In Focus: Retirement Income  

We need to balance clients' health, wealth and happiness

We need to balance clients' health, wealth and happiness
Photo by Mike via Pexels

If your clients were lucky, the past 12 or so months may have solely impacted how they feel about their health, wealth and happiness.

For those who were less fortunate, it will have affected much more than how they feel.

Whoever you are, the pillars from which all of our lives dangle – health, wealth and happiness – have never felt more exposed and likely to crumble.  

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More than ever, we exist in an environment of anxiety around tomorrow and what it may bring. On the flip side, it has also made us question what it is that truly makes us happy. LifeSearch’s report shows us swinging towards the simple things: family, travel, even time with our pets.

As a nation, our Health, Wealth and Happiness Index hit its lowest level in a decade when the first lockdown hit in the second quarter of 2020.

Our health and happiness both reached record lows during that period, but our wealth has yet to reach its nadir, likely shielded by government support.

With that support ending soon, isn’t now the time to protect ourselves and build our long-term financial stores against the unknown that is to come? 

On a granular level, the impact of the pandemic on household finances is split across the population.

Some, with a little luck, regrouped or levelled up during the pandemic. Others got swept up. Some tapped new heights in health and raised their financial game. Others struggled to stay afloat.  

Almost a third (29 per cent) feel better off financially now versus pre-pandemic, while one in four (24 per cent) feel worse off. Either way, 72 per cent have concerns for their wealth and finances as we look to the future. 

The instability and insecurities that the past year has provided, perhaps combined with more time at home, has meant that many have chosen this time to take stock of their finances; more than half of all consumers have re-evaluated their finances, rising to 76 per cent among those aged 18-34.   

The household savings ratio hit a record high of 25.9 per cent in Q2, so perhaps it’s no surprise to find that a similar number (24 per cent) have saved money; with a fifth having reviewed spending more closely.

However, only 9 per cent of people in our study said that the pandemic had motivated them to take out life cover, critical illness cover or income protection and just 3 per cent have sought advice from a financial adviser.

With lockdown easing and the vaccine rollout going well, we will, hopefully, see an uptick across our health, wealth and happiness in the next quarter.

But the legacy of whole industries shutting down, government borrowing, suppressed wages and rising unemployment are all pointing to more turbulence ahead. So now more than ever, protecting families at the business-end of our economy must surely be a route to securing our future.