Author: Kim Potgieter

You are your greatest asset

Kim_Potgieter5It’s time to invest in yourself!

The festive season is approaching, and before you start making lists of all the wonderful gifts to buy for the special people in your life, set some time aside to think about your gift to yourself.

Dr. Seuss says it so well: Today you are You. That is truer than true. There is no one alive, that is youer than you!

I want to remind you today how important you are. You bring something completely wonderful to the world, something unique, something only you can bring. Have you ever stopped to think what your special skill or talent is? What is it about you that has shaped your life so far? And will shape your dreams ahead?

We all have a unique contribution to make, the real question is how to get the most value from your special skill or talent.

While we do, of course, encourage investment in various retirement and annuity portfolios, one of the best investments you will ever make is in yourself. And the sooner you do this, the more valuable you as an asset will become.

 

I love this drawing by Carl Richards: it explains that the longer you wait to invest in yourself, the less valuable you as an asset will become. Put simply, with every year that passes, you have less time to earn money.

The_present_value

Here are my top three considerations to get the most value from yourself:

Invest time and money in your talent

It’s never too late to learn. If you are still in the Wealth Creation phase of your journey, it may be the perfect time to up-skill or even learn a new skill that could benefit you when you retire. Think about how your talent could add value to your life and consider new skills or qualifications that could support you.

I have some wonderful examples that Retiremeant™ clients have shared with me: learning social media skills to promote a new business venture; a bookkeeping course to support a hobby turned into a new career; or a coaching qualification to enhance consulting skills as a mentor coach.

  1. Make your money work for you

You have spent your whole life earning, and possibly still are. Now it’s time that your money works for you. It’s a good idea to keep investing and earning interest, or to use your assets to earn an income – perhaps renting out an extra property or flat on your property. This way your money grows while you are sleeping.

  1. Earn for as long as possible

Consider a parallel life as you near retirement age. Start thinking, and planning, how you can continue earning (even if it’s less than you’re used to) while doing something you love! Many Retiremeant™ clients have started new business ventures in retirement: cake decorating, knitting, building classic cars and even coaching cyclists.

I hope that the next time you look in the mirror, you see yourself through new eyes and remember: You are your greatest asset!

Rising Strong

Kim-Potgieter-1-Retire-Successfully-brand-ambassador

Living a brave life is not easy. It is impossible to be perfect; life itself is not perfect. Brené Brown’s book Rising Strong has inspired me in so many ways to keep trying, to give ‘living’ a chance, despite the inevitable challenges and setbacks that life brings.

My journey to rising strong has not been a once-off event – learning and growing is a process. Brené’s book is a very personal and practical guide to embracing fear and failure and living a more courageous life. It often gives me courage when I find myself at a crossroad.

Those curve-balls life sends us

If we truly want to live and embrace life in its entirety, we have to be prepared for the eventuality that everything does not always work out exactly as planned. Setbacks are inevitable, and at times, we all get stuck in a place of fear, self-doubt and regret. It may just seem easier to accept defeat and retreat into a space that feels safe and secure … but Brené’s message is one of hope, of perseverance and strength.

It is in the acceptance of our vulnerability that we recognize that we are not powerless. In the space of vulnerability, we Brené Brown quote – Rise up with renewed power and strength to rewrite your future have time to accept our setbacks, time to reflect on our experiences, embrace them and practice the art of gratitude for the opportunity to learn from them. This gives us the power to rise up with renewed hope and strength to rewrite our future.

This was so true for me when I entered the financial planning industry. I have always believed that you cannot separate people from money and that a financial plan should support a person’s unique and personal life plan. With this perspective, I brought a new conversation to the traditional financial planning industry which predominantly only focused on investment returns. I knew intuitively that conversations about the client, the life the client wants to live and what their relationship with money is, were equally important.

When swimming upstream, remember your purpose

Re-thinking and challenging the way that financial planning has been done for decades, brought its fair share of criticism. I was constantly questioned by planners in the industry who referred to life planning as the “softer” issues and felt that these did not belong in the world of finances and investment strategies. I had moments of self-doubt and uncertainty and had to remind myself every day to persevere, to stay true to my beliefs and to keep on swimming – even though I was swimming upstream!

