Take the ‘one life’ approach to your wealth

First published on 04 of January 2017 • Updated 23 of January 2017

Just what is the best way to improve your finances in the long term? It doesn’t have to be about austerity and tightening your belt. Craig Palfrey of Penguin Wealth invites you to think differently about your finances in 2017, with a more philosophical approach.


Money is there to help you improve your life. It’s amazing how many people get this the wrong way round. One of the cornerstones of our approach at Penguin Wealth is to focus in on the ‘one life’ approach to thinking about your finances. What does this mean?

Our premise is simple. ‘You have just one life – so live it well.’ That might sound to you like a cat poster, but in reality it has profound implications for financial planning. The ‘one life’ approach emphasises how important it is to see your financial decisions in the context of your wider life goals and ambitions.

We meet many, many people who work their financial planning or strategies around their finances, when they should be planning their finances around their lives. It’s a crucial difference. If you treat money as a thing which exists in its own right, you will probably make different decisions than if you think about money as a means to supporting your wider life goals. So what you need to be doing – if you want to be happy – is linking your financial planning decisions directly to what you want from your life.

It’s about time, too…

The other key aspect of the ‘one life’ approach is how it affects your attitude to time. There is not a lot of time in one life! We are all encouraged to think and plan for the long-term, but what does this really mean? It is a fair suggestion in many respects, because successful investing (for instance) often requires patience and a certain amount of time for results to materialise. However, it also highlights why there is a need to take your finances very seriously indeed – because it may be years before a poor decision becomes evident, and it may take many more years to correct that poor decision.

Mistakes in investment are not just costly in themselves; they can also be costly in the amount of time they take to overcome. This is time you may simply not have. Therefore, being able to avoid a financial mistake, such as losing money in some form of venture, or simple picking the wrong balance of investments, is a valuable quest in its own right. A pound saved is a pound earned, after all. In the long game of investing, ‘not making mistakes’ is arguably more important than anything else.

This is where expertise comes into its own. Securing expert help for your financial planning can deliver enormous benefits over the long term. This, in turn, means that you should choose where you seek that help very carefully indeed.

Remember, the long-term becomes the short-term very quickly. Ensuring that your financial plans, decisions and actions all work to support your life goals is one of the most valuable things you can do. Keep reminding yourself that you only get one shot at this – your ‘one life’ – and it will spur you into asking the right questions and getting the advice you really need.

Craig Palfrey is a Certified Financial Planner at Penguin Wealth, which has been voted the best Financial Adviser firm in Wales by MoneyAge, Citywire’s New Model Adviser and Professional Adviser. Craig is also co-author of The Wealth Secret, Penguin Wealth’s book on financial planning, with all proceeds going to LATCH, the Welsh children’s cancer charity.