Hello again! I’m
writing this post from Bali, at a beautiful villa, where I’m currently lying in
the sun beside the pool with a cold beer. The sun is shining, the birds are
singing, the other birds are smiling… it’s fantastic. Are you suitably jealous
One thing is
for sure – I need to do this more often. And sitting here reminds me of an
article I read in the Guardian the other day - (I don’t read the Guardian
regularly, but I do from time to time just to get an idea of what’s going on
inside the heads of sanctimonious lefties while they sip their Arabica coffee
and nibble on a croissant) – about a palliative nurse who had recorded the most
common regrets of the dying.
morbid? Possibly. But also fascinating, in my opinion, and extremely thought
provoking. As the article says, there was no mention of more sex or bungee
jumps. The top five, apparently in this order, are:
<!--[if !supportLists]-->1.<!--[endif]-->I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to
myself, not the life others expected of me
<!--[if !supportLists]-->2.<!--[endif]-->I wish I hadn’t worked so hard
<!--[if !supportLists]-->3.<!--[endif]-->I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings
<!--[if !supportLists]-->4.<!--[endif]-->I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
<!--[if !supportLists]-->5.<!--[endif]-->I wish that I had let myself be happier
When you bear
in mind that these were extremely common responses from people who had led
extremely different lives, it starts to put some things into perspective.
I think it’s
very interesting that two of the top three involve regrets about self-honesty –
I think it’s very apparent that we live in a world where image, reputation, and
status occupy the thoughts of most people for a disproportionately large amount
of time. But where does it get you? Ultimately, not very far, apparently.
So does all
this have anything to do with finance? Not really. But at the risk of being
tenuous, number two on the list above is certainly resonating as I take another
sip of ice cold beer. How terrible would it be to spend your life working hard,
and not be rewarded with a lifestyle like this – on a consistent basis?
I for one
would hate to be forced to keep working, because I couldn’t afford to stop. And
I’d hate to be living a life that was anything less than wonderful, after all
that hard work. Wouldn’t you agree?
So what’s the
solution? Well, working harder wouldn’t really help, according to those about
to depart life as we know it. You need to enjoy life as you go, as best you can.
But for those fortunate enough to be earning more than they need to give them
the lifestyle they enjoy now, there’s a relatively straightforward solution.
Just save money…
simple, but the reality is that most people, particularly expatriates, simply
don’t save enough money. Think of it this way – what percentage of your adult
life do you want to spend working? When you’ve got that figure, what percentage
of your current earnings do you think you need to save for future use? The answer
is likely to be more than you’re currently saving.
If that figure
looks high, now consider that due to inflation, things will be a lot more
expensive in 10/20/30/40/50 years’ time than they are now. It’s absolutely
crucial that in addition to simply saving it, you get good advice to make sure
it’s both protected and growing.