Skip to main content
  • Register
  • Help
  • Contact us
  • Log out of your HL account

Letter to your younger self

It’s not uncommon for people to wish they had done things differently with their finances. If your future self could talk to you, what advice would they give you?

Important notes

This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.


The year is 2039 and I’m 80 but for you it’s 2019 and you’re 60. In 2039, Brexit is still being negotiated and various other economic and political changes have also happened. But aside from casting your vote, there’s not much you can do. I’m writing to you from the future to let you know what you can control.

Don’t work as hard or long. I know right now you think you’ve still got to work for another five to seven years. You think that you need that time to save more into your pension and that without a job, life will lack purpose. 20 years on and I can tell you, you’re wrong on both fronts.

If you get an adviser to look at your retirement funds, you’ll see that if you manage your money well, you’ve already got enough to retire comfortably. As for lacking purpose, that money you’ve been tucking way can be used to give you purpose in other ways.

Take it from me, spending more time with the family and going after new goals is far more rewarding than slogging on in your job for another few years. Go and see more of the world, do that charity work you’re always too busy to do and treat yourself (and your family) more often.

Take more risks. I’m not suggesting you take up snowboarding or put £1000 on a horse at the Grand National. But investment wise, you can probably take on more risk than you think. Risk sounds scary when you’re talking about your retirement nest egg but the old adage of ‘no risk no reward’ is sometimes true (within reason).

Even though things like Brexit cause uncertainty, you still have enough time on your side for markets to hopefully recover. An expert can help you identify where you can afford to take on more risk so that you can try and maximise your returns.

Keep your hands on the wheel. Making regular contributions isn’t enough to maximise your pot. Make sure you review your investments and if you’re unsure about anything, ask for help from an adviser.

When you retire, don’t take your eye off the ball either. Make sure you have a plan for making your money last and coping with a few things which come out of nowhere. Remember, your wealth is like your health – if you don’t maintain it, you’ll go downhill. So once you’ve finished checking your finances, reward yourself with some exercise (mental and physical).

Pass it on. And start passing it on early. As your 80 year old self, I can tell you that Tim and Sarah will thank you for it. Planning around inheritance tax is crucial to make sure that you pass on as much of your hard earned cash as possible without it going to HMRC. Plus, it’s nice to see your family putting your money to good use while you’re still around. It’s a tricky business though, so don’t try to go it alone – ask an expert.

A lot of this wisdom is easier said than done. You have the power to do all of this yourself but be prepared to do some research. In any case, there’s no shame in putting your hand up for some help. I’ve put my hand up for help too late in life and here’s what I’ve learnt about picking a good adviser:

  • Check their professional qualifications
  • Make sure they’re old enough to have some experience and young enough to see you through
  • Ask to see feedback from previous clients
  • Make sure they genuinely have your interests at heart
  • Shop around and select carefully

Probably the most important thing I have to say is that, money is worthless if you don’t use it to enjoy yourself. Don’t forget to use it now and in the future to do more of what you love – make the next 20 years count.

If you do everything I say, you’ll never receive this letter because I won’t need to send it. What a paradox…



This article is not personal advice, if you’re uncertain about the future or you just want some help planning your finances, our advisers can help. It all starts with a quick call with our helpdesk.

They’ll listen to your goals and if advice is right for you they’ll point you in the direction of the most suitable advice service.

Book a callback

Important notes

This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

Daily market update emails

  • FTSE 100 riser and faller updates
  • Breaking market news, plus the latest share research, tips and broker comments

Related articles

Category: Essentials

Drawing up a financial lifeline

We look at a novel way to help with planning your finances, and how our advisers can help.

Bruce Pearce

06 Mar 2019 5 min read

Category: Essentials

Chartered financial adviser: 'The first thing I always tell my clients to do'

Chartered financial adviser Clive Thomas reveals his number one tip for all investors.

Clive Thomas

25 Mar 2019 3 min read

Category: Essentials

Is gifting really over?

Could you save tax by making use of your allowances this year?

Bruce Pearce

15 Jan 2019 3 min read

Category: Essentials

Award-winning Financial Adviser answers ''how can I save tax on my investments?''

Investment Planner of the Year, Nicola Meadows, answers some common questions about tax.

Nicola Meadows

12 Jan 2018 5 min read