One privilege of working with clients as they face up to the reality of living longer is being able to share the emotional journey they travel. Core to understanding living longer is accepting that none of us are Peter Pan and that inevitably, every life journey will have an end. Accept this and you realise it is what you do now that’s important. There is no merit in passing the ‘finish line’ with:
- A bank balance bulging with cash destine for the Chancellor’s coffers
- a pristine bucket-list unadulterated by crossings off
- a ‘disqualification’ for finishing early because ‘you couldn’t be bothered to look after your health’
- outdated and broken possessions swamping you ‘because they might be useful one day’
- No friends there because you let everyone ‘drift away’
- Relief because you long since gave up trying to understand the world around you
Yet ‘doing something’ is difficult. It requires though and action; taking risks and making an effort, and sometimes that seems like too much hard work. It’s so much easier to keep your head down, accept you lot and shuffle from day to day.
One firm of financial advisors I have worked with report that, despite spending a small fortune identifying the right clients, 80% of prospective clients who they know will benefit from their advice decide to do nothing. Knowing this The UK government expects, over the next 30 years, to receive in excess of 500 billion pounds from a ‘voluntary’ tax called Inheritance tax. Volunteers (those who choose to pay by doing nothing) can easily avoid paying, but need to act decisively and act early – currently seven years before you die.
But it’s not just about money, the same is true of health, loneliness, hoarding, boredom etc.
Being with people as they make this journey is exhilarating. Talking them through the global trends that affect us all, seeing their expectations of life change, exploring options, learning what is important, how to measure it and how to change it; then moving to action – making plans and sharing their trepidation and excitement and they take life changing decisions – that’s a privilege.