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  1. Wealth
January 5, 2009

The best things…

By Spear's

Resolving your resolutions in January is apparently the easiest way to doom them – so here is a ‘lifestyle change’ instead.

New year, no resolutions. Resolving your resolutions in January is apparently the easiest way to doom them. There is, however, one lifestyle change (a sufficient euphemism) which could help: taking the mania out of money.

Even – or perhaps especially – in wealth management, it is worth taking a step back from a lucre-centred worldview. Whereas for large parts of the last decade ‘how to spend it’ was a key sign of success, not the slogan for a profound misapprehension of values, now, with private recessionary pressures and public austerity pressures, money is in reserve.

All of which is to say that appreciating what is free is the way forward.

I don’t mean sunshine and rainbows and bewhiskered kittens, although these are rather lovely. There is – certainly in London – no end of activities which will cost you no more than Tube fare and an expensive coffee afterwards.

For a start, museums and art galleries have their permanent collections open for free. These are no small fry: now that the Francis Bacon show at Tate Britain (£12.50) has finished, several of his visceral masterpieces will return to free viewing. The British Museum covers the entire of human creative history and Sir John Soane’s Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields is a treasury of the most curious items.

If you are more of a sunshine type, then the parks of London are glorious lungs amid the pollution. Admittedly, now is not the time for the factor 10, but winter air (currently so cold ice crystals can form in your mouth) is at least refreshing, and there are few indulgences that the benefit of strolling about for an hour cannot justify.

There are even websites which can supply your route around London for you, if you fancy something less green.

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This may all be too upbeat, chirpy even. If you want to be hard-nosed, think about it in this way: you’ve paid your taxes – now is the time to reap their municipal benefits.

This is not a resolution – those are made to be broken. It’s a mindset change which reassigns value to enjoyment, not to price. Free isn’t only for those who can’t afford not-free.

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