Although part of a full financial planning process involves looking at the role of your insurances in achieving your goals this is NOT what I want to talk about today. I also don’t want to talk about how mis-managing your money can cause you stress and affect your health (When I googled health and financial planning ALL the articles that came up – in three different searches were about this topic.)
I want to discuss how your goals and dreams can get derailed, even if you do have enough money, if something happens to your health.
Financial Planning is about more than money. It is about how you live your life, how you achieve your goals and about being able to sleep at night. But it is also about balancing up the future with the present.
The quality of your health can have a huge impact on your money and how it can work for you.
During the first 2 months of 2018, in a number of my annual review meetings, I have spent a lot of time with clients reviewing their goals and the funding of achieving those goals based on what has happened to one or more of my clients health.
Some examples of this from a 3 week period of meeting are:(names changed):
- Geraldine (63) – A very fit, active, lithe, professionally successful woman reviewing the financial impact of whether she can afford to have an early retirement as a result of a cancer scare.
- Hermione (76) – We worked together on an extensive analysis of the financial impact of moving to a retirement village to ensure adequate care was available for her older husband with dementia.
- India (69) – Discussions about the impact of a sudden onset (and no confirmed diagnosis) of limited lung capacity and the impact on the long dreamed of and worked towards travel with her husband.
- Jeff (58) – working with his insurer to claim on his income protection insurance, trauma and total and disablement insurance cover as a consequence of his advanced Parkinson’s Disease which led to an earlier than anticipated medical retirement from work.
- Katherine (55) – Our discussions include an extensive analysis of the options of where she is going to live in the future, taking into account the possibilities of urgent medical evacuation if she suffered another sudden life threatening attack from her Addison’s disease.
- Leanne (66) – Having just retired, her financial planning includes consideration of the extent to which she can travel in retirement, having suffered from several lung embolisms and other health conditions prior to retirement.
- Marilyn (54) – Discussions about the future options of downsizing from the current home in a major city and freeing up capital because of her husband’s potential health issues, which mean that the amount of life insurance cover on him would not be enough to support her and the children if he was to die.
You may have heard me say that I am going to keep working until I am aged 80 as I love what I do as a financial planner. But that three week period was very sobering for me. Illness or injury can strike suddenly and can derail your plans and dreams, and what is financial planning about if not your plans and dreams?
I am fortunate that both of my parents are still alive (at 78 and 76), and that my Dad is still working (pretty much full time) as a structural engineer because he loves his work.
But I am also aware that being healthy as you get older is something that you need to work at and can’t be taken for granted. Being healthy isn’t necessarily about giving up everything and not having any pleasures, but it is about balance.
My birthday present to myself when I turned 50 was to have a fitness trainer twice a week. Although I love exercise, I am very skilled at sitting down and focusing on my work, getting distracted and not actually getting the exercise in. So, knowing myself, I organised to have a trainer who comes to me twice a week at 6.30am, so that I have no excuses. Four years later it is still working well.
Health is not just about exercise, stopping smoking and eating well, it is also about mental health.
Mental health and agility can range from making sure that you have ‘me time’, to having a trusted life coach to help with those niggling things that you can’t seem to breakthrough on your own, to indulging in yoga, having a regular massage, giving your brain some down time. On the other hand, as you get older, you need to make sure that you use your brain as much as possible to make sure that it remembers what it’s job is!
In summary, remember that life is a balance. You need to tick some of those things off your list along the way, instead of saving them all for ‘the future’, but of course you need to make sure that you have funds put aside for the future as well to make sure that you are able to enjoy life when you stop earning an income.
After three years of building our dream home, moving towns, renovating another house and restructuring Moneyworks, we are taking our own advice, and heading away for a 6 week cycling tour through Europe. The first time either Peter or I have been to Italy, Germany, Australia, Hungary – so it will be a real experience.
I encourage you to do two things – focus on keeping physically and mentally healthy as well as balancing your experiences now while saving for your future. If you think you are ready to create your financial plan, contact us to arrange a time to meet, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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By Carey Church