What made my journey worth it, and motivated me to keep on following my purpose, were the clients. Every time I had a courageous conversation with a client and saw how they embraced the fact that money can indeed enable a life of meaning, I felt inspired. And watching how clients design their RetiremeantTM as a fulfilling and meaningful next chapter, encourages me to keep rising strong.

I came to coin the concept, RetiremeantTM and define it as having the freedom to achieve your yet unfulfilled dreams and goals, on your terms and in your own time. Despite the challenges along the way, I am truly grateful that in my small way, I have made an impact on people’s lives. I am constantly moved by the stories clients share in Life Planning meetings and have come to realise that our combined knowledge and experiences are powerful stories and lessons that need to be told. This inspired me to start writing a second book, with our relationship with money as its central theme. I am also busy writing a series of e-books, a compilation of stories and lessons that our clients share around unexpected life events in – the RetiremeantTM What If’s.

We find strength together

This newsletter contains snippets of client stories and learnings shared in their journeys to rising strong – more of those in my upcoming e-books! Kate Turkington recently visited us at a Chartered Wealth Solutions and gave an insightful talk on her life in Retiremeant™. For me personally, Kate is a role-model on living Retiremeant™ to the fullest and I hope that you find appreciation and inspiration in her story. If you do have any spare time this weekend, I recommend that you see Brené Brown quote – we don’t have to do all of it alone.“Finding your Feet” which is showing in cinemas now.

By sharing these stories, my wish is that you find comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Just maybe, one of these stories will touch you in some way, inspire you to live a brave life, through all your stumbles and falls, and give you the strength to rise bravely and strong.

We teach what we learn – unintentionally

We have a wonderful opportunity to teach our children responsible and healthy money lessons.

Imagine the possibilities for your children if they grow up with a healthy relationship with money – one where they don’t measure their self-worth by how much money they have … or don’t have. Over the years, many clients have expressed to me their various regrets and happiness around unhealthy and healthy money lessons they had learnt from their parents, and in turn, taught their children.

Some are proud of, and others regret the money messages shared.

As parents, it is our duty to teach our children right from wrong, but at the same time, be aware of not teaching them to be just like us. I am sure many parents have deliberated on messages and behaviours they would like to pass on to their children. And I guarantee you that no parent wants consciously to teach their children bad behaviour and unhealthy habits. or to pass on low self-esteem.

If you had to ask most parents what their number one wish for their children is, the answer will most probably be “happiness.” So how do we teach our children and perhaps grandchildren about money to inspire happy lives?

You can teach your children unintentionally or intentionally. Most communication to our children is probably unintentional. Children learn from what they hear, see and experience while growing up, and if your relationship with money is based on fear, loss and anxiety, then this is the message that you are unintentionally passing on. And in all probability, these were the messages passed on to you by your parents.

Would it surprise you to hear that recent research tells us that children’s money habits are formed by age seven? And that, as adults, we operate on a subconscious level 95% of the time? This means that our conscious mind is really only working 5% of the time while our subconscious mind runs the show most of the time!

Intentional teaching is sharing thoughtful money messages. We as parents can only teach thoughtful messages if we are aware of our own money story, understand our relationship with money and have the wisdom to change the behaviours that don’t serve us, and keep the ones that enable our lives in a positive way.

Real-life examples

I recently participated in a Life Planning meeting with a father and son. The father reflected on the The first step in teaching your kids how to handle money is to be a good example.money messages he heard while growing up. His father taught him to work hard for his money, and with hard work, comes reward. You may consider this to be a positive money message, but reflect for a moment if the message would have been more powerful if it had been about “earning money by adding value”? This father, now 70 years old, is still working hard for his money. He fears that if he is not working hard, he is not adding value and therefore not deserving of earning.

The father unintentionally passed this same message on to his son. He also works incredibly hard but expresses the wish to be able work “cleverly,” so that he can shape a more balanced life for himself. Father and son wholeheartedly agreed that this is a cycle they would like to break. They don’t mind working hard, but recognise the need for balance: more time to laugh, relax and just living the life they were meant to live. I am sure that the constraining message will not be passed on to future generations in this family.

