Tim O'Rahilly Life Coaching

Posts Tagged ‘financial advice’

Mindful Monday: Maturity Rules!

Fifty-somethings are the new Middle-aged.

Many artists, writers and philosophers have been inspired by the human life cycle and have presented the various states from birth to death in their own way. One such was the Renaissance artist Titian, who 500 years ago painted his The Three Ages of Man.  Titian looked in allegorical terms at childhood, manhood and old age. This was a time when old age was all about approaching death, but that is no longer the case. I believe it’s time to reassess and to insert a new stage in between ‘manhood’ and old age.

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Fifty is the new middle-age. Just a decade ago, anyone entering their fifties might be thinking of slowing down. It was time to embrace the elasticated waist and the plaid slippers as you began the more sedate Autumn of your life. Things have moved on since then and our traditional view of old age needs to be challenged. The first stage has always about you as a child. The second is the stage of responsibility, with you as a parent. The third stage was usually about you as a grandparent with one foot in the grave.

Of course you may well have reached your fifties and become a grandparent. You could, however, just as easily be the parent of a pre-school child or of a bunch of teenagers. Alternatively the kids may have flown the nest, or they may even have done that and then returned home again. The cost of living, particularly the cost of accommodation, means that huge numbers of twenty-somethings continue to live at home depending on the Bank of Mum & Dad. Cultural changes mean that you may be in a long term relationship, but you are just as likely to be on your second or third marriage. You may have chosen the single life, or you could be back in the dating game.

The biggest changes to contemporary old age are longevity and improved health. With people now living to ages well in excess of eighty, that one foot has been pulled back out of the grave with the prospect of another thirty years or more still to come. Improvements in health and social care mean that we are fitter and healthier in our fifties and now much more in control of our own latter years.

Many fifty-somethings are starting new ventures. Not only are most still working, but this age group are the fastest growing group for new business start-ups. Even in these austere times, this extended employment leads to greater spending power too.

We are swamped with information about how to stay fit and healthy as we grow older, but since we are thinking in terms of mindfulness here, it is your mental well being that I want to look at. If the first stage of life was about you being a child and the second stage was you as a parent then I think the third stage must be about you being you.

Whatever else is going on in your life, whether it involves, work, family, partner, children or business, you now need to make time just for yourself. This starts with a taking good look at all the important areas of your life so that you can see which areas need some improvement. A great tool to help with this is the Wheel of Life which I have described in detail elsewhere. Whether or not you use the wheel you should divide your life up into some or all of the following areas: Work, finances, home, family, creativity, spirituality, health and fitness, relaxation, social life/friends, love and romance. Give each area a score out of ten so that you can highlight those areas that need development.

Don’t be scared to get help with any weak areas or challenges. Call on your GP, maybe access a life coach or therapist. If you have financial worries get expert help from an accountant or even one of the financial charities. If you have relationship challenges then try to sort them out before they become a serious problem.

Make sure that you build ‘me time’ into each and every day. Get back in touch with the real you or with the you that you always wanted to be. Whether you want to grow old gracefully or disgracefully, make sure that you are doing it on your own terms.

Wealth Health #5: Common Financial Personalities

How did you get on with the analysis of your financial personality last time? I promised that we would look at these personality types in more detail, so here goes:

If you scored mostly ‘1’ then you are: The Perfectionist

You have to be sure that you are always doing the right thing in the right way and at the right time. These are admirable qualities, but if you adopt a more flexible attitude you will be able to open up choices you may not have otherwise considered. Solid financial planning designed to meet your specific needs can help you towards a more prosperous and stable future, which should allow you a more free and relaxed view of life. “Watch out for being too insular and not considering enough options,” says Jo Roberts at NeedanAdvisor.com. “You could easily make the wrong decisions if you believe what the wrong person is saying. Get professional advice.”

Mostly 2: The Provider

The world would be a far better place if there were more people like you. There is almost nothing that you wouldn’t do to look after loved ones. Engage in some solid financial planning for your unique view of the world. This could not only help you achieve the things you want, but enable you to do even more for others. Be careful of an easy sale: “People know you would rather say yes than offend by saying no,” warns Roberts.

Mostly 3: The Achiever

Rely on your pragmatic streak a bit more when it comes to planning your financial future. Sound financial planning requires a patient and methodical approach if you want your money to work as hard for you as you have it. With your financial affairs sorted out you can concentrate on your hectic high-flying lifestyle. “Watch out that you don’t go for the latest must have opportunity,” Roberts adds. “Only speculate if you can afford to lose your investment.”

