Life – Colourful Chaos, Not Black And White. 

My wife and I have been busy. Firstly, we downsized and celebrated our fortieth wedding anniversary. There were old photos to laugh at and possessions to sort through. A host of memories, some great, some not so great. But the overwhelming sense is one of life being a random walk, rather than a carefully choreographed waltz. Plans, even the best ones, don’t always work out as you’d anticipated.  

“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward.” Wrote Soren Kierkegaard and looking back I discovered just how different my wife and I were. We have different tastes in music, domestic chores – she loves cooking, I like eating. I like wine, she doesn’t. I like nice cars; she just likes to get from A to B. Ruth is an incredibly gifted home maker. I was ambitious and all about my career spending twenty years commuting to London and travelling extensively. It’s easy to see our relationship as a collision of opposites. The fact it has survived for forty years is borderline miraculous. Looking back on the events and decisions that shaped our lives suggests an invisible plan and purpose being played out.

A friend of mine recently wrote a beautiful tribute to his mother who had just passed away. It mentioned the fact that life is not black and white or even shades of grey. He suggested life was more like a kaleidoscope where life’s circumstances, good and bad, were thrown together in what looks like chaos but ends up being something wildly colourful, extravagant, and joyous. I like that. It suggests the existence of hope and purpose in every episode in life. 

The pandemic has ensured everyday routines and future plans have been turned upside down and shaken up. It is no surprise that some people are re-evaluating their purpose in life. Daniel Wiltshire recently wrote about the dilemma some approaching retirement are facing right now. Many are reassessing things in light of the enforced homebased lifestyle and considering bringing forward their retirement plans in the hope of continuing this new pace of life. Sounds great. 

If our lifestyle could continue at a slower pace with more time at home with family why not pursue it? Retiring earlier than planned raises some key questions. Affordability for example. Leaving work to spend more time with family is best enjoyed without financial strain. Having sufficient resources is important, especially as by retiring early means living off income from capital for longer, requiring a stronger capital base.  

Our lifetime financial cashflow software is designed to answer the “How much do I need to retire early and still enjoy a comfortable lifestyle?” and “When could I run out of money if I do this?” questions. The acrostic GROW is helpful here: 

  • G requires defining the new goal
  • R is the reality check – is it possible? 
  • O is for options
  • W explores the What Where When Why Who and How questions

Our role is providing the answers, guiding you through the numbers and explaining the implications and setting out your options. Retirement is one of life’s most important decisions; it requires thoughtful planning and careful consideration. Simon has accrued twenty years of experience in answering those questions for clients. Each client’s situation may appear broadly similar, but in our experience is unique. As ever we are happy to talk.