Even right-brain people want a nice retirement

It’s no big secret: I’m more of a right-brain person. Apparently this has something to do with the fact that I’m terrible at money. Or maybe it works the other way round. I can’t remember the exact direction of causality, but in the experience of Tom de Lange, chief investment officer at Emperor Asset Management, right-brain people and money management are like oil and water.

So imagine how bug-eyed I was at the start of Gigabucks, a two-day wealth-planning and investment-strategy workshop that Tom runs for clients and friends of Emperor (one of CN&CO’s favourite clients).

This official blurb says, “The course is designed for investors at any stage of their lives and gives attendees insights into their investment behaviour. It also provides a suitable framework to develop the right frame of mind for any investment decision, including how to deal with the emotional aspect of investing.”

The intro was obviously written by a right-brain person, which probably explains why there were so many of them on the course with me! All my fellow “attendees” were either hard-core investors, or worked in the asset management industry. As they introduced themselves, my eyes got more and more bugged. “Perhaps this is the wrong place for me,” I thought.

But then I realised that right-brain people also want to retire one day. I certainly do, although until I went on Gigabucks, I hadn’t really visualised what I wanted that retirement to look like. And that’s how the course started.

“What is your dream?” asked Tom.

This is not far off how I imagine retirement

Simple question, right? But think about it in terms of retirement. What do you really want it to look like? Nice house, nice car, enough money to live comfortably, travel the world, etc. And?

And… that’s when the real conversations started.

“Retirement, for me, is being able to do what you enjoy without having to earn a living out of it,” says Tom. “Perhaps you’re already doing what you love – then you can just carry on doing it, but on your terms.

“Life doesn’t end when you retire. You will still be the same person you are now, with the same dreams and interests. It doesn’t have to be a 180-degree turnaround.

“But (and it’s a big but) you need money to fund your dream retirement – and it needs to be enough money.”

For me, Gigabucks was a massive wake-up call. It exposed my bad financial habits and helped me to see what to do today to avoid having to survive on cat food in my twilight years. Yes, there’s a bit of logic and maths involved in the course. Fortunately, I have enough of a right-brain that I didn’t get stranded on a remote Excel spreadsheet somewhere in the ether. But the Gigabucks message was way more powerful than the maths.

Did I understand it all? Not entirely, but I learnt a lot. Gigabucks highlighted for me how much I DON’T know and lit a fuse under my behind to start taking control of my finances. It really isn’t a huge investment in terms of time. Tom recommends eight hours a month. I’ve done about four so far. Already I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders that I didn’t even know was there. Now I can start making proper arrangements for where I want to be in 20 years’ time. Cheers to that!

P.S. That multi-coloured quilt on the wall in the pic at the top of this article is actually not a quilt at all, but a spreadsheet… which is actually not as complicated to understand as it looks. In fact nothing is all that complicated. But that’s another story for another blog. (It’s pretty, though, isn’t it? The spreadsheet, I mean.)