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I’ve never been a big one for jigsaws but I bought my two sons, Vito & Gio a couple of jigsaws for Christmas and they really enjoyed them even though jigsaws aren’t plugged in!

One thing’s for sure, spending time on a jigsaw and then finding out there’s a piece (or pieces) missing is really annoying, especially because you only ever find out near the end.

In many respects, a jigsaw is similar to how you plan for your future. You THINK you have all the pieces and you carry on as though it’s all going to work out… but you might get to the end and find there’s something missing.  Not good.

So what are the pieces you need to make sure this doesn’t happen to you?  Let’s take a look…

Be clear about what you want your future to look like.  I know this isn’t something that comes easily for a lot of us but, no matter what stage of life you’re at, think about:

  • How do I want to spend my time?
  • What places do I want to see?
  • What people do I want to spend more time with?
  • Are there things I’ve always wanted to do but haven’t?
  • How much time have I got left to do these things?
  • Could my life be more fulfilling?
  • Who are the important people in my life? Could I do more for them?
  • Am I fearful about doing things because I don’t know if I have enough?

The Numbers
Now then, do you think you can attach some numbers to some of this stuff?  Let’s say you’ve always wanted to have an extended stay in, say, Italy (my favourite country).  Could you work out what this might cost?

How about the cost of your lifestyle?  How you’re living your life today.  I know this seems a bit boring but, believe me, it amazes me how shocked many people are when they actually look at this and it’s not always a pleasant surprise!Perhaps you’d like to help out loved ones.  Much better to gift your money (if you have enough) with warm hands rather than cold hands.

Take a bit of time to do some work on this.  It will pay dividends, believe me!

Your Guaranteed Income
What guaranteed income are you receiving or are you going to receive in the future.  This will be things like annuity payments, the state pension and final salary pensions from work.  It’s income that won’t change, regardless of what happens in the financial markets.  It’s important income!

This guaranteed income will form the bedrock of your financial security.  It’s important to know what it is.

Any Gaps?
More often than not, there’s a gap between a person’s guaranteed income and the cost of the life they want to live.  It’s just one of those things.  What you need to do is see what other resources you have (money purchase pensions, savings, investments, etc.) you have.

These other resources will fill the gap.  But here’s the million dollar question: Is there enough to cover it?  Are your other resources going to run out before you do?  Well, to make them last longer, you can make sure they’re as low cost as is reasonable, well managed and tax-efficient.

Not Enough?
If you haven’t got enough, that’s not a great position but, surely, it’s better to know before it happens.  Surely, it’s better to know if the jigsaw has missing pieces well before you get to the end.  There could be things you can do to rectify the position.

Too Much?
If you die with too much money, there’s a good chance your loved ones will have tax to pay (inheritance tax).  This isn’t great when you consider you’ve been paying tax your whole life and then there’s another big chuck taken out at the end.

More importantly, though, if you die with too much money, what else could it mean?  Well, in my view, it could mean you didn’t do enough with your life even though you could have.  Did you miss out on any of those things I listed above?  Regrets?  Think about it.

Simple, But Not Easy!
I hope you can see that getting things in order isn’t hugely difficult but I certainly understand that it’s not something that comes naturally to us.  It’s something you may need some help and support with along the way, particularly when life decides to knock you in the knees when you didn’t see it coming.

Don’t get to the end and find there’s a piece missing.  Be clear about the end and that you’ve got things in place so you never have to worry.  It really could be a life changer!

Until next time…