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Preparing for the Future.

Preparing for the Future.

Now I don’t want to come across as all doom and gloom. I do believe that we can all have shiny bright and beautiful futures, but we need to prepare ourselves for them and design them the way we want.

We also need to ensure we have ourselves covered for any situations that are out of our control. Some of our nannas would have just said “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” type comments.

You see there is another financial crisis skirting us. So we not only need to ensure that we have created passive incomes for our older years, we also need to ensure that we are able to create an income and weather a change in financial outlook over the next few decades.

I look at our relatives who are in their 70’s and 80’s. The first generations who were expected to be self sufficient in their retirement. With the help of compulsory superannuation, there are many who are in a strong financial position and with the boom in the housing area, the homes they bought for $70 000 in the 80’s are now worth close to a million dollars.

But I also remember listening to their sobering stories about how they had taken a massive loss in their superannuation. I sat quietly as we were fortunate that our little pot of super had hardly experienced a scrape. And I hate to say it, but I see the signs around me that indicate there will be another round of problems in the financial market in the coming years.

So what can we do?

Prepare. Actually look at your superannuation and plan for the next twenty or so years. I’ll hazard a guess that you don’t know how much is in your account, nor do you know how much you actually need to live a life you love in your older years. I have a vague idea, but I know that it’s something we need to get sorted this year – a Superannuation check up, passive income streams and an idea of where we want to be in the future. I know that we’d be better at this point investing in property rather than in stocks in a Superannuation fund. We worked that out a few years ago.

So now the kids are growing up and leaving you room to pay attention to other things, it’s time to pay attention to yourself. Do a life audit.

Assess your income for the next 20 years.

Assess your required funds needed for retiring. Where is all that paperwork, when was your last superannuation checkup? Is it time to change where and how you invest? Is your superannuation set up to pay out a lump sum or be drip fed to you?
Will you have to pay tax? Click here for more info on tax.

Assess what health supports you may need and get those niggly things attended to. Build a health village around you. That might include a doctor who is curious about you, not just dealing with the obvious symptoms and willing to look into the cause of any issues you may have.

Assess your happiness bank. Seriously look at how often you have smiled and felt satisfied this week. Some of the poorest nations in the world are the happiest, people live to be a ripe old and active age, because they are happy. It’s actually a medical bonus as the endorphins and¬†hormones released when we are happy contribute to a healthy body!

This isn’t a project or assessment to do over just one weekend, unless you completed one in the past year or so, then this will be just a tweak session. Make it a priority over the coming months.

  1. Start by collecting all your paperwork.
  2. Investigate how much money you’ll need to live in in 20 years time.
  3. Consider your lifestyle, is there anything you can introduce into your life now, that will make for a smooth transition later.
  4. Have a health check and book a double consultation with your health practitioner so you can discuss what you’ll need to keep an eye out for and what to expect as your body changes.
  5. Discuss with your family, what they’d like to see happen over the coming years, what their plans might be. Things will change, I never expected my older children to move out of home within a few weeks of each other and with less than a months notice. It was terrific to see them take flight into the world, but those changes lightened the routines of our home. I suppose with kids, we need to expect anything and prepare our options. Create those non – negotiables though.

So don’t be caught out. Watch the interest rates, if you see them creeping, book in with your loans broker and capture a low rate and ensure your family do to.
Work out how you can create a few independent streams of income to see you through the next decade without taking a massive hit. When you are looking at your fifties, you don’t have the luxury of time to recover from a major financial or health disruption.

Tune into financial commentators that you trust and create a soft place for your family to fall.

It’s called a ‘nest egg’ for a reason. Best to have a few nests to fly to!

 

When the kids aren’t there.

When the kids aren’t there.

I don’t often get a photo of them all together. This one was pretty random. They were all home at the same time!

I have two kids who have left home. It was an interesting process, mainly because it was unexpected. The morning I was laying in bed, wondering how much of a hassle it would be to add an upstairs to this place if we bought it and within a few days of each other my two eldest children informed me that they were moving out.

I didn’t replace their rooms with other things quickly or pack up all their stuff as I half expected them to come back at some point, but it was six months later I realised that they weren’t. Well, not permanently.

At first, contact was at a minimum. They were revelling in their independence. Hubby and I would call them when we were together, we’d have ‘Google Mum’ type text messages, but they were enjoying this new taste of life. They weren’t alone, living with friends. They weren’t on the other side of the world – just down the road and another a few hours down the highway. 6 months later I accepted that indeed, they were not going to return anytime soon. Some of our flock had flown the coop.

It was wonderful to see, I kept smiling as I learnt of their adventures.

Some parents don’t have it so easy. I will admit there were times when I was a little miffed by their dump and run tactics (coming home causing disruption and off they go) but I’d look at my husband and see the pattern he had created with his parents. We weren’t getting off too badly lol.

I’d hear stories from friends and family of their children leaving home and some mums were distraught. They didn’t like their children leaving. I think they were just unprepared.

Having spent so much time with families with children of all ages, I have seen a pattern. Those children whose parents put their heart, soul and budgets into the kids seemed to have come off the worst. Their kids are unhappy, they aren’t coping with living independently and aren’t taking off in leaps and bounds. It’s almost in some cases, that their parents are pulling them back and when the kids are home, things can get volatile.

The families where the kids have experienced a loving release, tend to come and go without the angst. They ask their parents about things, they share what is happening in their work or study and seek guidance in an informal storytelling manner. It’s nice to see.

When your kids leave home, they need to leave with your trust in their backpacks to thrive.

When you meet a challenge in life and you can’t see the answer yourself, you’ll often seek advice or just consider “what would ¬†. . . so and so . . . do” a mentor, a parent, a teacher.

Those imagined conversations are like the monkeys on your child’s shoulder, if it’s not a positive voice – your child can waver and fall.

So let them leave with your trust that they will excel in life and almost always, they’ll rise to that belief.

Let them leave with your belief in them, that you know they can handle anything and when they need help, they know how to find it.

Let them leave with your love – unconditional. No expectation of when they will call or visit.

Mine drop in regularly, because they feel comfortable and have learnt that if they want a meal or bed here, book in with the hotel management! They are never rejected, it’s simply a courtesy and there have been times where they’ve arrived with friends and had to endure watching us eat a scrumptious pork roast.

Which means that you need to live a life without conditions too. Go where you want, eat what you want (food that meets your goals – flavour, nutrition etc), do what makes your heart sing, it’s the little things that will make you happy.
If your children walk in at dinner time to your mini pork roast, you don’t need to share and give up your food. It’s your company they have come for, not your food – that’s just a bonus.

Love your kids and above all else, love yourself and your relationship with yourself. It’s the most important one in your life.