Can you look at your future-self without seeing a total stranger? Scientifically it is proven that people are so rooted in “today” that making decisions for future wealth can feel like giving money away to a total stranger. Take one of the people pictured below. If you give them a mirror they see themselves today. But with face-aging software to see how they may look in twenty years, they feel more eager about protecting their future-self. Connecting more intimately to the future they will make healthier choices around eating, sleeping, studies or other mental stimulation, reducing stress, delaying unnecessary purchases. Also they save more, reduce debt, pay less tax, and invest to own a bigger nest egg in their future.
It’s not the picture alone that does this, but seeing this helps them connect more intimately with their future self. They become more self-aware and protective for their future. As a result they can reach dreams and goals more quickly, and continue to enjoy their desired lifestyle.
Wealth and Financial Freedom as Life Moves Forward.
This connects vitally your financial plan. We invest valuable time to show how money grows and flows in and through your years: working, retiring, travelling, aging, and then to your estate. Yet some clients put the plan away until we bring it to their attention. That’s actually why many advisors stopped preparing financial plans, because people were ignoring them: like a compass buried and hidden in a dresser drawer.
Our team remains committed to your life-and-financial planning. This is not just for you but also for us, to ensure we stay on track in preparing for your future. As you can imagine, this works best if we’re reviewing your plan regularly (twice a year?) and updating whenever changes arise for you. Have I piqued your interest to re-open your financial plan? Absolutely do. Or if it’s filed it away simply ask me for our most recent working copy.
Now the real question: can you identify with the person whose name is on the front of your financial plan? It is your plan – no one else’s. I usually have a picture of you on the front – that’s you! On pages 2 and 3 you see our focus on key questions that are unique to you such as: if we are sitting here three years or more from now, how will we know we we’re on track and are achieving the results you need and want? A similar question can be: What’s most important to you about your life and your money, now and over the years ahead? These questions are like a compass, guiding us to the future results you get to enjoy.
So yes, can you identify with yourself at a different age? Imagine a picture of when we were young; is it you? Do you feel a connection? Can you hug and appreciate that younger self? Absolutely I hope you can. And now a picture of your future self: can you feel a similar connection? This is even more vital. Can you plan and invest today for your future, given the life you want to enjoy, the kind of home you’ll be living in, the people you’ll have around you, the comfort, activities, services, travel, and reduced stresses, and greater ease and security in life … all these things (in your own words) … as you personally picture your future self?
At 25 it may be a shock to put a selfie into age-progression and see yourself at 45. At that age the shock won’t kill you. Ponder what you want for your life at 45 and beyond. How can you prepare a stronger and more abundant life for your future? What are the top three decisions or practices you can use now to expand your life each to 45 and always?
It’s similar also when starting at 35, 45, 55. Mindful imagination (or a face-aging app) can help “introduce you” to the self you’re becoming. It’s like time-travel, going to a future time and putting into your older hands the money and resources to best enjoy your life at every future time.
Let’s say you want to put $1 Million or more into your lap at age 60, along with a home that is fully paid for. So when you’ve told me you want to retire at 55, or 60 (or some say 75?) and you want to expand your freedom to travel and enjoy life and personal independence through all the years … that’s what we record in your plan and this drives our strategies to reach your goals.
I haven’t used the face-aging app myself but I’ve gained profound insights by working, all my adult years in two careers, serving people of all ages and generations. This experience gives me a unique window on the freedoms or fears that follow our financial behaviours. One might also wonder if the face-aging app ever fades white – as we pass on from retirement and the estate is settled into the hands of family and final gifts.
Would you consider a face-aging selfie? If not you can still actively and mindfully ponder your future. Take time to nurture a trusting bond with your future self. Consider what will be your greatest wishes, hopes, and needs when the mirror reflects more years gone by. How do you want to be living then? Let’s fill out the picture – your life and happiness – as this is at the very centre of our financial preparation for every age and stage, all seasons to come.
Further note from last month: no recession in view.
I’ve enjoyed questions you shared since my October letter and briefly I can share a bit of further insight.
Actually, manufacturing has already been in recession but it touches only 11% of our economy so the impact is muted. Canada’s energy sector remains depressed too since five years ago, along with office space in Calgary and Edmonton. If inflation, unemployment, and interest rates were all rising, and if consumers pulled back their spending, North America could easily tip into recession. But such is not the case. Employment is strong, inflation is tame, interest rates remain at historic lows, and consumers are still spending. More of today’s economy reflects “services” which continue strongly. Overall therefore we are not in recession. To repeat: no recession is likely while interest rates and inflation stay low, consumer spending and employment remain high.
A century ago the world was largely agrarian, in recession half the time. Farmers were at the mercy of weather, markets, interest rates, pests and diseases among their crops. Failure was frequent – hunger was always a risk. Half the time back then, our world was in recession. Sometimes very deeply, on occasion for five or ten years in succession.
Our world is vastly different today. Agriculture was 90% of the 1800s economy. Manufacturing became 30% of the 1950s economy. Services now are over 75% of our 2019 economy. These shifts have noticeably smoothed the business cycle, even to re-inflate and prolong growth. Recessions now occur near 1/10th of the time, and have become more modest (except periods starting in 1929 and 2008). What we see for the year ahead is continued modest growth. Perhaps we can expand this thought over the next couple of months as we edge into 2020.
Share with a friend …
Two-thirds of the people you know wish they were more financially successful. Maybe this letter could encourage them. As you feel suitable please share this letter, or other articles of this website … or simply connect us so we can chat by phone or meet in person. We are grateful when you introduce our services because then you and we can help others enjoy greater comfort, security, and financial wellbeing for Life!
Yours in Financial Security for LIFE!
Brian Weatherdon, MA, CFP, CLU, CPCA. 905-637-3500
627 Guelph Line, Burlington, Ont. L7R 3M7. 1-877-937-3500
Author: A Lifetime Of Wealth — And How Not To Lose It (2013). Protecting Life, Loved Ones, and Future Dreams (2013). Your Business, Your Retirement: Halton Retirement Study (2015).
** This monthly letter touches on key strategies in Canadian and global investing and financial planning. This letter is not an offer to sell any kind of security, insurance, or program. Historical returns and risk measures are not a valid guide to future performance. Returns are from publicly available sources and research from a variety of firms including but not limited to GLC, RBC, CIBC, Mackenzie, Franklin Templeton. Opinions reflected in this letter belong solely to the author and no other body is responsible for the content expressed here. We value opportunity to consult alongside your legal and accounting firms to advance your financial security and unique goals. We are grateful always to receive your comments and questions.