If you were to die tomorrow, would you have any regrets? Yes? Then it’s time to take matters into your own hands and change your life! What can you do to live your best life NOW?
Whilst it’s important to live in the present moment, (the benefits of it are unquestionable!) today’s episode is of a more reflective nature. We’re looking at two sides of the same coin, and asking you to engage DEEPLY with the conversations of both your future and your death.
There are four questions that I ask all of my financial clients, the answers of which can provide great insight into why you do what you do, and ultimately assist you as you change your life in a deep and meaningful way.
[2.22] The four questions I ask all my financial clients:
- If you had all the money in the world what would a year look like, a month and a week?
- If you had the same amount of money you have now and you had 6 months to live, what would you do?
- If you were to die tomorrow, what would you regret?
- When you think about retirement, how do you spend your day? Week? Month? Or year?
[3.03] The lessons I’ve learnt from asking these four questions:
- How little we talk to our partners about the REAL stuff – dreams, goals, what’s important and how we want to retire.
- How many of our thoughts of the future are influenced by long-held beliefs that we’ve absorbed from the world out there.
- How unprepared people are for death.
To utilise these tools to change your life: reflect deeply and honestly on them; don’t wait until you retire to live your dreams; own your OWN vision of your future; and ask yourself (more for the loved ones you leave behind than for yourself), ‘What happens when I die?’
Related posts and articles
- Protecting the lifestyle you’ve worked hard to achieve.
- Living your future now.
- Five steps to kicking that bucket list.
- Do you deserve to retire well?
- The secret to radical step-change.
- Talking to your partner about money with Dr Abby Medcalf.
- Can we really live our best life?
Quotes from this episode
‘I believe that the best way to get something done is to invest money that burns your pocket in the RIGHT education and the RIGHT accountability partners’
‘It is said that people who have a clear vision of their future of more than eight years ahead have WAY more saved than those who don’t’
Lisa Linfield: 00:21 Hello everybody and welcome to today’s episode of Working Women’s Wealth. This week has been one of those strange weeks. I think I’ve been feeling slightly under the weather health wise. I caught my husband’s bug, but I guess that what that meant was that my energy levels were quite low. And then a combination of two events left me deeply thinking on this one thing that can change our lives.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m writing a book at the moment on how you can be truly free if you’re brave. I hired a book coach because as I mentioned in episode 77, I believe that the best way to get something done is to invest money that burns your pocket in the right education and the right accountability partners. When you do that, you get things done.
In my group is a man from Ireland living in New York who had a near death experience and is writing a book on living life now in the context of nearly losing everything. He’s an amazing human and in the evolution of his book there has been so much that I have learned from him.
Yesterday I met with retired clients of mine whose 45 year old niece has terminal cancer. She’s currently overseas with her daughter and brother saying goodbye to them because she has just a few months to live. It’s got me thinking about what I can do to live my best life now by thinking deeply about what would happen if I died.
With my financial clients, I ask them to answer four questions before we even vaguely start their financial plan. If they are married or in a longterm partnership, I ask them to do it completely separately before sharing with each other or with me while they’re together. These questions are number one, if you had all the money in the world, what would a year look like, a month and a week? If you had the same amount of money you have now but were given six months to live, what would you do? Thirdly, if you were to die tomorrow, what would you regret? And lastly, when you think about retirement, how do you spend your day, week, month, or year?
Over time the answers to these four questions from many people have provided me such great insights about all of us and the way we think. The first lesson I have learned is how little we talk to our partners about the real stuff in life. You know, things like our dreams, our goals, what’s important and how we want to retire. I ask these couples to complete their answers separately and when they share them, there is so often that sense of, “Really? You want to do that? You’d regret this. Why didn’t I know about any of this?” And so often the answers to the questions are things that they can do now, that they don’t have to look to some distant future in order to be able to do it.
It’s said that people who have a clear vision of their future of more than eight years ahead have way more saved than those who don’t. The reason for this is that they know why they’re making sacrifices now, so saving now for a fun future doesn’t seem so hard. You see, if you want to paint when you’re retired, why not start now by taking the classes that force you to carve out one night a week just for you to do the thing your soul deeply wants to do? You can do these things now, you don’t have to wait for your soul to be fulfilled just because you aren’t retired. If you’re wanting to go visit an amazing place, start saving a little extra now so you can do it in five years time. Why wait for retirement?
What’s really funny about people is how often their partners don’t actually know that they don’t really like their vacation spots that they’ve been going to for the last however many years. And that’s because they have been going along because they believe that it’s good for the family.
The second thing I’ve learned is how many of our thoughts of the future are influenced by long held beliefs that we’ve absorbed from the world out there. When I question people as to why they said something or what made them want to do X, Y, Z, so often the answer is, “Because my parents did it.” Or, “In actual fact, that’s what my ex wanted.” So when I ask them, “Well, what do you want?” They struggle to come up with an answer.
Over the last three years as I’ve intensified my journey through Working Women’s Wealth, I’ve come to realize how many of our beliefs, how much of our identity and what a huge impact on our vision of the future the world out there has. We subconsciously are a passenger in life when we absorb everything from out there. We all need to question our assumptions more often. Ask ourselves, “What makes me think that? Why am I assuming that?” And do the five whiskeys and a Heineken test on each of our thoughts. Remember that from a few episodes ago, when we ask five whys and a how and we keep asking it five times until we come to what is the deep and true answer, the real reason rather than the good reason we keep fixating on. We may come to the exact same answer after thinking deeply about it.
For example, we too genuinely want to retire to a farm, but at least we know it’s our desire for our reasons and not something that we’ve absorbed from the world out there. Only when we own our future, when we’re driving our thoughts, can we truly live our best life. Not the best life of our friends, not the best life of our parents or our family or our exes, but ours. Make that conscious decision of what your choices are.
The last thing that comes through is how unprepared people are for death. One of the common responses to the question, “If you were to die tomorrow, what would you regret?” Is that people will regret that their affairs are not in order. The challenge with that is that whilst we all think we have a ton of time, it is so random that our time could in fact come tomorrow.
When I do wills and life insurance for people, one of the things I do is tell them, “Imagine your wife has just learned you’ve died. She’s reeling from the impact of losing the love of her life. Now what happens?” And after we’ve had that discussion, we then go into the kids and I say, “Now imagine that your kids have just lost both their parents in a car crash. Now what happens? Where are the wills kept? Who knows it’s there? How will they get access to cash tomorrow to put money in the car? Bearing in mind that joint accounts and accounts for dead people are frozen, who will your kids live with? How physically will they fit into that house? Do the guardians know that you’ve appointed them guardian and how will you finance your kids’ future living with those guardians?”
When I look at these three lessons, it makes me so passionate that we all engage deeply with the subject of our futures and our death. Whilst I know the conversations about our futures can be fun and John and I love talking about our future, I also know that the conversations about death can be, well, yuck, but not having that conversation can be so much worse. We truly can make deep, meaningful changes to our lives now if we each answer those four questions following lots of reflective time.
So here they are again. If you had all the money in the world, what would a year look like, a month and a week? If you had the same amount of money you have now, but were given six months to live, what would you do? If you were to die tomorrow, what would you regret? And when you think about retirement, how do you spend your day, week, month or year?
If you’re wanting to make change stick, go over to my free download on workingwomenswealth.com and in the show notes of this episode you will be able to find an ebook and worksheet that you can work through. It summarizes my learnings from the past 100 episodes on how to make change stick.
I’m Lisa Linfield and this is Working Women’s Wealth, and I hope you have a great week. Take care.