Most personal financial columns have a strong emphasis on investments. How do you get richer? How much can your money grow by? What are you worth? This is understandable as it is something that appeals to the greed element in most people but it is actually the wrong focus when it comes to money management.
Those who have either read the book or seen the various films or TV series of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” might recall that Mr Darcy was seen as being attractive as a potential husband not necessarily because he was handsome but because he had an income of £10,000 a year. The emphasis then was not on being a millionaire but on having at least a sufficient income to live on.
When you reflect on the mayhem of the latter end of the Celtic Tiger and the chasing of capital gains rather than looking for an assurance on income you can’t help feel that for all our modern sophistication the old approach of having money in your pocket before looking for capital growth makes infinitely more sense.
So if you could sidestep the last decade and start all over again, what would you do different or more appropriately what should you have done differently?
When you are younger having a good stream of current income is reliant usually on earnings from an occupation or a business. When you are older, especially in retirement it will be dependent on having accumulated enough assets to provide an income when you can’t work anymore. Of course most people equate retirement monies with a pension fund whether it is provided personally or by the State. With the likely long term reduction in State benefits as well as many employer sponsored schemes facing cutbacks many people are facing an uncertain future, whether they recognise it or not. Indeed, this assumes that you have a pension scheme at all. Latest figures would seem to indicate that only 50% of the workforce actually has a pension. Even then the level of the pension can vary from being fully funded to being minimally funded.
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