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The Five Fs: Why wealth is about more than finance

For many people, wealth is about having millions in the bank, an extensive property portfolio and the freedom to do whatever they want. 

But being wealthy is about more than money, assets and possessions. We often speak to people who are extremely wealthy in the traditional sense, but it’s hard to switch the focus from endlessly accumulating, and so they forget about the freedom part. They forget to live. 

So when someone asked me how wealthy a person has to be for me to take them on as a client, it sent me down quite the rabbit hole.

Without balance, it doesn’t matter how many houses you have or how big your pension is. To be truly wealthy, you’ve got to find a way to convert those figures into experiences and memories.

A smart way of doing this is to split your life into five categories: Family, freedom, fitness, fun and fortune. These are known as the Five Fs. I can’t take credit for the concept, and I can’t recall where I first heard it, but it’s something I regularly mention to clients to ensure we all continue to live in balance of all five. 

Fortune

Whether you believe money buys happiness or not, it goes without saying that we need it to live. 

The exact amount we require to meet our basic needs varies from one person to another. Some can feed, clothe and house themselves on £2,000 a month. Others may need £5,000 or £10,000, depending on where they live and who depends on them. 

To live a comfortable lifestyle and protect your future self, you’ll probably need more than this. 

That’s why it’s important for us to try and find a way to extract money from our own economic worth across a 30 or 40-year career and turn that into something that will sustain us in later life. That way, when your body or mind starts to slow down, not only can you meet your basic needs, but you can maintain enjoyment in life too. 

The ability to turn labour into capital is one of the greatest gifts of capitalism. While previous generations had to keep working until the day they died, times have changed. It’s much harder for some people than others to save for retirement, but most of us have the ability to turn our employment into capital over the course of our working life.

Family

Many people struggle to find a balance between work and family life. And I use the term “family” loosely. Whoever make up your people nearest to you. 

For those on low incomes, this can be somewhat unavoidable. Working two jobs to make ends meet can leave little time for loved ones. 

But it can be a struggle for those earning six, seven or eight figures too. Whether you find yourself trapped on the hamster wheel that is your career or you’re working 24/7 on your own business, there may come a day when you look back and regret working so much. 

It’s unlikely, however, that you’d ever regret prioritising your family and friends. 

Freedom

Freedom means something different depending on who you ask. Maybe you want to choose which hours you work, travel for three months of the year, or live off passive income rather than being tied to one job or business. 

When I worked in a corporate environment, I hated commuting to the office each day. I resented having to be in a certain place, at a certain time and having to dress, speak and sound a certain way. Back then, I felt as though profit extraction was more important than service proposition. 

That kind of environment wasn’t right for me and so I vowed to achieve the type of freedom that’d allow me to work from home, take my boys to nursery and be there for them when they’re sick.

Fitness

The benefits that exercise can have on our mental health and wellbeing are not to be sniffed at. Exercise is unlikely to fix all your problems ⁠— though I suppose it depends what your problems are ⁠— but it can help to relieve stress, give you a greater sense of purpose, and boost confidence.

It can be hard to find the time to exercise, particularly if you’re struggling to find balance in other areas of your life. It may be helpful to think of fitness as non-negotiable. You could make exercise the first thing you do each day. Just find your thing that you enjoy, and stick with it. Three weight sessions and two 30 minute fitness sessions on a Peloton bike is right for me at this time in life. 

You don’t have to become a bodybuilder or a triathlete, but going for a 30-minute walk every morning or doing some stretches in the garden are habits most people manage to fit into their lifestyles.

Invest in your fitness like you invest in your portfolio. I usually encourage my clients to invest in the stock market every month, no matter what the market is doing. Equally, it can be a good idea to exercise every day, no matter what is going on around you.

By making regular contributions to your health and fitness, you’ll reap the benefits in both the short and the long term

Fun

And finally, fun. What’s the point in having money if you can't act like a clown in front of your children and do things that make you laugh? The one or two moments of happiness that Aston Villa give me across an entire season are worth every penny, I’m sure.

Let’s go back to the question I was asked at the start of the post. Do you have to be wealthy to become a client? Not in the traditional sense, no.

What I’m more concerned about is your ability to prioritise the other aspects of your life. I don’t want my clients to accumulate money for the sake of it. I don’t want them to treat it as a means to an end. Instead, I want clients to be confident they have enough money to keep doing the things they love, with the people they care about, for as long as they want. 

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