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I'm an executive with a world leading organisation. I work roughly 16 hours a day and live away from my family during the week as work is 200 miles from the family home. I am thrust or thrust myself into complex situations and problems and lead us out. I find the pressure I put myself under dreadful. Anything less that wholly positive comments about my success in leading these projects makes me sick with worry and drives me low.
I have a very modest mortgage on an expensive house that is in very good condition and unlikely to need work for the next 20 years, pension savings are around £300k and I am 45. I have no savings yet for childrens college fees or deposits for their first houses. I earn around £300k pa and of that around £170k comes in an annual bonus. I obviously pay quite a lot of tax on that bonus so the net cash receipt from the annual bonus is more like £80kish. To provide for my family in a manner in which I dont think they will struggle I need them to have an income of (say) £30k pa after tax for the next 20 years (family allowance will add to that) plus £100k each for the children for college fees plus (say) £100k each for deposits for houses. I am less concerned about spouse pension as her parents are wealthy and the inheritance will be £600k or so in due course although that will come in 30 years or so.
My wife was a teacher but never enjoyed work and gave up work to plan for a family. She never earned enough to have savings. My children are 4 and 6. My wife is what I might describe as old school british stiff upper lip. Negtive discussions about feelings (mine or hers) are met with anger and aggression.
If I admitted how much pressure I felt at work , my employer would be very supportive and steps would be taken to manage my workload down but the bonuses would fall to pretty much £nil as well. That means I could save around £30k after tax per annum after paying all bills but would only be able to accumulate £450k (in real terms) by my organisations retirement date of 60 after making some measure of pension saving and that would still mean living away from home in a bedsit for the next 15 years.
However, if I died in the next year or so the payment that comes into my estate from "Death in Service" because I have very enhanced benefits is roughly £1.0m. If I died the family would have the money I think they need (30k x 20 = 600 + college fees of 100 x 2 + house deposits of 100k x 2) is £1m.
If I died my family would of course would not see me but I don't see them now anyway. I will be relieved from living in a bedsit with intense pressure and work for the next 15 years.
I is not clear if death in service pays on suicide. It appears to be a matter looked at on a case by case basis. Moreover, if I had a handgun that would be simple (grab gun and shoot at a very low moment) but I don't, and clambering out onto a ledge or bridge has too much drama and risk. I once tried overdosing but was just very very sick; lots of retching so no one knows about that and I am now worried about the death in service not coming through if the cornoner concluded suicide.
I have therefore adopted an alternative strategy of accelerating my death to the maximum extent and have kept it up for 3 - 4 yrs now. During the week I eat 4 mars bars (or similar) per day and drink only strong coffee but take nothing else unless I am at a business lunch etc. Obviously no one sees me tucking into 3 or choc bars for an evening meal. I do not exercise. I wash my hands and arms in brake fluid every evening when I get in as its hugely cancerous (I keep a bucket of it under the sink in the bedsit bathroom). I cut the filters short on malborough and smoke 30 a day (smoking more than 30 is really hard). I am supposed to have an annual medical but I have dodged them for the last few years. I get 4 hours sleep a night and have that as an engrained pattern.
While I am not fat or look really ill, I am starting to notice some signicant physiological changes. I don't feel well in myself at all. Terminal illness will result in the big payout at the end and after fathering two children and providing for them fully I will have fulfilled most of my role as a parent. I am very confident my wife will do a super job bringing them up - she is a good mother.
I cannot see a downside in my plan though and, after pursuing it for years now I am still comfortable with it. I have obviously got some psycological issues but seeking treatment will remove work pressure but also reduce family wealth and not see me meet my objectives for them. I love my family but I think circumstances make them remote to me and I am, as I say, comfortable with my plan. One could say not pursuing this strategy would be very selfish in my precise circumstances.
However, I am a very well developed business executive and understand the power of team. Can you be my team and comment if you see a downside to the plan above I may have missed. Obviously there are downsides but they relate to me, not others and I am indifferent to me.
Thanks and apologies for the length of this briefing.
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