14th August 2020

Steve and Sue worked hard. Very hard. But they played hard too: they enjoyed the lifestyle which they had worked hard to create for themselves and their daughters, Rebecca and Lucy.

Steve was 45 and he had a plan. It was his own financial plan. He wanted to retire at 55.

Steve hated 3 things:

  • His mortgage
  • Pensions
  • And, most of all… financial advisers!

So Steve’s plan was simple: pay off his mortgage as quickly as possible. Then, when he was mortgage free, he intended to accumulate as much as possible via his business between 45 and 55 – so that he could retire early.


Steve didn’t think he had a problem. He didn’t need any ‘advice’!

However, Steve’s accountant recommended that Steve should speak to me.

At our meeting I spent some time getting to know Steve and Sue. I wanted to understand the life they’d had, the life they’d got, and the life they wanted in the future. I helped them to think about the lifestyle they desired throughout their life. I also wanted to understand why retirement at 55 was so important?

The reason?

It transpired that Steve wanted to ‘escape’ at age 55 and pursue his passion! His passion was Motor Sport. He loved it! He wanted to do a lot more of it while he was still young enough and, more importantly, fit enough to do so. He wanted to do more hill climbs, more rallying, some saloon car racing and Formula 3. Better still, both Steve and Sue wanted to travel the world together, ticking off more Formula 1 events. They wanted to ‘do stuff’ – ‘before it’s too late’!

But for Steve, why 55? Why was that so important?

Steve shared with me the fact that his own father had worked hard his whole life, retiring at 65, only to drop down dead at age 67.

It turned out that this was Steve’s main motivator. He could not bear that thought of that happening to him. More than anybody, Steve knew – and understood – that ‘Life is NOT a rehearsal’ and Steve lived it accordingly. That’s why Steve worked so hard now, so he could ‘escape’ early.

With this knowledge, I said I would work with Steve and Sue through a lifestyle financial planning process to help them understand where they were heading financially.

I helped them to identify the cost of their current and future desired lifestyle. I built in the cost of continuing private education for Rebecca and Lucy. I built in the cost of their daughter’s weddings. I encouraged Steve and Sue to really focus on the lifestyle they expected at various stages of their lives. We then put all of this into a simple expenditure questionnaire. I went back to my office and crunched the numbers.

Unfortunately, at our next meeting, I had to break to bad news.

I carefully explained (with the help of my financial planning software) that on agreed assumptions, Steve and Sue’s current plan would see them running out of money early – by age 67! That’s not a good plan.

Fortunately, with the help of my software, using meaningful, prudent assumptions, it was possible to help Steve and Sue discover how much was ENOUGH. This would be the amount of money they needed by age 55 to ensure they could live the life they wanted – without fear of ever running out of money.

You’ve guessed it. Due to the cost of their current and future desired lifestyle it was a BIG NUMBER.

But once they understood ‘How much is ENOUGH’ they realised immediately that they needed to do something about it. Better to know, than blindly head off into the future without knowing what was in store. I then worked with Steve and Sue to help find ways of accumulating the money through savings and investments. More importantly, I showed that how they could utilise their greatest asset (their business) to help them build their Number.

Once Steve and Sue began to understand ‘How much is ENOUGH’, an amazing thing started to happen. In their business, Steve started to see opportunities everywhere to increase turnover, reduce costs and create profit. All of which would help Steve and Sue to achieve their Number. The funny thing is, those opportunities were there all along! But Steve didn’t need to see them – UNTIL HE KNEW HIS NUMBER!

Steve and Sue are now well on course to achieve their Number and achieve their intended retirement at age 55. Steve now has a reason to work hard; a real ‘WHY’. Steve is motivated. Steve is inspired. Steve knows where he is going.

For the first time ever he could see his target. And now, as it gets closer, it becomes even easier to hit.


When you know what you are aiming at it becomes easier to hit. When you know what you are trying to achieve, miraculously, your mind starts coming up with ways of achieving it.

Above extract taken from Paul Armson’s book titled: “Enough? How much money do you need for the rest of your life?”

If you’d like to know more, give us a call or send us an email and we’ll schedule some time to chat with you.