Ingrid is a client who reflects on a very positive and empowering money story passed on to her by her father. Her father empowered his girls to be independent; he supported and sponsored their tertiary education at a time when most women were not encouraged to study. He instilled a belief in them that anything is possible. This belief Ingrid’s father had in her capability and ability to succeed served her well. Because of this, Ingrid has had the courage and determination to follow her true purpose in life – and make a success of it!

It astonishes me how powerful father and son relationships can be. In honour of Father’s Day this month, I would like to share one more father and son story that has inspired me as a mother of two boys. The son shared with me that his father always asked, “How much pocket money do you feel you deserve for the time it took to do your chores?” This money message has had a wonderful positive impact on the son’s life.

Today, he sees earning money as an exchange for time. His most precious commodity in life is “time”. He will therefore always compare the value of his time versus the money that he is earning for his time. He is now planning to retire early from his formal career and re-invent his work so that he and his wife have more time to explore some of their unfulfilled dreams.

My parting thought on learning and teaching is a money message about saving and investing – the value of compound interest. This could be a fun activity to do with your grandchildren. My advice is not to just establish a savings or investment account for them, but rather to involve them in the process, engage with them on how it works – in this way you are helping them to take ownership from a young age.

Wishing you many happy – and intentional – courageous currency conversations in your family!

The cure lies in the cause

Wellness is not a point in time, but a continuous cycle. It is a continuum of cause and effect.

Stress, anxiety and trauma are the most common reasons why people are unwell today.

It’s not the actual trauma or stress that causes your un-wellness, but how you respond or react to these events, the emotions that flow from your experiences, that impact on your well-being.

These are the health lessons presented by Dr Riaz Motara at a recent Lifestyle event for our Retiremeant™ clients.  To say I was inspired by Dr. Motara’s views on wellness is an understatement. I was so enthused that I immediately set up a follow-up appointment: I wanted to learn more!

Dr. Motara’s view on the correlation between health and our thoughts substantiates our Retire Successful philosophy that a healthy mind supports a healthy life. It’s about keeping your body fit, your mind challenged and your heart engaged.

Don’t discount the impact of your emotions
Dr Motara joins many other experts in the field of holistic health when he says that “fear” is the most significant emotion that underpins everything that happens to us as humans. It affects how we approach life, the decisions and choices we make, how we act or react – in fact, fear subconsciously steers almost everything we do.The difficult part is that our emotions are not really a conscious choice to make. We feel, because we react to something in a certain way.

While fear is the core emotion, how we negatively react or feel, based on trauma, are derivatives of fear: hate, anger, disappointment, discontentment, abandonment, loss, insignificance – and the list goes on.

It all sounds so complex, doesn’t it? To explain, I shared with Dr. Motara that the therapist I was seeing after my third high-jacking told me that I brought all this onto myself. That made me angry! No – fuming! Then Dr. Motara explanation made sense: my negative emotions became my self-talk and all my efforts to heal after the trauma were based on overcoming my fear. I was so fixated with fear that I ended up attracting fear into my life. The stress and anxiety actually caused me to become unwell in body and mind.

It’s a matter of the heart
The same applies to your health. Being a cardiologist, Dr. Motara dedicates much thought and research to issues of the heart. He has actually found a strong correlation between depression and heart disease. He says that by treating patients holistically, and by delving into past experiences, he is able to determine when the heart disease started. For example, a client with heart disease also tested for low levels of serotonin. Motara discovered that the feeling of “un-wellness” and heart disease started hand-in hand, shortly after a traumatic life experience.

Motara believes that 50% of the cure of any illness is having insight into what caused it. Ask yourself:

  • When did it start? When can I last remember feeling great?
  • What did I get exposed to?
  • Does this correlate with how I am feeling now?

The answers are inside of us. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to access traumatic memories, but if you delve deep enough, and try to make sense of your behavioural patterns, you could probably pinpoint your health to a specific cause and reaction.

The cornerstone of complete wellness remains a holistic approach. It is essential to consult a medical practitioner to treat your symptoms, but it is also important to work on managing your emotions and dealing with all the challenges that life holds, which most commonly includes stress and anxiety.

