When you think about your hopes for the future, you may have some goals that seem to hang in the balance.
Indeed, ambitions such as helping your children onto the property ladder, booking a round-the-world trip in retirement, or remaining in your family home past working age, might have sat on the “maybe” pile for a long time now.
If you are unsure about whether you can afford these dreams, you could benefit from knowing how much is “enough” money for you. Otherwise, you might feel too worried about pursuing your goals for fear of compromising your financial viability, and this mindset could lead to indecision that lasts for years.
Luckily, helpful financial planning strategies may affirm that you can afford your goals, or if they aren’t immediately actionable, help you to work towards reaching them.
So, if you want to know just how much is enough for you to achieve financial stability in later life without compromising on your priorities, learn five steps you could take towards finding out.
1. Make a list of your top priorities
There may be several goals that come to mind when you’re asked the question: “What would you like to do in the next 10 to 20 years?”
It might be that your children or grandchildren are your first priority. Helping them to pay for education fees or climb onto the first rung of the property ladder may bring you more satisfaction than your own personal goals.
On the other hand, you could be looking at expanding your own assets, like buying a bolthole by the sea or broadening your investment portfolio.
Whatever your priorities may be, the first step towards working out if you can afford them, and over what time frame, is to make a judicious list in order of importance.
2. Review your wealth as one big picture
Your wealth consists of several moving parts, including pensions, property, cash, investments, and other assets.
As such, it may be challenging to look at your finances as one big picture – but doing so could help you see your circumstances in full, and enable you to make an accurate plan for the future.
If you struggle to complete this step by yourself, a financial planner may be able to help. We’ll take the time to review your entire portfolio of assets, alongside your expenditure and other factors, to obtain a broad picture of your financial situation.
In doing this, we can then look at how your wealth could be managed in order to reach the goals on your priority list.
3. Consider risk factors outside of your control
Unfortunately, your own actions are not the only factor that could affect your wealth, both now and in the future.
There are a number of external elements that could have an impact on your money, including:
- Over the years, the real-terms value of your cash wealth is likely to be eroded significantly by inflation. A recent example, published by Unbiased, exemplifies the impact of rising inflation on cash; £10,000 placed in a pot today, subject to a 2.5% annual inflation rate, would be “worth” just £7,812 in 10 years.
- Interest rates. The Bank of England’s (BoE) recent base interest rate increases, that were implemented between December 2021 and August 2023, were an apt example of how rising interest rates could affect your wealth over time. Mortgage repayments and other debts could become more expensive, meaning your income may need to stretch further to make ends meet.
- Stock market fluctuations. Global events, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, are likely to cause short-term market volatility that may have an adverse impact on your investment portfolio.
- Unexpected events like a death or illness. Life-changing events can come out of nowhere, and if your family experienced an unexpected death or serious illness, this could affect your financial circumstances.
Figuring out how much is enough for you to live comfortably includes thinking about the above risks, among others, and factoring them into your plans where possible.
This step is vital, as it could help you to put protective measures in place that may help to shield your wealth from the unexpected later on.
4. Use cashflow planning software to project your future circumstances
The world of technology has developed extremely quickly in the last 20 years, including in financial services.
From online banking to buying and selling on the stock market in minutes, the digitisation of tech has truly revolutionised the way we handle our money.
One positive development in “fintech” is cashflow modelling software, which enables you to:
- Place all your current financial variables into a sophisticated piece of software
- Apply potential variables that could change your financial circumstances in future, such as the birth of a grandchild
- Look at the risks that your wealth may be exposed to
- Find out how much you can afford to live on in retirement, and the factors that could affect this in future.
With this technology to hand, you could finally ascertain an accurate number that helps to answer the question: “How much is enough?”
That’s why the previous three steps are so important. Without knowing what your top goals are, what your financial circumstances really look like, and the risks that could affect them, you may not be able to use cashflow planning software to its full potential.
5. Discuss your goals with an independent financial planner
Reviewing your entire wealth portfolio and working out a potential retirement income, among other important factors, may feel like an overwhelming task to take on alone.
Fortunately, discussing your goals with a financial planner may boost your confidence. Those “maybe” goals might finally be resolved, and over the long term, a financial planner can help run your finances in the background while you get on with the business of enjoying your life.
If you’re hindered by financial indecision as you approach retirement and want to know how much money is truly enough for you, talking to a financial planner could help.
Email us at [email protected], or call 01273 076 587, to learn more about answering the question, “How much is enough?”.
This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.
The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate cashflow planning.
The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.