Monthly Archives: January 2015

Perhaps We All Need A Time Tikker?

I was attending a presentation on Estate Planning for clients the other day and the presenter had a rather interesting little wrist watch called the Tikker ( It is essentially a wrist watch that counts down your life. So for example, it might say that you have 44 years, 213 days, 12 hours and 23 minutes left to live (based on average life expectancy of course). While the idea of having a wrist watch to constantly remind you of your impending mortality might be a little too depressing, it probably wouldn’t hurt for most of us to consider the time we have left a little more often.

A good point that Tikker make on their website, is that if we were told we have only 1 year left to live, it would probably change the way we live our lives. The one resource that we have no power or control over is time. The rest of our lives can be shaped to be the way we want them to be, but time will always be limited.

While a wrist watch might be just one step too far for me – It would probably be wise to consider how you wish to use the time you have left, before it’s too late!

How To Blow Your Pension

You may have seen the Panorama programme on television on Monday night attempting to explain the new pension reforms. While the programme did highlight some of the potential pitfalls to be aware of, there were a couple of the sections that I felt were a little lacking:

  • At the beginning of the programme, the presenter looked at an average pension pot of around £32,000 and then proceeded to go on an imaginary shopping spree with the funds. The one problem was, he did not appear to account for the tax that would have been paid if you had taken this whole pension pot in full. Unfortunately, many people seem unaware that there is tax to pay on any pension withdrawal after the 25% tax free portion has been taken.
  • There was also a case study of a lady who had recently been ‘forced’ to purchase an annuity. The concept of a drawdown pension has now existed for over a decade and, since it’s introduction there has not been a ‘requirement’ to purchase an annuity. The sad truth is that many people did not understand the options available to them when making the once-in-a-lifetime decision about how to use their pension funds.

What the programme highlighted is the increased need to ensure that you are aware of all of the options available to you at retirement. A qualified Chartered Financial Planner can help you to do just that!

Committing to Commitment

With the new year already in full swing, the statistics tell us that around 25% of those people who made a new years resolution will have already broken it. By the end of January this figure increases to nearly 35%, and by the end of the year a whopping 90% of people admit to letting their new years resolutions go out of the window.

What I have found works for me in maintaining these commitments that we make to ourselves is trying to make a commitment to the commitment (that’s a lot of commitments!). What I mean by this is doing something that means that you can’t turn back. This could mean actually writing the cheque for that course you have been meaning to take, sign up to run the London marathon rather than just saying that you will, set up the standing order to make your regular savings, rather than promising yourself that you will at the end of the month.

These are all small actions that can prevent us from getting off track when we commit to making changes in our lives. I know that this philosophy works for me. In fact, in the past 2 days I have bitten one of the biggest bullets of my life and committed to taking a masters degree in Financial Planning & Business Management this year at Manchester Metropolitan University. This is something that I have been wanting to do for the past year or so, but I must admit I have been procrastinating slightly. Having now sent back the acceptance form, I am well and truly IN. I have made a commitment to others and not just to myself, and all of a sudden, my motivation to complete the task at hand (no matter how daunting) is far higher than before I completed that little one page form.

I will end this post with a quote on commitment by William Hutchinson Murray. Happy new year!

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”