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What do you regret in life? We bet it's not money

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By Carlton Crabbe - February 05, 2015

The top 5 regrets of the dying (and not one of them is money)

After years of work with patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives the Australian nurse, Bronnie Ware, wrote down the dying epiphanies of her patients and in doing so, has helped us realise that money doesn't matter in the end. The hugely insightful findings captured in her own blog, are a helpful reminder to us of five of the things that do matter.  

The top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Bronnie Ware:

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

"This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it."


2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.

"This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence."

3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.

"Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result."

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

"Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying."

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

"This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again."

It's difficult to follow these amazing insights, apart from perhaps to say money (and having financial goals) simply helps us accomplish some of our life's goals - it facilitates our journey. Financial planning is simply about helping a client put their priorities in the right order and apportion the money in the right way so they get the best possible chance to live their dreams. Thank you to the patients quoted here who have made us stop and think, if only for 2 minutes.