“Connecting with our future self” is a potent process to enhance life today plus expand our experiences for the future. In this brief letter we’ll explore how to LOVE YOUR FUTURE SELF even in our investment and financial planning. Can anyone in the world take better care of your future than you can? So prepare to be transported …to the Future You!
Love your Future Self.
Hal Hershfield of UCLA has expanded what we know of connecting with our future self. You may recall the Freedom 55TM spots on TV, speaking to our younger years and introducing us to our future selves. This was way ahead of its time. It quickly motivated people to make personal financial decisions for a stronger and happier future. Hershfield has also confirmed what happens if this type of experience is missed.
We are so rooted in every-day life that most cannot see past next week, let alone age 50 or 85! When this occurs, investing for your future feels like a total loss – if as you met a stranger on the street and just gave it all away. Emotionally, or psychologically, getting someone to invest (if they aren’t connecting emotionally with their future) is like asking them to give their money to a stranger! And realize – the stranger is OURSELVES but at a future time period.
A picture may help! I tried the age-progression pictures but they’re awful, so imagine here we are seeing the same person at five different ages. If the child, the teen, the millennial, and even the boomer could see their future stages of development, why wouldn’t they prepare as best they could for future needs, comforts and enjoyment? As women and men, single or married, what choices would we make today (or how could we adapt our choices) if we know deep-down that WE GET THE RESULTS IN OUR OWN LIFETIME. Investing and even insuring yourself is an “intimate experience” because YOU and the ones dearest to you are your beneficiaries!
It’s like my question in our financial planning, “What’s most important to you today, also in two years, five years , and farther into your future?” We discuss your needs and goals, and shape a financial process to secure those goals. We’re connecting the dots from today to tomorrow. Your todays, and all your tomorrows!
Hershfield says, “People who are able to step outside of the here-and-now in a meaningful way are better able to see how the past, the present and the future are connected.”
Imagine yourself in ten or more years when a young person walks up and puts a bag of money in your hands. “Who was that?” you ask? It was you. It was you – today – putting money into your future.
We design current resources to give results you want “x” number of years in the future. Put yourself in the age-progression picture. We’re connecting you today, with the future you. The money is yours; it will just mean so much more when we optimize how money can serve you at every age.
How powerful is this? In a study of college students, those given a future-self-experience willingly gave 30% more savings for their future goals. I’ve seen this and greater results as we work with people in their 30s and 40s, 50s and 60s. No strangers! Our focus connects with the future YOU – for LIFE!
Hershfield cautions: “you don’t want to arrive in the future with absolutely no memories of anything good.” Your planning helps you enjoy “today” while also preparing your future lifestyle and wellbeing.
Impacting our life – Today and Future.
Consider how the following vignettes suggest the power of today’s choices – at any age – to impact our future.
- A young adult was struggling with debts and got a terrible glimpse of what it would be like in ten years, potentially bankrupt. She made the connection to her future self, and courageously cleared her debts and built a plan of investments and health insurance to guarantee money for her future. First goal is to buy a home – and she will. Momentum will continue then to more goals. And when retirement comes someday – whatever that may look like – she will be ready, financially and comfortably secure.
- At 50 years of age, a couple still has a mortgage and are paying tuition for two children. Amid current stresses they feel helpless. He says it’s a vice-grip. She calls it a treadmill. Together they despair of ever retiring. But then we offer some choices and tax-planning that can lighten their load and put happier colours into their future. They come to realize that their wealth over the next 10-15 years will grow exponentially and offer the retirement they so long to enjoy.
- Anyone at 65 or even 70 still aiming to keep the strength and stamina of 50? Most will experience some decline in capacities over time. Connecting with our future self is vital now. Maybe this means increasing our foreign travels and activities before our pace slows over the next 10-15 years. Our “Certified Life and Financial Plan” can often increase spending for early retirement, while still cushioning your future for comforts you will need later. In a conversation of inflation and future health costs a client told me, “when I need a home, or to bring care into my own home, I want it to be the best.” Even in her 80s she readily connected with the “future self” she would be at 90 or 95.
Making this connection for over 20 years!
Clients recall where they used to be and say in their own words: “If you hadn’t been our advisor, there’s no way we’d be where we are today.” I can just as easily turn this back to them, “If you hadn’t made the decisions along the way, you wouldn’t have reached where you are today.”
This is a personal experience for each of us – and it comes from the heart. It touches many dimensions of our planning, to create and sustain wealth, reduce tax, get Wills and Powers of Attorney, have family discussions of our future wishes .... In life and death, sickness and in health, each of us is intimately involved in our own future. Financial planning aligns wealth to your specific wishes and goals for all time to come.
The Letter; The Note: getting your own Picture.
In the big screen behind our eyelids we can imagine and describe how we may look and feel ten years into the future. If it helps you to do this, various web applications can slide your age forward but as mentioned above, I don’t prefer those pictures. Take a moment to ponder, what happens if you add 10, 15, 20 or more years?
Remember this is YOU …an image of ourselves at future points in time. Where will we be then? What activities, foods, experiences, travel, and companionship will feature in our lives at those future times? Relax as you do this, and perhaps consider a particular moment and write yourself a letter or a brief note.
Saying what? Whatever you like. How would speak to your future self? How can you describe what you’re doing today to provide more richly for your future? Even say how grateful you are for past lessons and experiences. While you do this, add a thought or two of how you expect to be enjoying life in a future time.
Be as free about this as you choose. Give your imagination complete freedom here. Give this as much positive energy and clear detail as you can muster.
If you’d like to share the results of this with me, we’ll find that this has a direct and dynamic effect on our planning. As we said above, our goal is to boost your enjoyment and purpose today and always. As an added bonus there is research to suggest that this kind of exercise can contribute to greater health and longevity.
I could outline how our “Life Income Mandates” offer the best insight for preserving wealth into the future. (See LIM.) Our specific use of investment and insurance planning aims to secure wealth for your future, your family, even philanthropy if you wish.
Let’s close simply by looking at your own hands today. As as you see the picture here, consider what age your hands are right now, and how do they compare with the hands you’ve had in the past, or the hands you’ll have in time to come? These are OUR HANDS.
We can each be grateful for what our hands have done for us in times past, giving to us the security and comfort we enjoy now. We can also look forward and commit to put a healthy measure of today’s resources into our future hands. Whatever changes can occur in life and the world around us, committing and connecting to our future self will help pave the way to greater results and comforts.
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