Don’t invest a single cent until you can answer this one question with absolute clarity!!

That’s right folks, forget returns.  Forget SMSF’s.  Forget which fund to invest in or which property to invest in.  Forget focusing on the wrong things.

It doesn’t start with investments.  It doesn’t start with tax. It doesn’t start with superannuation.

There are more important questions you need to answer before you consider any of the above.

When was the last time you went on holiday?

Our last holiday was a week on Hamilton Island.

What’s the first thing you do when you decide on a holiday?

You do one of two things.

You either know where you want to go or you research destinations and decide from there where you want to go?

What sort of holiday is it going to be?  Relaxation or touring?

Is it going to be sitting by the pool or on a beach for the most part or are you going on a European experience?

What’s next?

Generally, you work out how much it is going to cost.  In some instances how much you want to spend may drive the destination of your holiday, but stay with me here…

So, to work out how much it is going to cost you work out when you want to fly.  Is it offseason or in peak holiday time?

Are you going to fly economy, business or first class?  All add a certain cost to the holiday.

Ok, now you have your destination/destinations, you know the type of flight you want to take, the dates, and now you are looking at the accommodation.

Are you going to stay in a flash five-star hotel or resort, self-catered accommodation, camping or glamping, basic accommodation and where is the accommodation located?  Close to the activities you want to do or further away.  All will have an impact on the cost.

Ok, so you have the most important aspects of your trip arranged, destination, flights & accommodation.

What’s next?


What are you going to do on your holiday?

So you plan out all the activities that you want to do or the experiences you want to have.  Perhaps you even book some of these ahead of time so you don’t miss out.

So, by now you have the destination, the dates, the flights, the accommodation, and likely to now have the approximate cost of the trip all sorted, right?

The point, there is a process you go through when you plan a trip.

You don’t just rock up at the airport, hop on a plane with no destination or plans in place and hope for the best, right?  Although it would be an interesting experience…

So why would you focus on investments, property investments, SMSF’s, returns, super, tax or completely the wrong things without a destination in mind? or would you?

The point is you would meticulously plan your holidays and in some cases to the finest of details.  But when it comes to retirement (yes, that dirty word, the word we don’t want to talk about) we have no clear plans of what we are trying to achieve.

There is a journey we go on to get there, that requires the same amount of planning as a holiday.

Now I’m not saying you need to have every little detailed sorted, as life has its twists and turns.

What I am saying is you need to have some rough idea on what that looks like, a rough guide.

You could be 30, 20, 10 or 5yrs out, no matter the amount of time we are all heading there, some will arrive in style and have the lifestyle they want and a lot will arrive in an absolute mess wondering why it ended that way.

Here’s the question that you need to be asking before you plan or invest into anything:-

Where do you want to be in 5, 10, 15, 20 yrs from now?

If you can’t answer that question, break it down into the below:-

In terms of income, what income do want to have at different stages?

What lifestyle do you want to be experiencing?

Where do you want to be in terms of paying down the mortgage?

Where do you want to be in terms on your wealth between now and then?

What about in terms of travel? What travel would you have liked to completed?

What about in terms of educating your kids?

What about your legacy?

What about money in the bank?

These questions are all the details part that lead to your destination, ie retirement to allow you to experience the spoils and live a lifestyle that you desire.

You need to know the answers to these questions before you make any investment, invest in property, look at SMSF’s, super, tax and any other wrongs things.

Just like a holiday. you will know how much it will cost.  I know this is slightly different but if you know what your retirement is going to look like (does not need to be exact, just a good idea), you’ll be able to gain an approximate costing.

Once you have that, you can look at where you are now in comparison to what you will need to have.

This is what will drive your investment decisions, whether you invest in shares or property, whether you actually need an SMSF, what you need to put into super and then any tax advantages you can undertake along the way to help out.

It will also help drive the amount of risk you are going to need to take.

You see, for most, they focus on the wrong metric.  I’ve spoken more about it here>>.

Yes, we all want the best returns, however, no one can control the return we get, this is totally out of our control.

The only metric we can control is whether we are on track to achieving our goals or not and how we can contribute to that.

I’ve asked this question of many people to get them focused on the right things:-

“If you achieved everything you wanted too and never ever beat the market, would you be happy with that?”

I’m sure your answer to this is going to be yes.  I am yet to come across anyone who has said no to this.

The reason for this question is getting the focus on the right things, the things we can control.

Now, no one can control what returns the investment markets generate, but we can control how much we save, where we put that money, what strategies we employ, these are the things you have control over.

So, focus on the right metrics, work out your destination first, work out your gap and then focus on the activities or strategies to fill the gap.

My question to you is if you meticulously plan out your holidays why wouldn’t meticulously map out your road to your retirement lifestyle?

If you are a long way out and this is not on your radar, then it should be, it should form part of your longer-term plan.  You’ll have your shorter term lifestyle goals you want to achieve while planning for this as well.  The early you start planning, the greater benefits you will gain from compounding and perhaps less work at the tail end of your working life.

Need some help with this?

If you haven’t done so already, you can download “The Start Right Guide to Designing Your Designed Lifestyle” by clicking here>>


Want to get on the right track, know exactly what is possible, get there quicker?  Book a 15 min make more of what you have call with us here>>

We’ll get on the phone for a quick chat and:-

  1. Have a quick look at the issues you are facing or wanting to address and perhaps couple you don’t know about.
  2. Help you diagnose what might be getting in the way.
  3. Give you clarity about the main actions you should be taking now to get you ahead quicker.

Make it a great Life!

Glenn Doherty – CFP – Founder & Financial Organiser at Jigsaw Private Wealth



Mob: 0401 253 729

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Advice Disclaimer: Any reference in this publication to the provision of advice refers to advice of a generic nature, and should not be taken as product or investment recommendations. Before any action is taken based on the information provided, independent financial advice from a licensed financial adviser should be sought. Financial Freedom Project Pty Ltd ATF GA & DC Doherty Family Trust Trading as Jigsaw Private Wealth is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Exelsuper Advice Pty Ltd. The information contained in this publication is of a factual nature only and is not intended to constitute financial product advice. Information is current as at date of publication. This is an online information blog. It does not imply an offering of securities.

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