Mostly 4: The Maverick

The everyday world must seem terribly mundane and boring to someone like you. It’s great to have dreams, but focus some of your considerable creative energies on more mundane money matters. Mavericks run the risk of doing nothing because looking after money is boring. “If you don’t want to do it, pay someone else to do it for you,” says Roberts.

 

Mostly 5: The Analyst

It is not enough to know how to ensure that your money grows; you have to make the right decisions to allow it to do so in abundance and support you and your interests fully. “You invest reasonable amounts but not often because you spend all your time researching,” Colin Jackson, a financial adviser for Baronworth, reckons. “You want to make the sole decision on whether your investments will work, so you’ll probably head for anything linked to an index.”

Mostly 6: The Sceptic

Very little in life is certain. A well thought-through yet more adventurous investment may be worth considering. It could provide you with some of the much-needed security that is so central to your existence. “You probably take the free advice of at least half a dozen experts then disregard it and put your money in the building society,” says Jackson. Is it perhaps worth living a little more dangerously?

Mostly 7: The Adventurer

It must get very crowded in your house with so many people wanting to hang around someone as exciting and spontaneous as you. Some careful financial planning will let you enjoy life to the full, both now and in the future. “You won’t be interested in mainstream investment products for the bulk of your money but would look at something more ‘interesting’ with the potential for a greater return and risk,” Jackson says. You’ve probably crossed your fingers a lot.

Mostly 8: The Challenger

You are a natural leader with strength, resourcefulness and inner drive. But you can’t exercise total control over your environment and people around you. Taking a bit of advice from others may give you a wider perspective and enable you to improve your financial well-being. “Rather than having a portfolio of diversified assets, you will tend to have a collection of products that were good in the past,” Alex Pegley, from financial adviser Calculus, says. “You should arrange for a personalised portfolio, setting out clearly defined objectives and reasonable expectations.”

Mostly 9: The Deliberator

Money is very important to you, but your quest to achieve balance and avoid conflict could mean important decisions are delayed while you consider all the aspects. Don’t dither when it comes to your finances; take positive action for what life has in store. Pegley adds: “you tend to miss the boat and take up things too late. By hesitating, you’re unlikely to get enough money invested quickly enough to prepare for retirement, and investments could be overly cautious with restricted investment growth.

As I mentioned last time, no type is the right one or the wrong one. Pat Knightley, who devised this test, points out that we all have flashes of all of these traits, but one will be dominant, especially at times of stress, such as shopping on Christmas Eve in London’s Oxford Street. Knightley also says not to panic if you are not happy with the result. “If we always deal with our money in the same way, you will always get the same outcome. Take a step back, think through your approach and things may change.”

So far in this series we have hopefully increased your own financial awareness, analysed your financial reality, taken a close look at your beliefs and feelings about money and arrived at some indication of your financial personality. Now it is time to start your new financial journey. Next time we will consider setting financial goals.

Wealth Health #2: Financial Clarity

In this second part of my ‘Wealth Health’ series, I want to continue to focus on the reality of your financial situation. If you got through all the ‘Questions to Ask Yourself’ in Part 1, then you may have already started taking some action to clarify things. So much the better if you have!

Another way of looking at the reality of your personal finances might be to carry out a SWOT analysis of your current situation. For those who haven’t seen this before, it is a very common business planning tool which can be adapted to a wide variety of situations – including personal finances. SWOT = Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. In his book You and Your Money, Alvin Hall gives the following clear example:

STRENGTHS                                                    WEAKNESSES

Good spending habits                                        Bad spending habits

Knowledge of financial situation                          Emotions/thoughts (e.g. shame,  fear, anger)

Earning capacity                                               Lack of financial knowledge

 

OPPORTUNITIES                                             THREATS

Inheritance                                                      Lack of cash

Promotion                                                       Interest rate increases

Renegotiating Interest Payments                       Possible redundancy

 

This could be written into a grid of 4 boxes (2×2), or you could use the four headings written at the top of four pieces of paper and then add your own notes and ideas. Remember that as before, this exercise is for you alone, so be true to yourself when completing it.

While working through this task, you could start to ask yourself about your attitude to money and finances. What are your beliefs about money? This will be the subject of part 3, when we will look at some of your deeply-held beliefs and feelings regarding money.

In the meanwhile you can follow my tweets for tips, quotes and more questions regarding your personal or business finances. Be sure to also follow my #WealthWealth and #WedsWisdom hashtags!