Category: Chartered Blog

Plan for when you can no longer plan

Recently, my client admitted that she is no longer capable of managing her everyday financial affairs. How can you and your planner prepare for this, should it happen to you?

Dr Sylvia Kree turned 91 recently and has many interests. She also still goes to gym regularly which helps her keep fit. “It is your responsibility to look after my financial affairs, and my responsibility to look after my health,” she regularly says to me.

Of late, Sylvia finds it difficult to manage daily financial matters, like banking, and she is daunted by the fast pace of changing technology. She also does not have any children and her nearest relative lives in the Cape. ‘Who will look after me when I am not capable of doing so myself?’ she asked.

Sylvia and I discussed appointing an administrator over her affairs. Sylvia agreed. “It’s comforting to know that my affairs are in capable hands. I feel reassured and confident that you are there for me, even now,” she says. “I do not understand all the financial terms, and also cannot retain that kind of information. So having someone taking over that responsibility is a huge relief.”

Start thinking about your wishes should this ever happen to you. Prepare for when you can no longer care for yourself. Take time to look at retirement villages and facilities before you need to – where would you like to stay? Do you want to move only once? Then choose a village with assisted living and frail care facilities – most of these cover that cost by a life rights arrangement. Talk this through with your spouse and your planner so that you are prepared before you are compelled to move because of injury or illness. Many of these establishments have waiting lists in excess of two to five years, so choose where you might like to live and put your name on the list – there is no obligation, so you can change our mind.

By thinking this through whilst you are still capable of contributing to the conversation will make the process so much simpler and in line with what you want.

When do you institute a power of attorney?

If you leave it too long, and there are early signs of dementia, a power of attorney may not hold. Under current legislation, the power of attorney would not endure in situations where you are no longer able to understand the impact of such consent. Rather pre-empt the situation and be prepared for such an eventuality.

Consider whom you would entrust with a power of attorney.

Build additional costs in your financial plan for such a situation. The cost and strain on family members can be overwhelming. The carer or child has to go through an onerous process to be appointed administrator or appoint a third party as administrator and/or curator.

Planners can facilitate and advice around these matters, having established relationships with administrators and curators. Experienced planners have been through this process before, and are aware of aspects of planning that you may not be. You should have a trust relationship with your planner that ensures that he or she is planning in your own best interests … and a time when you are most vulnerable should be no different.

Article by Christina Forman, Certified Financial Planner and Retirement Specialist at Chartered Wealth Solutions. Click here to access the second article in the series: When a loved one can no longer manage their financial affairs. One of our clients also shares their personal experience of the Implications of being a parents’ tax consultant and having power of attorney.

Minding your Ps and RAs

So, you have been saving faithfully towards your retirement. You are confident that you have enough stashed away in the various investment vehicles: RAs, Pension, Provident, Preservation, Unit Trusts … and now, you salary has come to an end. How do all of your investments come together to give you an income … and what are the tax implications? Certified Financial Planner, Pat Blamire, chats to Michael Avery on the Classic FM’s Classic Business programme, to help retirees get the most out of their retirement savings.

Click here to access the Classic Business radio discussion.

When work meets wonderful

It’s a wonderful thing when someone loves what they do.

I’m grateful to say that I am one of those people. Each day, I wake up with a clear sense of purpose and passion, knowing that I get to go to work and do what I love. Supporting my clients in their retirement journeys means everything to me. My clients, many of whom I’ve built meaningful relationships with, are on their way to aligning money with meaning in their lives. And honestly, nothing makes me happier.

But feeling this way about my work – about who I am and what I do – didn’t happen overnight. It has literally taken me years, years of introspection and insight. I’ve had to spend a lot of time looking inside myself, accepting who I am and exploring who I can be. And then I’ve had to take time to look outside of myself and to consider the contribution I make in the lives of others.

Having travelled this road of self-reflection, I can say with conviction that it is worth every well-worn step – even if the destination isn’t always clear at the outset.

A retirement that works

Part of what I do in my work is to encourage conversation. Some of the conversations I have with my clients are about work in retirement. Many of them have found work that they are passionate about, which is incredibly exciting to see.

My husband is one of those people. At age 57, Gys found his next career. Well, that’s not entirely true. He re-found his career because it was when he was a young school boy that he started this particular kind of business – hand-making wooden pencil boxes and selling them to his school friends. This developed into making lamps and little side-tables and at the age of 16, he walked bravely into Tony Factor’s factory to show him some of what he’d made. Tony bought everything he had. And so began his career. His business grew to 350 people, with his company making furniture for the likes of Game, Dion and Pick n Pay. This type of business growth meant that he no longer got to use his hands. Instead, he was heading up a big business, managing people and managing money.

Work: it’s a pleasure

Ten years ago, he sold his business and selling woodworking machines has been something he’s been doing ever since. But all my talking about passion, purpose and finding pleasure in retirement got him thinking (Who knew he listened to me!). He decided build a workshop at home so he could work with his hands once again. Owning a woodworking machine business made it possible for him to set up his dream workshop – with machines that most men would kill for! Gys didn’t realise how much he had missed working with his hands – and with wood. This latest venture saw him making things like jewellery boxes and trays. But now, a year in, he’s back in business, making bespoke furniture with beautiful, indigenous wood for commissioning clients. Finding his way back to the work he loves has invigorated him. He knows what he loves. And doing what he loves will be focus for him in the decades ahead, as he starts to leave a legacy with his beautifully handcrafted pieces.

