I spent a couple of days in Birmingham in the summer, for an evening at the athletics at the Commonwealth Games.
At first I thought twice about spending £440 on accommodation. Did I really need to stay the night when I could in fact drive home afterwards and just get back a little on the late side?
Actually I thought thrice as I checked in, because on top of the track tickets, dinner and drinks etc, it was now over a thousand pounds for four hours of live athletics.
But look at what it bought.
The next day I woke from a pretty decent night’s sleep and went for a run. As I strolled back to the hotel for breakfast, I sat on the steps in the sunshine in Victoria Square and drank in the atmosphere, which was electric - big screens, people relaxing in deckchairs and smiles all around.
On the face of it, all this was free.
But in fact, this was what the £400+ had bought me: time to relax, to break up the usual routine, to be somewhere different, and subsequently feel part of something bigger.
This wasn’t just the practical side of getting 6 hours sleep at the end of a busy day to avoid having to drive straight back. It was so much more.
It dawned on me the next day that spending time with family is important, yes, being part of a prestigious event, yes. But sometimes it’s not what you’re buying that’s going to give you the value. It’s something else that’s harder to define.
For some people, money is about keeping score
They want to know: “How well am I doing?” Clients like the idea of accumulating wealth, of getting richer, or reaching a figure that for them, defines achievement: 'a million by 30 or 'ten million by 50’. The problem is, that it’s always just out of reach, or if they get to it, they find the number never satisfies, it just gets bigger or feels hollow.
But as we know, it’s having the money for something that’s key.
If I’d looked at the money while booking that trip and questioned the value of £400 for a few hours of sleep, I might not have booked it – and look at what I would have missed out on.
If I’d known how I’d feel after that stay, I’d have clicked ‘pay’ in a heartbeat.
This is why it’s so important for us to remind clients of their vision, to keep them on the straight and narrow, and prevent them from being distracted by unhelpful thought processes.
It’s easy to forget the meaning behind the money – especially at the moment when markets continue to wobble, when the cost-of-living crisis is the talk of the town and while a recession looms.
This is the time for planners to dig deep and pull out the stops – to make sure clients are going in the direction they always planned, and that they’re not getting distracted by the numbers and what they think they represent. Their happiness may depend on it.
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