Most people will have two types of goals – ‘Material goals’ like cars, houses, and holidays and so on, and ‘Emotional goals’ such as to paint, to write poetry, to explore, to make a difference.

For most, emotional goals, especially as we get older, are the ones that truly motivate. Time, and what we can do with it, becomes much more precious than material possessions. Sometimes however, particularly for younger people, owning “things” becomes the be all and end all. This is why it is much harder as a professional to work with younger people and why we strongly recommend that certain protections be built in when dealing with generational wealth matters.


Set a timeline and a balance

Meeting with emotional goals can provide lasting and profound satisfaction; this is rarely the case with material ones that can often just create a short-lived high followed by the inevitable crash and desire for the next big fashionable thing.

Material things however, often become less important as we get older and ‘freedom’ – [freedom of] time, friendships, socialising, family and so on – becomes more important.

When considering future goals and objectives, it is important to also set a timeline and, if a material goal, a value for these too. These don’t have to be accurate at this stage, just get something down; values and timelines can be adjusted. An example of this would be:

  • I would like to be able to retire at age 67 while having an income of £30,000 per year; Or
  • I would like to be able to gift my daughter £50,000 for a house deposit when she reaches age 25.

A couple of non-material goals may be:

  • I would like to get a degree in Ancient History when I retire, or:
  • I would like to be in a position to dedicate 10 hours per week to my favourite charity.


Practical things to consider when defining your goals

There is a strong element of emotion about our life goals, but we do need to factor in practical reasons too.

None of us really know what is around the corner, but there are some planning we can put in place for what-if scenarios (things that might occur) as well as when scenarios (things that will occur). Here are some examples:

  • What if … your elderly parent needs to go into a care home? Do they have a property to sell to pay for these fees or will you need to contribute? How will this impact on your possible inheritance or ability to move abroad?
  • What if … you die prematurely? What financial position will your loved ones be in? Comfortable or struggling financially?
  • When … you die, what happens to your estate? Has it been managed so that those you leave behind legally have to pay as little Inheritance Tax (IHT) as possible?
  • When… retire will you have enough money to maintain your desired lifestyle. What type of lifestyle do you want in retirement?


Further reading

To make the most of this process, we’d recommend reading all or some of the following books. They have lots of questions and considerations, which will help you pin down and understand exactly what you want from your life plan.


  • Black Hole Focus by Isaiah Hankel PhD (Publisher: Capstone – 25 April 2014)
  • Life Planning for You by George D. Kinder (Publisher: Serenity Point Press  – 4 Feb. 2014)
  • Values-Based Financial Planning: The Art of Creating an Inspiring Financial Strategy by Bill Bachrach (Publisher: Aim High Pub – 2000)
  • The Dan Sullivan Question; Ask it and transform anyone’s future by Dan Sullivan (Publisher: The Strategic Coach, Inc.)


Where do I start?

All of us have things that we would like to achieve in our lives. It could be two, five or ten years down the line. Perhaps we may want to leave a legacy of some kind. To realise these dreams, we need to be both focused and financially organised. This is the essence of True Lifestyle Financial Planning

It’s with this lesson in mind that I set out to write my book, Live Life With Purpose: A Guide to Getting a Life Plan and Sticking With It. This book will help you take the steps to live life with purpose. It will help you gain clarity. It will show you how to implement the six steps needed to create a sound Life and Financial Plan so you can ultimately achieve your goals.

We’re offering free copies of Live Life With Purpose to anybody who feels they would benefit from it. Simply go to this page, tell us where to send it, and we’ll pop a copy in the post for you.

I hope you enjoy reading the book and putting into practice some or all of the lessons it contains. Even if just one idea sparks you into taking some action, then I have achieved what I set out to do.