By Elizabeth Kerr
No one gets out of here alive and the last months of 2015 has reinforced this finality.
Fit, well and young people have been taken from us well before their time and its effect on those left behind has in my mind brought out the best qualities we as humans possess. Empathy, gratitude, generosity and love in abundance.
Additionally, these deaths have brought a real cause for reflection for those remaining.
Ecclesiastes 7: verse 2 says “It is better to go to a home where there is mourning that to one where there is a party, because the living should always remind them selves that death is waiting for us all”. All sounds quite macabre doesn’t it? Nevertheless, it has a point.
Death is not something that we want to think about yet our lives can be a hell of a lot simpler if we do. With the benefits of perceived hindsight at time of death, the things we desire in the present might not actually be that attractive anymore. Designer sunglasses, iphones, trendy clothes and expensive restaurant meals out are whittled down to exactly what they really are – something to keep us from squinting, a communication device, our butt covered and a chance to share a meal with people we love.
So powerful is the idea of our inevitable passing that employers in South Korea are apparently nailing their employees into coffins after conducting a mock funeral to help their employees relieve stress and workplace anxiety. Employees begin by writing letters to their families and listening to their own eulogy. After the coffin is closed and prescribed time passed, they are re-born with renewed vigour, perspective and passion. The shallow thoughts and desires that used to dominate their minds are now meaningless and non-existent having faced their own mortality.
Where am I going with all this you ask? Well when it comes to our finance goals I think there is a tendency to view all this talk of death with a stroke of squander and extravagance. You are after all only going to live once so why not have that luxury car, family holiday, tailored suit? The answer of course is that death is the final creditor.
The tragic passing of a rugby hero this year is an example, at the tender young age of just 40 I am sure he felt he had enough time to fix his financial situation and save a nest egg as well. Sadly he now can’t. And so you can’t wait when it comes to your finances either.
The concept of death is often used to provide our lives with meaning and purpose. A good funeral serves to celebrate life and make us think about our own contribution to existence – our relationships, experiences, our time and love, which luckily are all relatively cheap and cost efficient.
In fact four decades of near-death research has revealed the top 5 things that people on their on the brink of their passing regret – and not one of them said they wished they had a nicer car or bigger house. Most people regretted the road they didn’t take, the dreams they didn’t chase, the goals still unfulfilled. Following this, they regret working so hard and regretted making money at the expense of relationships. They regretted not giving friendships the time and effort they needed to stay in touch and wish they had taken the time to love more.
So this year as you lay back on your one-day sale bean bag, I don’t want you to just set goals for the 2016 year, I want you to set your perspective across your entire life. I don’t want you to just decide how much to save or debt to pay down, I want you to work out how much money you will earn over a lifetime and design a lifestyle to match. Ask yourself how much of your lifestyle design belongs to your values and how much is prescribed by our modern consumerist cultures, creative advertising or peer pressure?
2016 is for you! Don’t’ just set goals … be radical. Be intentional. Why not make 2016 the platform year for arranging your finances for living your values your way and kick your money machine up a gear.
Stay safe on the roads and have an enjoyable restful holiday.
Come find me on Facebook and tell me how 2016 is going to be for you!