Why don’t we plan for life?

I am a coach with the De La Salle Palmerston U-11 rugby team. Last weekend, along with the U-12s, we went on tour, playing a tournament at London Irish RFC. It was an incredible trip, with a day in Thorpe Park on the Friday, a day in London City on the Saturday with a dinner at London Irish in the evening, followed by a great day of rugby on the Sunday. It was a huge success with both parents and kids having a great time.

We will be going again next year and the U-12s are the main organisers, so that will be us. Work on the April 2020 event has started already. Why so early? Because it is a massive event for our club and there is a huge amount to do to pull it all together. As the coaches in charge, we don’t want to let anyone down by them not having a good time at this event.

We plan for so many major events in life but why don’t we plan for life itself? Most people to go from year to year without thinking of what their destination is. Work for 40 years, retire at some stage and what you do at that point depends on what you can afford. Doesn’t sound great, does it?

Why don’t we save?

We are used to saving. We save for a deposit on a house, weekends away, holidays. But once we have achieved that goal, we stop.

But we don’t save for the last third of our lives. Why is that? Is it too far away? What does the 60 year old me look like? What will he want to do? Sure the kids will be gone and the mortgage paid, I won’t need as much money. But if we don’t save, we won’t have any money at all.

Does the cost of an enjoyable retirement put people off? When people find out how much they need to save to hit a certain target, they tend to do nothing at all. What they should do is change their target to something that is more achievable and adjust it if their financial situation changes.

Why don’t we plan?

When went to London Irish, we had a massive checklist. What needs to be done so that everything ran smoothly. As things changed, readjustments were made to the plan.

It is the same with your life plan. You need to have a checklist of what you need to have a good life. You need to adjust it over time as time changes. There may be more kids than planned, you may move house, get divorced, remarry, get a big payrise, get made redundant, get sick. And that’s without even looking at the changes in taxation, pension rules, investment markets,

Why don’t we draw up a checklist of what we want to achieve in life and what we need to do to make it happen? If we don’t know what we have to do, how can we achieve it?

Who are we accountable to?

When you plan a trip, you are accountable to everyone that goes on it. You don’t want to be the one responsible for a bad trip by not putting the work in. But who are we accountable to when it comes to our own futures? The long term nature of life means it is too easy to avoid accountability. If we don’t save enough this year, who is going to know? It is too easy to come up with an excuse.

Why do you think we avoid planning for life? Let me know by emailing me at steven@bluewaterfp.ie