I lost a mate this week, not someone I was really close to, but a 27 year old man I had a great deal of respect for. He spent his last days in a hospice and died with his Homer Simpson slippers on.
Coincidentally, I also saw something doing the rounds of Facebook written by a nurse who worked in palliative care about the top five regrets of the patients the nurse had cared for over the years.
The nurse wrote:
“When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. This was the most common regret of all.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard. This came from every male patient that I nursed.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.”
It’s at times like when you lose a friend that you tend to reflect on your own life and mortality. You ask yourself if you would have the courage to stare death in the face. Would you try to go out with a bang? Would you regret anything?
My favourite quote, from a source I do not know, is – Nobody ever said on their deathbed “I wish I’d spent more time at the office.” It is a mantra I try to live by (and, yes, I am on leave from my full time job spending time with family as I write this). Of the five points above, it fits perfectly with number 2, and it also fits with how I define financial freedom for myself.
You may decide that financial freedom for you is different. Perhaps it involves owning rental properties, shares and expensive goods, maybe it’s about having enough to go on holiday every year, but it’s likely that most people would include an element of not having to work too hard within their personal definition.
There are many ways to achieve financial freedom, like marrying into money, receiving a large inheritance, or running a successful business. But these ways are not options for us all. What is an option for just about everyone is to have your finances sorted, and I’ve never met anyone who regretted doing that.
RIP Pete Veness