My father was born in December, in London in 1933. He would now therefore have been well into his 80s. Unfortunately, my father never made it to his 80s, nor his 70s. He died at age 64 and 9 months, just three months before he was due to retire at age 65. He never retired. He never got to do all those things that he planned to do like travel more, fish more, buy a bungalow by the sea, and grow more fruit and vegetables.
For as long as I can remember, my father had talked about and planned for his retirement. He had saved some money, he had put money into pensions and he had been buying all the things that he would need for a fulfilling time in retirement like new fishing rods and garden furniture. My dad loved the garden and loved sitting in the sun.
I also remember how hard my dad had worked in order to provide for us as a family and to give us the things that we wanted in life. At one stage I recall him doing a 6 am to 2 pm shift then going straight onto another factory to do a 2 pm to 6 pm extra shift.
As a great DIY person he would then come home in the evenings, have some dinner and go straight off out again to build a porch, a greenhouse or fit a front door for a neighbour. He knocked down walls, built extensions, put in a bathroom, added a garage, a workshop (and a darkroom for me) to our family home, all in his spare time. He would try to rope me into these projects but as anyone who knows me will tell you, I hate DIY and am pretty clueless when it comes to building anything.
A purposeful life
Losing my father to Pancreatic Cancer before he managed to retire had a profound effect on me and shapes a lot of my thinking now, both personally and professionally. I was always very conscious of how very hard he worked and how tired he appeared to be most of the time. Even before he died I would say to myself that I would never work as long or as hard as he did and neither would I want to do such physical work (his full time work was as a hands on manager of a print finishing factory which involved moving, cutting, folding and packing large quantities of printed material and plastics).
My father worked all his life for his retirement and never got to enjoy a single day of it. As for many people, work was not his passion or pleasure; it was a means to an end. It was the way he was able to provide for his family and to set aside something for later in life.
I am very lucky in that for much of the time my work is my passion; it energises me rather than exhausts me; I work long hours when necessary but also love to take holidays and to travel. Running my own business also enables me occasionally to combine business and pleasure.
I think about my father a lot. I think about the lessons he taught me both deliberate ones, “keep your nose clean, eyes open and ears to the ground” and the life lessons: Enjoy it while you can; don’t wait for retirement to do the things you want to; help others to gain clarity and more than anything, to “Live Life with Purpose”.
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 is the product of personal loss and ambition.
This book will help you take the steps to live life with purpose. It will help you gain clarity and 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. 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.