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  • Ben Graham-Nellor

What are your lifestyle goals?

Pre covid, I loved to travel. In 2020 I had a wonderful trip to Europe planned that got thrown out the window, just like everyone else’s plans. However, I can’t wait to travel again, it is a lifestyle goal that my wife and I hold dear.

So often when people think of goals they get caught up looking well into the future. Planning and projecting retirement and beyond is where our focus usually lies. There is nothing wrong with this, approaching retirement or living in retirement can be some of the most financially complicated years you will ever face. Juggling super, pensions, cost of living etc can be hard.

But what about the rest of your life? Should all of our focus be on the ‘final’ years? Or should we take a more well-rounded approach to our lives and our finances. I, for one, do not want to spend 40-50 years slaving away at work to enjoy a few good years in retirement.

That is where the idea of lifestyle design comes in. What kind of a lifestyle do you want?

Let’s plan around that.

Begin by deciding what is important to you. What are your lifestyle goals?

They may be things like:

  • I want to be available for my children’s school events

  • I want to travel overseas each year

  • I want to allow 1 week of my time each year for charity work

  • I want 1 day a week to work on my passion (whatever that is)

  • I want a weekend away with my partner every 2 months

These are the things that you really want to base your life around. Let’s take me as an example. Many years ago my wife and I decided that we would start our own business and be in control of our own time. It was important to us that I was available to attend concerts, presentations etc at my kids’ schools, which are almost always during business hours.

We also value travel for ourselves and our kids. We believe that taking our children to explore different places and cultures will help them grow into well rounded adults with a healthy global attitude. So, we make it a priority to travel every year or two to a place where we can be immersed in a foreign culture, learn new things, and sometimes become involved in charity work amongst them.

How can we achieve this? Well, we know what our lifestyle goals are. We also know what they are not. We have no desire to consistently upgrade our home. We are still living in the modest home we purchased 14 years ago. Those who know me will know that I am not a ‘car guy’ so we don’t spend much on vehicles.

House and car goals may form part of your lifestyle goals and that is fine, there is no right or wrong answer.

Everybody will have a different version of lifestyle goals but, as is the case for all types of goals, without definition they are never achieved. Defining your goals and planning around them is what is most important.

The next step is planning. How are you going to achieve this? Is your goal based on money? Is it an action? Do you need to set up a savings plan or document steps that will help you reach your lifestyle goal? Do you need someone to help you along the way? Clarifying the steps that you need to take to achieve your goal takes it from a ‘someday’ to a ‘today’. It may also show you that what you want is within your reach. Your great big grand goal may seem impossible, but broken down into steps, it will look a lot more achievable.

Next, you have to pull the trigger. Talking about the big trip or change of job or setting up a business will only get you so far. There comes a time when, with planning and care, you put the plan into action. This could be making the purchase, starting the investment, putting a deposit down etc. Taking real action towards your goal will boost you along and motivate you to follow through.

Is it simple? No, not always, but it can help to have someone in your corner. That’s where we can help. Smart Happy Money financial coaching has been designed with a hands on approach, assisting you to set and reach your lifestyle goals. You may need help defining your goals, planning for them and pulling the trigger. We can help you through each step, as well as being a sounding board for you to bounce ideas off. We are in your corner.

Your goals are never too big or too small if they are right for you. By following the process of defining, planning and pulling the trigger you may be in a better position to achieve your lifestyle goals.

Have a great day.


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Ben Graham-Nellor is an advisor, coach, blogger and speaker who has worked in the financial services industry for over 15 years. He believes that by educating and advising people today, they can improve their tomorrow.

Ben Graham-Nellor is a Sub Authorised Representative (291391) of BGN Financial Management PTY LTD (ABN 45 672 104 196) which is a corporate authorised representative (468796) of Professional Investment Services Pty Ltd (ABN 11 074 608 558) which is the holder of Australian Financial Services License No.234951. Website |

BGN Financial Management PTY LTD is corporate credit representative No 528966 of Centrepoint Alliance Lending ABN 40 100 947 804 (Australian Credit Licence Number 377711)​

Smart Happy Money is a trading name of BGN Financial Management PTY LTD

This information has been provided as general advice. We have not considered your financial circumstances, needs or objectives. You should consider the appropriateness of the advice. You should obtain and consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and seek the assistance of an authorised financial adviser before making any decision regarding any products or strategies mentioned in this communication.


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