Carpe Diem

December 2021

Life can be cruel and major life and death events can come out of nowhere to change both, the way we see the world and the part we wish to take within it.
In the last couple of months I have had a client fall ill unexpectedly and die quickly, leaving a loved one who was planning on an enjoyable retirement, now left stunned and feeling that life is not fair.
I have had another client placed into an enforced coma after contracting COVID, and another suffer from a major critical illness that could have life changing effects.
Life is precious and we need to make sure the basics are in place; be that on the financial side to ensure that we have sufficient life cover, critical illness cover and income protection, and that where appropriate, the right trusts and split trusts are used. Or on the legal side, that our Wills are up to date with appropriate executors, and ensuring Lasting Powers of Attorney are in force and appropriate.
Lives change and so do our needs.
I have seen people not upgrade protection cover despite having a growing family or a bigger mortgage, and I have seen Wills which have gifts to named individuals for whom they would no longer wish to receive anything!
I am currently working with a client who is quite elderly, who has a large share portfolio heavy with a big gain, who is not confident of surviving the next seven years and is concerned by tax. We are looking at reconstructing the shares to avoid Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax after just two years, and still provide for a modest level of growth.
I have spoken before about the success of our portfolio management, especially of late, our Ethical portfolios, and it’s always pleasing to see clients who have taken a regular net income of 4% or 5%, still seeing their funds grow.
Funds do go down at times, as we saw in March 2020 and more recently this September, but a continued gain year on year despite all the on-going set backs provides comfort to the
plans we have made with clients over the years. We regularly carry out cash flow summaries with clients to see if their expenditure needs to, or could, change over their expected life remaining.
Not all of our clients have sufficient wealth to last them, and it is in these scenarios we need to delve down more into the minutiae.
Life is precious and we need to live it, if not to the full, we need to pack in what we can, while we can.
The heading “Carpe Diem” is thought by most to mean “seize the day”, a phrase made famous by, among others, Robin Williams in the film “Dead Poets Society” in 1989, and even found its way into a tattoo on the wrist of Dame Judi Dench.
The phrase Carpe Diem is actually over 2000 years old and taken from odes of the roman poet Horace. The meaning could also be argued to have been taken on by NIKE who say “Just Do It”.
The true meaning of the words in Latin actually are a horticultural metaphor translated as “Plucking the Day” and refers to the plucking and gathering of ripening fruits or flowers. But hey ho, “seize the day” sounds better and more appropriate today.
So what’s really important to you? Take a bit of time to review your bucket list and prioritise. After all, you may not have time or the will power to achieve everything that’s on there.
As someone said to me today, just waking up and knowing you’re alive is a bonus.
But it’s only a bonus if you do something with that day.
A bit morbid I agree, but every day could be your last, so whatever you do this Christmas, make sure you enjoy it.

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