Over half of UK adults plan only days or weeks ahead
Brewin Dolphin – one of the UK’s leading wealth managers – is asking the nation to write letters to their future selves to help them describe their long-term life goals and plan for them. By asking people to imagine what they want their life to be like when they retire, people think much further ahead than they ever normally do. Research it has conducted for a new campaign shows that over half (54 per cent) of people plan their lives only days (31 per cent) or weeks (23 per cent ) ahead.
To kick off its Life Stories campaign the wealth manager commissioned a bespoke writing project with 500 people asking them to look deep into their future lives in a bid to uncover what really matters to people.
Liz Alley, Divisional Director of Financial Planning at Brewin Dolphin, said:
“When asked to write a letter to describe their ideal future lives people were very good at imagining it. But they don’t know how they will get there. The next step is to build a bridge from now to that future self by putting a plan in place to get there.”
The writing exercise has uncovered how people really envisage their life in the future. Brewin Dolphin is showcasing some of the letters that stood out, to highlight some of the best articulations of what people want in the future. See notes to editors.
The 500 letters, all anonymous, illustrate that wellbeing in old age pivots on simple hopes – family, health and happiness – rather than extravagant financial ambitions. A well-balanced life was a key aspiration for many respondents.
The letters confirm a clear hierarchy of needs and aspirations in life that many of us would have expected: family/partner, followed by career and financial security, followed by hobbies, and interests including friends.
While a handful of the 500 respondents hope for lottery wins or gold medal glory, the overwhelming majority express their desire to remain healthy and active in old age; to live ‘comfortably’ with some degree of financial security. The letters revealed a nation aspiring to much more grounded ambitions – the centrality of family, a desire to travel, learn through life, and to have fulfilling but balanced careers with work/life balance.
Liz Alley added: “I’m not surprised that family, health and happiness are central pillars for people’s wellbeing. What is surprising is how unprepared most people are to achieve the dreams they have described.
“The letters are wonderfully optimistic but there is a reality check. The Brewin Dolphin Family Wealth Report showed us that people underestimate their required size of their pensions pots by up to £550,000, whilst many people who have the capacity to save aren’t.”
“By using the letter as a catalyst, we are urging people to over-come the obstacles of dreamers’ block. Once you know what your dream is, the next step is to plan for it. We want to help people fulfil their life plans. The earlier you know where you want to get to, the better chance you have of getting there.”