 

So, this winter, while it’s cold and gloomy and early morning walks are not as appealing as in summer, why not spend some time exercising your mind towards wellness. I’ll join you in that!

Keep warm and well.

Follow your flow

If you love what you do, it’s play, not work

Ever been so involved in a specific task or project that all else falls away? So immersed in what you are doing that nothing else seems to matter? And the best part – when you finally emerge from your complete absorption, you feel happy … even elated! And you can honestly say that this was the best day of your life. Now imagine feeling like this all the time – this is following your flow.

So, no, time does not pass faster because you are getting older; it flies swiftly when you are engaged with something that resonates with your true and deepest passion. Research by McKinsey spanning a decade shows that people ‘in flow’ are 500% more productive and learn between 200% and 500% faster.

I have spent much time reflecting on what brings meaning to my life. I have realised that it is the people in my life – my family, friends, colleagues and clients – that fill my life with purpose, learning and wisdom. The essence of who I am, what makes my life a meaningful adventure, rests in the sharing of what I have learned … and this is what my career has grown out of. This is what it means to work in the flow.

Flow flavours life with purpose

The benefits of working in our flow is both tangible and intangible. For me, a very important one is Gratitude. It’s that feeling of happiness that blossoms from appreciation. And the emotions of thankfulness just keep on flowing. I am especially grateful for being able to do the work that I love and for the wonderful clients that share in my journey.

A tangible benefit expresses itself in the writing of my second book – and, for good measure, a whole series of e-books about our relationship with money, all with the aim of enabling a successful RetiremeantTM. This journey allows me to spend time interviewing clients in order to share their insights and wisdom on money stories and work re-invention. I am convinced that the success of my first book was partly because of the client stories. It is clear that people learn more from stories than theory. And stories are so powerful!

I am so grateful for the stories that our clients share. Not only do these stories inspire me in my work and in writing my book, but the stories also inspire others in their RetiremeantTM journeys – they are encouraging and support people on so many levels.

Lynda’s story

I recently interviewed our client, Lynda Smith, Founder of Refirement Network and 50-Plus Skills. You can read about her and her venture in this newsletter. With this business initiative, Lynda is certainly working in flow. “If you love the work you do, it’s not work, it’s play,” she says.

Lynda is a prime example of merging her Passion with her Purpose to earn a Play-cheque. But her journey did not just happen. It took nine long years of thinking, planning, dreaming, and visualising her flow to get to where she is today. During those years, Lynda continued working for a salary to pay off debt and to invest towards her retirement fund.

Finding your flow often means a parallel process: the work that you are doing at the moment to service your financial responsibilities and the work you plan to do – work that you are passionate about, work that inspires you.

What I know for sure is that investing time to think about your flow, and, secondly, working in flow, can be so rewarding that it is absolutely worth the extra input of time and energy to reinvent your work-self in RetiremeantTM.

Imagine the possibility of waking up every day and doing the work that speaks to your purpose – your flow. What a glorious sunrise that would be!

Access the April issue of Inflight here

Something that makes you lose track of time

My 50th birthday certainly marked a milestone in my life! And yes, I am still celebrating and excited about the adventures that lie ahead in fulfilling my passions.

I don’t think it has anything to with aging, but I am constantly reminded these days that time indeed flies when you are having fun. Have you ever been so involved in a specific task or project that all else falls away? So immerged in what you are doing that nothing else seems to matter? And the best part – when you finally emerge from your complete absorption, you feel happy! Even elated! And you can honestly say that this was the best day of your life! Now imagine feeling like this all the time.

So no, time does not fly because you are getting older, time flies swiftly when you are active on something that resonates with your true and deepest passion. And the added bonus – a research project by McKinsey and Co. spanning over a period of 10 years has shown that people in flow are 500% more productive and learn between 200 and 500 percent faster.

So yes, although I experience time flying at an immense speed every day, I am thankfully not getting older any faster. I have spent many hours reflecting on what brings meaning to my life, and have realised that it is the people in my life, my family, friends, colleagues and clients, that fill my life with meaning, learning and wisdom. My true happiness, my flow, does not only rest in the learning, but in the sharing. The essence of who I am, what makes my life a meaningful adventure, are these two things: learning and sharing. This is what it means to work in flow.

