May 18

Financial Maturity

Can you hear me mother? It’s an old English comedy line but a bit too close to how I have felt over the last few months. A sad rather pathetic Lancastrian comedian, no not me, George Formby would cry out the above line whenever life became too hectic or confusing!

The last few months, or rather the whole of 2010 to date, has passed in a blur! I have hardly digested my Christmas dinner and the Easter eggs have already been consumed! Next stop the scary world of FIFA, in June/July and before we know it will be Spring and Summer, and oh dear, another round of Christmas. It’s strange how time actually bares no relation to a clock, time has no rules and yet it can dictate our every action and then disappear, taking hours and days in what seems like seconds.

I meant to start playing the guitar a couple of years ago, actually it was 1980 so that’s thirty years ago and if I had made the effort I would by now be extremely competent and have a skill and natural pleasure for the rest of my life. But I didn’t do it, just as I failed to concentrate on paintings, writing and a whole lot of other skills and pleasures that just became lost in the days of work and repetition.

A good friend and colleague went to help organise the affairs of a deceased friend who was also a client of ours. He returned a little saddened after spending the whole day helping the family organise the final affairs. His concluding impression was that after all this man had done and after the long life he had lived all that was left was a small pile of papers and documents.

So if you get the chance to stop and think for one moment today, do so. Relax and slow down, look at where you are and realise that money, just like time, can wash through your fingers. Remember that we may soon be living for thirty years after we retire and calculate what that may mean to our lifestyle and financial needs.

Take the time to sit with a qualified and responsible advisor, work out the maximum not the minimum you can invest and put away. Plan for your future and remember that whatever you put off until tomorrow will no doubt be there to haunt you in the morning.

Our working lives are mostly repetitive and at times less than thrilling, but by being so they have the danger of sailing by, one day blending into the next. Don’t get caught out, plan now, act now and constantly review your position to ensure you have estimated your future needs.

George Formby may have played the fool, but he was an astute man and sensible investor, later in life when he was “leaning on a lamppost at the corner of the street he had more than enough put away to entertain that little lady he had walked through life with!

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