The Dash

30.10.2020

Amidst all of the doom and gloom of a second wave and threat of a second national lockdown, I hope that you are able to remain positive and that you and your families are safe and well.

I was recently reminded of Linda Ellis’ poem The Dash, and remembered that we shared it with our clients a few years back. I thought that it was very relevant now given the times we find ourselves in and the work we do with our clients. You can read the poem in full here.

The Dash talks about the life of a man who has passed away, being talked about by his friend at the funeral. The friend refers to everything that he had done and achieved during his life as being represented by ‘the dash’; the space between the two dates of birth and death on his headstone.

The poem has lots of resonance outside of financial planning, of course, but it also speaks to us about what financial planning is really about and why it can be so important.

During the course of the poem, the speaker notes that what was important about the man was not what he owned, ‘the cars…the house…the cash’, but what he had done and the lives he had touched. He goes on to consider ideas of living a good life, putting things right that we know are wrong, changing how we live for the better.

There’s truth in the poem that, ultimately, your pile of cash is meaningless next to the things that you can do with it. Money is merely an enabler for things to happen and, if those things are good and lasting, they tend to have more impact on us and others than transient things we could spend the money on; a new car or house, for example.

True happiness, the poem suggests, is not about building up ‘things’, but in making sure that you have no regrets, putting wrongs right and living life the right way. Money can, of course, help to do all of those things, but it is not those things in and of itself, it is merely a way to get to the place that you want to reach.

So the next time you sit down to think about your financial planning goals, make sure that you are truly thinking about what you really want to achieve. Not increased revenue, or the next purchase, or to what accounts your money needs to be assigned; but what would genuinely make you happier; your life more fulfilled; your ‘dash’ better lived.

In other news, we know that physical and mental wellbeing are closely linked so as a company we set ourselves physical challenges to encourage and support each other in keeping well. Our latest challenge “Step it up” focused on achieving more that 8,000 steps a day with the winner being the person to achieve most steps. Not a huge goal but when you are sitting at your desk all day it’s easy to forget to build in time to exercise. This challenge had the double benefit of supporting Wells Dementia Action Alliance (WDAA) as like many charities they have been unable to hold their usual fundraising activities. This can be a very isolating and confusing time for those with Dementia so maintaining awareness is key. Any funds that we can raise along the way help to provide support for example for funding PPE for a day centre or providing MP3 players for those who are admitted to hospital make a real difference.

This initiative is being taken up by the wider community over the half term weeks when we are encouraging people to walk in their bubbles either along a designated route or in their local outdoors for more information visit https://www.facebook.com/WellsDAA

Best wishes

Damien RylettCEO