According to studies by Cerulli and Associates seven years ago, the greatest fear of people was dying. Today, the greatest fear is living, or living too long. People are mortally fearful of living to be 100 and being poor. With the confluence of an aging revolution, rising health-care costs, and the power of inflation to erode the worth of our money, it is easy to see how people might not have the most optimistic of thoughts regarding their later years
THE HIERARCHY OF FINANCIAL NEEDS
Human beings are motivated by unmet needs and lower needs must be satisfied before the higher needs can be addressed. We must meet people’s most basic needs (like physical survival) before they will be able to address other needs (like love or actualization).
How much do you need simply to survive each month? If you stripped away all the frills and thrills and just paid the bills of survival –what is that cost? The money needed to pay for your basic necessities is your Survival income.
What if everything doesn’t work out as you hoped and imagined it would? In life, the one thing we can predict with great assurance is that things will rarely go exactly as planned. We are surrounded by financial risks in every category of our lives. A leading risk in the minds of individuals approaching retirement is the risk of outliving their money. Other top-of-mind risks are health and paying for health-care, investment risk, loss of income and financial needs within the family. As much as is possible we want to protect ourselves against catastrophes with our bodies, our money and our stuff. The money needed to guard against these risks is your Safety income.
What is the exact cost of the activities and indulgences that bring pleasure and relaxation into your life? Some people engage in low-cost relaxation activities (like walking), and others engage in high-priced activities (like walking after a golf ball). Travel, adventure and education/personal growth are also considerations when calculating the amount needed to fund your freedom.
As we move up the Pyramid — securing our survival, safety, and freedom — our money can be utilized in the higher calling of bringing blessing to those people and causes we care deeply about. Many of us would love to do something for our parents and our children. Many of us also have aspirations to support causes and charities that connect with our heart and purpose. The money needed to pay for these gifts and benevolent annuities are your Gifting income.
What do you want to be? What do you want to do? What do you want to have? These are all part of the financial conversation necessary for paying the bills of self-actualization. For some people only a career change will bring them to this place. For others it may require part-time involvement in activities more closely aligned with their sense of passion and purpose. The cost of self-actualization is the time it takes to do the things that bring meaning into our lives. If we do not own enough of our own time to engage in these activities, then we must negotiate with our work schedule and personal finances to make the time available. There is a cost associated with being what we want to be. There are also costs associated with doing what we want to do and having what we want to have. The money needed to pay these bills is your Dream income.
Paying the Bills:
The final phase of the “Income for Life