The bridge of wellbeing

I touched on the concept of wellbeing and financial planning in a previous post in 2015 and this is a subject that really interests me.

The aim of Lifestyle Financial Planning is to help you enjoy a good life (whatever that means to you), knowing you have sufficient money to support you. The key point here being “enjoy a good life” –  it must also address your wellbeing – it’s not just about having more money and possessions than the next person.

Last October I talked about wellbeing being much more than just physical or financial wellbeing, including career wellbeing, social wellbeing and community wellbeing. Any financial plan you make should consider and include all these things.

For anyone, your plan should start by establishing your goals and values and making your choices in life consistent with these. It should be for yourself – not for your money. So how can you do this?

This is where I revert to the Bridge of Wellbeing and it’s 3 pillars:

  1. Define and understand your values and goals;
  2. Deploy financial strategies that use your resources in a way that is consistent with your values and achieves your goals;
  3. Develop your personal investment strategy.

pillars

A solid financial plan is important for everyone to enjoy the life you choose to live. It doesn’t have to be complex or lengthy. But it’s sometimes hard to know where to start.

Here are some questions that may help to explore your goals and start to build your first pillar in the Bridge of Wellbeing.

  • What is your biggest achievement, and why?
  • What is your greatest fear in relation to your future?
  • What would you say motivates you most?
  • Where do you want to be in 5-10 years time, professionally, personally and financially?
  • What is the one personal goal you would like to achieve within the next year? what about 3-5 years?
  • What causes you stress?
  • If you had unlimited means, what’s the one thing you would like to do with your time that you are not doing today?
  • What are your hobbies? or what do you like to buy with your spare money?
  • What are the most important things that you and your family want to achieve in the future? How would you feel if your couldn’t achieve them? what are you prepared to give up now to achieve them?

Wellbeing, Lists and Financial Planning

This week I had dinner with a good friend and we talked about our week, work, life etc. She told me that she was feeling very stressed and like everything was a little out of control.

She’s working 10 hour days, learning a language one night a week, has some family stuff going on, is trying to eat well and still trying to exercise 3 times a week. The peak came last week when she had a melt down over finding time to buy a friend’s birthday gift, a task which normally she would relish and enjoy, but that was just too much on top of everything else. Sounds daft, but the small things to do on top of the big worries just sometimes get too much. I think everyone feels like this sometimes and I know I’ve been at this stage at some points in the last 18 months. You eventually realise that something HAS to change.

What is the point of running yourself ragged to get to the gym 3 times a week, if everything else is spiralling out of control, so you still feel stressed and ill?

For some people, it might not mean giving up the gym, it might mean saying no to a night out, or a change of job, alteration to your family life. Either way, I believe you have to be open to not trying to do everything when it all gets too much. You need to make a list and make priorities. You can always go back and do that thing again when you feel better.

My point is, our ‘wellbeing’ is not just physical wellbeing and nutrition – it’s so much more.  Many things have to work together for us to feel content, well and happy:

Career Wellbeing:- How we occupy our time each day and trying to ensure that we like it.

Social Wellbeing:- Having strong relationships and love in your life.

Financial Wellbeing:- Effectively managing your finances to reduce stress and increase security.

Physical Wellbeing:- having good health and enough energy to get things done on a daily basis.

Community Wellbeing: The sense of engagement and involvement you have with the area where you live and your ability to have a positive impact on the quality of your environment.

Of course, this leads nicely for me to the importance of having a Financial Planner to help with Financial Wellbeing!  But actually, all of these type of ‘wellbeing’ are linked.

If you can get your finances focused and organised and know what your strategy is for the future, then you can think about other elements much more clearly. Can you afford to change your job, reduce hours or work from home? Can you afford a gym closer to home or equipment at home? Can you take time off to ‘give back’ to a charity you want to help? Can you afford to take some time out with your family on holiday?

A personalised Financial Plan can help you get focused, organised and move on, knowing you have a sound plan in place so that you don’t need to worry about money, or at least know what you need to do to ensure you are on track for the future. That ticks one item off the list so you can move on to sorting the others.