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While you’re planning your future, don’t miss out on your present


This week has been one of the most difficult in my life. My very good friend Kevin, who I’ve known since my school days, died suddenly of a stroke, age 47.

Kevin and I were eight-year-old kids when we first met, running around on the school playground, kicking a ball and thinking we’d live forever.

And as beautiful as that image is when we’re growing up, many of us don’t ever lose that way of thinking. We still think we’ll live forever; we never really contemplate our own mortality.

Kevin understood this. He ran the Living Full project, which encouraged people to live life to the full.

You never expect your best friend to die so suddenly. You always expect to have another opportunity to catch up and tell them how you feel, or share your exciting plans, or hear their loving laughter. Now we’ll never have that second opportunity, and that can happen at any time to any of us.

True wealth

Life is not a continuum: precious time is running out for us all. Securing your future is essential, but so is enjoying the present moment. So few people ever actually achieve this balance, which I refer to as true wealth.

Because one day you will hug your last hug, kiss your last kiss and hear that voice for the very last time; but we never know when that last time will be. So live everyday as if it were the last time you will see that person and make your life wealthy with joys and pleasure in the process.

Being rich can be nice, but true wealth – which money can’t buy and death can’t take away – is figuring out what you really want to achieve in life and going for it. It’s in reach for us all… if we just decide what we want.

That’s easier said than done. All too often we’re in a rush to do the next thing: pick up the kids, clean the house, finish that project. We don’t take a moment to stop and talk, to return that call or enjoy the company of a loved one.

But when we miss enough moments in life, we miss life itself.

That’s why financial planning is not really about investments, savings and pensions. It’s about you, the person, the individual. It’s about what’s important to you about your life and what it is you want to achieve before your time runs out.

My clients don’t want more money. Sometimes they think they do, but nobody really wants more pieces of paper with pictures of deceased notables on them. They want what money can provide them: ultimately security and freedom.

The next time you fill your diary to ensure you’re busy, or you turn down an opportunity to connect with your family and friends, consider for a moment would you do that if you knew it was your last opportunity to be with them. Consider what true wealth is.

Kevin, I will always miss you and your laughter, and may your passion for Living Full live on in your memory.


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