We all, to a greater or lesser extent, have an idea of our dream lifestyle. So how, as a nation, are we faring?
To find out, the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) commissioned a survey of more than 2,600 people from around the country. The resulting Live the Dream report provides an insight into the extent to which we are collectively living our dream life and, more importantly, reveals key habits and characteristics of those who are already doing so.
What’s the dream?
Of course, everyone has a different concept of a dream life. However, across all age groups, three definitions topped the list:
- having the lifestyle of my choice;
- having financial freedom and independence;
- having safety and security.
More specific aspects ranged across travel, family time, career and hobbies.
Are we living it?
Overall, just on a quarter of those surveyed are ‘definitely’ or ‘mostly’ living their dream. That may in part be due to the fact that most Australians are in the workforce and haven’t yet reached a point of true financial independence. Nonetheless, it reveals that there is a sizeable gap between the lifestyle that most of us are actually living and the one we want.
There’s no prize for guessing that a low bank balance is the number one barrier to having a permanent Nirvana lifestyle. Debt and a lack of time were the other major blockers.
Pursuing the dream
The good news is that there are some simple, key characteristics more commonly associated with those who are living their dream life. These people are more likely to plan – and to stick to those plans. They are more likely to seek advice from a financial planner. Interestingly, they are also more likely to meditate.
Age is a poor indicator of the extent to which we live our dream. Instead, the strongest influence revealed by the study was personality type.
Leading the race are the go-getters, with their big goals, clear idea of what they want in life, and a willingness to seek advice.
Bringing up the rear are the cruisers. They’re not great ones for forward planning but they are out there enjoying life now.
In between are the daydreamers and builders.
The number one solution
This doesn’t mean that the only solution for those not living the dream is to have a personality transplant! Personality is a fundamental part of who we are and most people display attributes from all of the personality types. Even the most dedicated cruiser will have a little of the go-getter lurking within. It’s simply a matter of nurturing the desire to go after your dream – and you don’t even have to do all the hard work.
According to Live the Dream the three most challenging aspects of planning are:
- not knowing what you want;
- finding the resources to help create a plan; and
- finding the time to plan.
Even before a plan is made, almost a quarter of those surveyed know they wouldn’t stick to it anyway.
If those seem like insurmountable barriers, then talk to someone who lives to plan – a qualified financial planner.
He or she can help you define your particular dream, identify the steps to achieve it, and save you time. And stay close by to keep you committed.
Once in place, your planner can nurture your inner go-getter, helping you step-by-step so that soon you won’t just be planning the dream, but living it.