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January update: news, opinion and comment for your financial wellbeing 

What's it all about?

We're a few weeks into 2022 now, so how are the new year resolutions going?

Don't worry, we're not asking you to detail your personal journey thought Veganuary, Dry January, Red January or any of the other privations this month seems to be designed to torture us with. 

(Although you'd think, with the cold weather and the excitement of the festive season behind us, someone would have come up with a challenge that involved snuggling under a blanket and watching old movies for the whole of January.)

Personally speaking, we're over resolutions. They're so last year. For us, January 2022 - and every other year for that matter - is about defining and reviewing goals that help us pursue and enjoy a meaningful life.

What is a meaningful life? 

One of our favourite books is Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. A survivor of the holocaust, who lost all of his family at the hands of the Nazis, Frankl nevertheless managed to help himself and others find meaning during the worst possible situation a human can endure.

His experience taught him that the solution to a meaningful life rests on three ingredients:

1. Meaningful work or a project

This involves working towards something that is bigger than ourselves, that brings meaning to our life and to our world. You need to define for yourself what this is. It could be anything: funding a school in Malawi, building a business that provides employment for others, writing that novel you have inside you, designing a beautiful garden. You know what it is you want to achieve with your life.

2. A loving community

This doesn't mean building a 'community' of followers on Facebook. LinkedIn or Instagram. It's people who actually mean something to us, who like and love us for who we are, not what we wear or what we do for a living. These people - family and good friends - encourage us to grow beyond who we are and to become who we want to be. 

3. An optimistic attitude

Living a meaningful life doesn't mean that everything is always sunshine and unicorns. In any life, we experience challenges, suffering and setbacks. We lose people we love. We fail at work. We're let down by people we think we can trust. Having the resilience to learn from these problems helps us move forwards in the knowledge that we can cope and overcome whatever is put in our path.

Are you actively planning for a meaningful life? Do you know what your goals are and how you're going to make them a reality?

Our financial planning approach is all about achieving purposeful goals. If you'd like to discuss how we can help you accomplish yours, just get in touch.

And for more on definitng what's important to you, check out what one writer learned from her 85-year-old aunt. 

'70s kids to wait longer for their pensions

If you were born in the 1970s you will have grown up with the angry sounds of punk rock, the music that defined a generation.. 

Turns out that those born in the early part of the decade may have something to be angry about, if the Government's latest review of the state pension, due to report by May, is anything to go by.

The state pension is still an important part of retirement provision for most people, and the age at which it can be accessed has been rising inexorably over the past few years.

Under the current rules, after 2046, the age you can draw your pension will rise to 68 - affecting anyone born after April 1977.

But the latest review is looking at bringing that change forward by eight years,  phasing it in between 2037 and 2039, which could affect everyone born after 1969.

This is in addition to the changes in early access to private or company pension schemes, discussed in our November edition

As part of the review, the government is also looking into giving pensions earlier to people living in more deprived areas, where people are more likely to die up to six years younger. 

One thing is certain - the younger you are now, the less likely you are to be able to count on a reasonable state pension, if at all. It's never too early to start planning for the non-earning part of your life.

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