O'Donnell Kerr Financial Planners
  • 12 February, 2015

There but for the Grace of God go I

Realise your Dream 

The Realise Your Dream blogs are written by Peter Kelly and Mark Teale. More information about the authors can be found here 

For everyone reading this: you do need to remember that your health and the ability to look after yourself is just as important as the wealth you aim to create. Understand your body and what it requires to operate efficiently should be your first priority.

Visiting a residential care home is an eye opener and when you have loved ones living in these facilities it is also extremely sad. You owe it to your children and your partners to avoid ending up in one as best you can.

‘There but for the Grace of God go I’.

This is a common phrase of humility. That the good fortune and the associated blessings which have made my life comfortable and enjoyable can be attributed to fate. In other words, our life is in the hands of ‘God’.

The phrase is attributed to John Bradford in reference to a group of prisoners whom he observed being led to their execution.

And who may you ask; was John Bradford? He was a protestant priest from 16th century England whose “good fortune” disappeared under the reign of Mary Tudor, a Catholic… so he was burnt at the stake.

I think the lesson here is very simple: “misfortune” does not discriminate.

When you retire to enjoy ’my time‘, your thoughts turn to all things good – travel, devoting more time to your hobbies and interests, spending time with family and friends and ticking all those must do aspirations off the bucket list.

Is there something wrong with a person taking this attitude? Absolutely not, you have been disciplined, have saved and prepared well for ‘my time’. You deserve to now relax and enjoy.

Now I certainly do not want to rain on anyone’s parade, but you need to be mindful of a couple of not-so-nice facts – as you age, the chances of a health “misfortune” increase dramatically.

According to a 2004/05 National Health Survey conducted by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), between the ages of 47 and 64, the percentage of the people free from a chronic health condition is a reasonable 47% however, beyond age 65, only 18.4% of people are free from a chronic health condition.

Even more frightening is that 22.9% of the population aged 65+, suffer from three or more chronic conditions.

In some instances, health ‘misfortune’ cannot be avoided no matter how well you may look after yourself. But reducing the risk of a health “misfortune” requires the same approach as is required in accumulating retirement savings.

You need to understand what your body requires to operate efficiently and effectively, what foods are good and what damages the excesses of sugar, fat and alcohol can do our body over time. Realising that a sedentary life without movement is not just lazy, it is also harmful.

Like savings, once you know what you need to achieve to reach your goals you then require the discipline to put this plan into action and stay for the long haul.

Your health is just as important to ’my time‘ as the accumulation of superannuation or other retirement savings. Both are important and neither should be underestimated.

So, when you eventually retire and you have achieved your goals in both areas of health and wealth and you do see someone whose retirement is not all that it should be, you can then reflect on ‘There go I except for the grace of my own Foresight and Discipline’.

Share This Artcle :