The four “what ifs” that made me think…

I saw a presentation this week that really made me think. It was by a financial advisor who posed four challenging “what if” questions.

The first was “what if I live too long?” Not one I’d really thought about before. Basically it’s the scenario that I live longer than my money lasts. With so many people living longer and needing nursing care in their final years it’s a real issue. Auto enrolment means most people will have some sort of a pension but will it be anywhere near enough to provide for an extended old age?

Thinking laterally, how is HR going to handle people whose health begins to affect their performance but who don’t want – or can’t afford – to retire? Do we have a plan for that?

“What if I die too soon?” Sadly one of the Chiumento team died a few years ago so we know how fragile life can be.

One thing I suddenly realised when I was made redundant was that I no longer had death in service benefit. I’ve never driven so cautiously in my life as I did for the thankfully short period I was out of work. I wonder how many people just take that benefit for granted?

“What if I can’t work for an extended period?” For many people who get made redundant finance is a big worry. Even quite large redundancy payments can go quite quickly. Given my recent blog questioning whether there is any such thing as a permanent job any more should we all be running our finances to ensure we have the resilience to deal with a period of unemployment at least once in our careers?

“What if I don’t have a will?” I do, but I wonder how many people don’t? That’s a good question to ask people at the rugby club this weekend. It may seem morbid but the implications of not having one can be significant…

All of this added up to reminding me why we include Financial Planning Learning Events on many of our outplacement programmes. If you are a current Chiumento delegate I really urge you to go on this workshop. If you are a member of our Alumni we’d be happy to welcome you too – just email Katy Nicholls ( and check on availability.

Since going to my presentation I have spoken to a Chartered Financial Planner about my own mortgage. The savings are incredible. Like many I am sure, I was bouncing along on a standard variable rate deal. What if I take the new deal? I’ll be able to afford to buy that beach hut I’ve been hankering after…

Ian Gooden
Chief Executive

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