Financial planning is about more than money

Financial planning, when done right, should give you the freedom to live the life you want.

Recently, I started watching a show called Where the Wild Men Are. It is a BBC documentary hosted by Ben Fogle. For 1 week, he lives with people that have moved out of mainstream life. Most of the people live in remote and often challenging locations.

Two of the people that he stayed with really struck a chord with me.

24 year old mother of one

The first was Annalisa, a 24 year old Italian mother of one. She had a normal Italian upbringing and topped the class in her first year at university. When she was 20 she decided that she wanted more out of life. Studying to get a job that would require her to work for 40 hours a week wasn’t for her. Instead, she moved around Europe and lived in the back of a van for a few years. At 22 she got pregnant, so she set up roots in a small cabin in a forest in Sweden.

She now spends her days gardening and enjoying life with her young child. Annalisa doesn’t get any government assistance, but instead goes busking. She said she can make around €300 in one day, which is enough to cover their bills for a whole month.

Successful sports coach

The second person was Nikola. At 36 years old, he was a successful and wealthy Olympic swimming and running coach. He had one of his athletes turned away from a qualifying event in 2014. This athlete was posting times that would have challenged the European record. However, she was not allowed to compete as she didn’t have the right sponsor.

Nikola was angry and disillusioned. Not so much at any one individual, but more at what the world was becoming. He made the decision to disengage from society. To do this, he bought a small plot of land in the hills of Croatia that cost about €10,000. He gave the rest of his money to his family and friends and moved to his plot of land with nothing but the clothes he was wearing and his dog.

Nikola has built a comfortable house and created a sustainable lifestyle for himself. While the locals didn’t warm to him at the start, he now volunteers his time and started a swimming club. His small club has produced a staggering 200 national swimming champions in three years. Pretty good when you consider there are only 5,000 people in the town.

Financial planning is about freedom

Annalisa and Nikola lead very different lives, but they both said something that I believe everyone should consider. They both said most people spend their whole life working and planning for the future, but forget about living in the now.

I strongly encourage everyone to plan for the future. However, I also encourage everyone to think about what you want your life to be like now. After all, there is no real satisfaction in having more money than you need in retirement if it means you haven’t enjoyed yourself along the way. My focus is giving my clients the confidence their finances are in order so that they have the freedom to live their life the way they want.

If you would like to discuss how we could help you have the freedom to do what you want and value, book a chat via the button below.

About the Author
Phil Harvey is an independent financial adviser. In 2017 Phil set up his company Construct Wealth to help clients best manage their finances so they focus on what is important to them. He is a founding member of the Profession of Independent Financial Advisers and a tax financial adviser, registered with the Tax Practitioners Board.

General Advice Warning
This advice contains general information. It may not be suitable to you because it does not consider your personal circumstances. Phil Harvey and Construct Wealth are authorised representatives of Independent Financial Advisers Australia (AFSL 464629)