The benefits of working in flow just keeps adding up. I want to mention one more: Gratitude. That feeling of happiness that flows from appreciation. And the emotions of gratefulness just keep on flowing. I am grateful for being able to do the work that I love and for the wonderful clients that share in my journey.

I am busy writing my second book – and, for good measure, a whole series of e-books around our relationship with money matters to enable a successful Retiremeant™. This journey allows me to spend  a lot of time interviewing clients so that I can share their insights and wisdom on money stories and work re-invention. I am convinced that the success of my first book was partly because of the client stories. People just seem to learn from stories, rather than theory. And stories are so powerful!

I am so grateful for the stories that our clients are sharing. Not only do these stories inspire me in my work and writing my book, but the stories inspire others in their Retiremeant™ journeys, it encourages and supports people on so many levels.

I recently interviewed a client, Lynda Smith, Founder of the Refirement Network and 50+ Skills. Lynda’s vision is to influence 10% retirees to work for 5 years longer by applying their passions and skills to make a difference. With this business venture, Lynda is certainly working in flow. “If you love the work you do, it is not work, it’s play”, says Lynda. Lynda is a prime example of merging her Passion with her Purpose to earn a Play-cheque. But Lynda’s journey did not just happen. It took nine long years of thinking, planning, dreaming and visualising her flow to get to where she is today. During those years, Lynda continued working for a salary to pay off debt and invest towards her retirement fund.

Finding your flow often means a parallel process with the work that you are doing at the moment to service your financial responsibilities, with the work that you plan to do – work that you are passionate about, work that inspires you.

What I can say for sure, is that investing time to think about your flow, and secondly, working in flow, can be so rewarding that it is absolutely worth the extra input of time and energy to re-invent your work-self in Retiremeant™.

Imagine the possibility of waking up every day and doing the work that speaks to your purpose – your flow. What a glorious sunrise that would be!

Small change for big change

I recently met with a client who retires in 13 months’ time. If you’ve read anything I’ve written, you’ll know I distinguish between the concepts of “retiring from” and “retiring to”. So, true to form, the discussion came up: “What is it that you are retiring to?” I asked.

My client is excited. He has an idea for a consulting business that will see him using what he’s learnt over the last 20 years, offering his skills and services to the private sector. It’s something inspiring for him to retire “to”. But it won’t be on a full-time basis – and it won’t give him the equivalent of his current income. This means that he’ll need to start drawing an income from his investments.

It’s about more than the money

This is the where the real acceptance needs to kick in. In my experience, there’s an emotional adjustment that has to be made. This sounds simple enough, right? Because we all know that the day finally does come. Isn’t that what we’ve been planning towards for the last 40 years?

Trust me when I say this: no matter how prepared you are, retirement still comes as a shock. Regardless of how much you save, you have to be up for the change. Or changes. There’s a mental adjustment: you’ve spent decades saving and now you need to start spending it.

Then there’s the emotional – and financial – reality around the probability of you never working again. And even if you do work, chances are you’ll earn far less in retirement than you did while formally employed.

Another emotional shift is our sense of worth and how we perceive the value we add to our families. If you’ve been the provider for many years, you might struggle with how you derive self-worth. If this is you, please be encouraged: you only have the money you have now because of your foresight and discipline. The value you add continues into the future because of this very fact.

But, the money is important

Another financial shift you’ll need to make? Realising that there is no point in drawing from your investments – only to put savings aside from that. It’s financially unwise, so just draw down less to start with.

My client admitted that some of these challenges are going to be real for him. He reminded me of his first money memory. It was something his dad taught him – that a fool and his money are soon parted – and it weighed heavily on him. What if he acted foolishly? Could he wisely manage drawing down from his investments?

This is why having an actual RetiremeantTM plan – and not just a string of investments – is essential. You need to know that you have enough so that the fear of running out doesn’t stop you from living.

