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Money can’t buy happiness but it can make being miserable a whole lot more tolerable.

Believe it or not, we aren't here to make millionaires of people even if we were able to. Nor is our role to provide specific or individual financial advice.

However, you can either look at money as a way of achieving freedom and independence or as a great worry that you just cannot or will not get your head around. We want to steer a course through these extremes and, in so doing, just give in my primers some insights into the world of personal financial planning and management. With that, we hope, you can live life to the full and get on with being in your prime.

50 to 70 is a very interesting time in terms of personal finance and it contrasts very greatly with other periods of life, even if the path we are on is smooth and straightforward. Where life is further complicated or thrown off course by such things as illness, divorce, bereavement, redundancy and so on, then there are even more issues to throw into the melting pot. However, as with most things, if we try and grasp the basics first and understand them, then we can have some chance of grappling with the detail.  

Generating and growing resources

The first point to remember is that, unless somebody knows something we don’t, we all enter the world with nothing and we leave with nothing. In the interim, we obtain amounts of money or wealth and we ultimately dispose of it. How much we obtain and how we dispose of it and for what purpose is what it’s all about.

Assuming that we don't obtain large chunks of money in our early years through being blessed with good fortune, then most of us spend that time growing up and then working and slowly building up resources of our own. Generally, the needs of everyday living mean that generating a surplus is a very slow process, especially if we have a mortgage, a family and possibly a pension to provide for.

However, gradually over time, things ease up slightly. Hopefully, our careers progress, our salary increases and our outgoings don't seem to be taking up such a huge proportion of our income. At long last we've built up our stock of material possessions, furniture, car, and so on. Although education may still be costing us, perhaps there are two incomes coming in. And so slowly we start to have a small surplus.

Planning for the future

We are now into our forties. We may choose to spend our money on lavish holidays, or we may start tucking some away for the future - but the choice starts to be ours. We are now moving into the realm of real financial planning and lifestyle choices. We are saving and increasing our wealth, bigger house, smaller mortgage, pension plan, shares etc.

However, there will come a time at which we are likely to peak in terms of the accumulation of wealth, possibly with retirement, and we will start to ease down and use up the wealth that we have worked so hard for. So we must plan for that day. We are now in in my prime territory. But at what age should we make that decision?

Maybe we are not ready to ease off? Are we in a position to have the financial freedom to make that decision? What has happened to our personal and domestic circumstances over the years? Has our life been disrupted in ways we didn’t anticipate? What is our health like? What are our employment prospects?

Taking control

The variables seem endless and unknown. And probably they are. But we can certainly focus and home in on some of the key issues. Or possibly, even better, we can organise our lifestyle and our finances in such a way that we can keep our options open for as long as possible. Then we are in control. And that is what we are going to try to achieve, bit by bit.






Further information

View our factsheets by clicking on the titles below:

Inflation - why we must stop it creeping up on us

Managing your finances

Retirement planning in uncertain times

Other sources of help and advice:







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