Dear Evan Hansen
On Friday I saw the musical “Dear Evan Hansen”. It’s a new musical with an American genre of singing, the name of which I have yet to learn. Sliding notes, somewhere between singing and speaking at times. It’s difficult to sing and perfect for the cracking voiced teenagers that are the protagonists.
For those of you that have had or have teenagers, some of the story may feel familiar. Perhaps some will resonate with the sense of needing a map to navigate the changing relationship. The awkward non-conversations around the family dining table.
Sometimes life sucks. Despair is very real. Our children and peers (and we too) are inundated with images of the “perfect life” that is right in front of our noses. Envy never had a better incubator; the gap is both closer and ever further away. The sense of futility that some feel is palpable. Little wonder many feel powerless and disillusioned. When it’s our own children, we don’t so much need a map as to read the signs, as uncomfortable as they may be.
Of course, this happens to other people doesn’t it…. Never around our own dining tables… how about when we hear stories about fantastic investment portfolios, holidays, model students and everyone living their dreams? I’m not “having a go” or trying to make anyone feel uncomfortable, simply making the point that all of us confront embellished, edited versions of others, which can make us feel insecure.
You Are Not Alone
Most of us have resources and support structures to help us through dark days. Many do not. This exaggerates the sense of aloneness and sadly for 6,509 people in the UK in 2018 the sense of despair was too great, resulting in suicide. It seems that men aged between 45-49 are the most likely to take their own lives. Thankfully a small proportion of the 541,589 deaths in England and Wales. However, what is surprising is that suicide is the leading reason for death for males and females from ages 5-34.
On social media I often see teenagers being criticised and twenty-somethings described as snowflakes. I hope that most of this is simply thoughtless, which would aptly describe most of the content. However, if we dismiss voices of despair with terms like “buck up” or “pull yourself together” we miss what is going on, perhaps to our great cost.
We seem comfortable with the idea that small children are sponges, soaking up and regurgitating all that they see, hear and experience. Yet we seem unwilling to acknowledge that teenagers are another reflection, perhaps lacking the right words, but manifesting clear signs that something isn’t right.
We may wish to dismiss adolescence as hypersensitive, exaggerated emotions caused by the swirling mass of hormones in a state of change. There’s a partial truth, but the sense of being alone and without any apparent hope also reveals the state of our own communities.
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If we model “success” as having, owning and gaining, for those that don’t the disconnection can be a lethal combination. So perhaps when a well-meaning friend recounts tales of how wonderfully their portfolio has performed and it leaves you feeling uneasy, remember your goals are not theirs, a different purpose is at play, one based on your values.
My goal is to help clients think about the life they want, not simply the satisfactory version of a holiday brochure. What are you passionate about? What makes you tick? What is uniquely you? Where is your voice? And what do you have to say? How can I help build the financial architecture around you to make that a reality? Can we find that together?
Here’s the promotional video for Dear Evan Hansen. You can also find out about the show and order tickets using this link.
You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email email@example.com