But I promise you: this will not be enough to convince you – regardless of how disciplined about saving and investing you’ve been. You’ll still need to be open to change. But it takes time to accept a new reality, so be kind to yourself. It takes time to amend a mindset that has served you so well all these years. Remember, though, why you saved and invested in the first place – so that one day you could have the freedom to choose what you were going to do with your time, your money enabling that life. In the bigger scheme of life, your money is the “small change” that sets the tone for the big change – changes – you’ll need to embrace.

Change is hard. Not many people like change. But you are not alone as you face what’s ahead. If you don’t feel ready for the retirement road ahead, please book some time with me. Let’s talk small change – and big change – over a cappuccino.

Mind over money over matter

We are living in uncertain times. Both globally and locally, our political and financial landscapes are shifting, leaving many people anxious about the returns on their investments. This type of anxiety can affect our emotions. And, making decisions based on how we feel is never a good recipe for financial planning, long term.

In the face of fear, many people are tempted to convert their investments into cash. But once you do that, how do you know when to re-enter the market? What if you shouldn’t have got out of it in the first place? A move like that brings a whole set of new questions, making us even more anxious than we were before.

So it is that we find ourselves by fear and living our worst – instead of our best – lives.

Something that can put our thinking back on track here is an illustration by Carl Richards, who produces a weekly sketch for the New York Times. It consists of two overlapping circles. The first circle represents things that matter, the second, things you can control. His advice is simple: the only place to focus your energy is where the circles intersect. In other words, what is it that matters to you that you also have control over? Carl’s view is that uncertainty equals reality. And he’s right. Unpredictability is the new norm. So, the best thing we can do is make peace with the inevitable risk of being alive.

In essence, we just cannot control everything. Something as simple as the Serenity Prayer can be your mental calm in a storm. Your soul is searching for the serenity to accept the things you just cannot change, the courage to change the things you can and the wisdom to be able to tell those things apart (my article on the Serenity Prayer can be found on our Retire Successfully website: www.retiresuccessfully.co.za/insights-serenity-prayer.

Here are some Top Tips for Uncertain Times:

  1. Don’t fight the fact that we live in an uncertain world. It’s a reality that we all need to accept.
  2. When you feel overwhelmed, try to cut out some of the negative noise. Choose carefully what news you follow and every now and then, take a break from it altogether.
  3. If your stress levels are affecting your health, get help. Stress is dangerous and too much of it compromises your body.
  4. Take some time out to reflect. Could your panic be a trigger from the past? A childhood memory sitting beneath the surface of your stress? Dig deeper into the belief you’re holding. Is it true? And is it serving you?
  5. Make a list of what matters to you that you can control. Keep your mental attention there.
  6. Your financial plan was designed for the long-term. Have a long-term approach to it and stick to your plan.
  7. Spend within the plan you’ve agreed on with your planner to make sure your money lasts.
  8. Make daily decisions to make sure you are living a meaningful life.

It’s not just our financial plans that are long-term commitments. Life is a long-term business too. So, take the time you need for developing the mental fortitude to outfox your financial fears.

Article written by Head of life Planning at Chartered Wealth Solutions and CFP®, Kim Potgieter.

Retirement Planning for women – the different concerns and considerations

Bronwyn Seaborne of Business Day TV hosts Kim Potgieter, Director and Retirement Life Planner at Chartered Wealth Solutions as they tackle the issue of retirement planning specifically zoning into women and the different considerations you should take into account as women planning for retirement.

Access part two of the discussion here.

Vote for Retire Successfully!

Our retirement have been nominated for 2017 Best Senior Living Award!

A US website – SeniorHomes.com – has nominated Retire Successfully as having the best resources and services to “help seniors lead healthy and vibrant lives.” So, we need your vote, please!

SeniorHomes.com has been featured on such websites as Huffington Post and AARP, in their endeavour to be a “trusted internet resource for families looking for senior care.”

Retire Successfully has been acknowledged as “doing a great job with helping find retirement information and tips.”

Please take a moment to cast your vote for us by clicking here. We really appreciate your time and effort!

  • 1
  • 2
Connect with Chartered

Telephone: +27 11 502 2800
Fax: +27 11 502 2812

Email: info@charteredwealth.co.za

Chartered Wealth Solutions is an authorised financial services provider

Chartered House, 2 North Road, Dunkeld West, Johannesburg