Blue Sky’s help, we have so much to be thankful for and to look forward to.”
Music to my ears, as you can imagine. I didn’t ask for a testimonial, but this captured perfectly what we are about at Blue Sky; making a difference!
I went on to ask more about the friends – of course wondering whether we could help them find some peace of mind too. My client told me that, on the surface, her friends seem to have things sorted. They have good jobs, a flat on the outskirts of London, a nice car, great holidays and they enjoy the best social life London can offer. BUT, they have no plan. They spend what they earn without one eye on the future. They have no pensions and so, in their late forties, they find themselves using holidays as a form of escapism for what is essentially a terrifying prospect of being stuck, a slave to their employment for many years to come.
Wow, I didn’t expect this openness, but it was certainly very gratifying to hear. Naturally, it got me thinking. I’ve certainly seen many people in this situation, especially in very demanding jobs where they are time poor and consequently find themselves running ever faster on the ‘treadmill of life’.
A final word from our client “they are too far entrenched in instant gratification to see that they do have choices. I so want to help them be brave enough to see them.”
The key is to make time to plan but it requires a shift in mindset! It’s time to be brave.
Gary Neild B.Sc.Hons. DipIP PFA