What stands out about people who create encore careers is the way in which they all light up when they talk about their work. Their enthusiasm and excitement are contagious. They live in a place where work meets wonderful. Where do you live?

Chartered family fun in Port Elizabeth

This May, Chartered Wealth Eastern Cape clients were treated to an evening at The Club on 12 Bird Street in the company of master raconteur, Rob Caskie.

While his audience enjoyed a sumptuous dinner and warming winter drinks, Rob wove a terrible tale of the Anglo-Zulu clash at Isandlwana. As a Chartered client himself, Rob used this account of the most dramatic British failure in battle to demonstrate the need to plan carefully … whether in the military or with money. Both can equip you to prepare for the unexpected.

Chartered Wealth Eastern Cape CEO, Donovan Adams, welcomed the guests to the historic The Club on 12 Bird Street. Pre-dinner drinks were enjoyed in the wood-panelled bar dating to its Victorian origins, with a comforting fire burning in the grate. The Club is a regular local venue for various community events, including Music Trivia evenings and High Teas … and this evening in May was no different, as the Chartered family in the Eastern Cape mingled and enjoyed catching up with fellow clients. Visiting from Johannesburg was Chartered Director and Retire Successfully brand ambassador, Kim Potgieter.

Moving from loss to a place of healing

“Without you in my arms, I feel an emptiness in my soul. I find myself searching the crowds for your face. I know it’s an impossibility, but I cannot help myself.”

These are heartfelt words from Nicholas’s Sparks’ novel, which was made into the famous movie, Message in a Bottle. The character who writes them is Garrett Blake, a man who lost his wife.

Death. Grieving. Emotive subjects and ones not easy to talk about. And yet all of us have, or will have, the experience of losing someone we love. It’s one of the few things about life that we know to be true – that life itself will come to an end.

No one can ever prepare adequately for this type of loss. It’s exactly as Sparks describes it – an emptiness in the soul. I know because I’ve felt it.

My personal loss

I lost both my parents before either of them had a chance to reach the age of 64. And I lost them in very different ways. My father’s death was sudden and tragic. He was killed in a senseless way – not that death ever makes “sense” to us, right? The victim of a hijacking, my dad’s life came to an end in an instant, before I had the chance to say goodbye to him.

My mother’s death was different but it was no less traumatic. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and her passing took a lot longer than a moment. But even nine months, the length of her illness before she died, feels like a moment in time when you’ve spent a lifetime loving someone. That is how I felt about losing her.

Death isn’t easy to talk – and it’s not easy for me now. But I’m writing about this difficult subject because I’ve just watched a client go through something similar. It brought back the memory of my experiences – the trauma of everything. But also, those truths that death has taught me.

As painful as it was to watch her suffer, my mom’s illness allowed us a little bit of time together. And what I wanted to do most with that time was to make things better for her. And believe me, I tried. I tried to step in and fix.

At one appointment with her specialist, during which the she was talking us through some last treatment options for Mom, I interrupted to ask questions, ready to plot an immediate plan of action. Of course what I was doing was coming from a good place – a place of love and wanting to make everything better. But my directness, my decisiveness – well, they made my mom feel as if she wasn’t even in the room.

Freedom to choose … and surrender

My mother was someone who hardly ever scolded me. But in that moment, she spoke up. She said calmly but very powerfully to me that she was the person who was dying. And so she should be the one to choose the journey of her passing.

Wow. What a milestone moment that was for me.

Her speaking up made me stand back and begin to support her in the way that was meaningful to her, not me. She didn’t need me to control the situation. At the end of the day, the universe was in control. All she needed from me was for me to hold her hand as she chose the journey of her own passing.

And so when my client phoned me in tears the other day about something similar that she was facing, I was able to share that story with her and talk through the importance of acceptance as her new starting point for love.

Yes, it’s hard to hold back when you want to fight. There is very little dignity in death and yes, let’s rage against it for as long as we can. But when raging is not what is needed of you, when it’s time to take a breath and surrender to what is – then oh, what an honour to be allowed into the inner circle of your loved one’s last wishes.

The two faces of grief

This is just one of the lessons that death and grieving have taught me. The author Sarah Dessen writes: “Grief can be a burden, but also an anchor. You get used to the weight, how it holds you in place.”

If you are in pain – the pain of watching someone you love suffer – let yourself be anchored by the weight of grief. Be open to what your tears want to teach you about the people you love. And about yourself.
Grief is such a raw emotion to deal with that I am deeply grateful to clients, Ronelle Baker and Kathy Lithgow, sharing their stories. The April Inflight newsletter was compiled with the hope that something will help those who are grieving towards some healing. Access the full newsletter by clicking here.

#MakeThisTheYearForHealing

Warm regard

Policy uncertainty should not change your long-term financial goals

Last night, a 5.2 magnitude tremor hit parts of Gauteng, the second in 24 hours. It seems a fitting reflection of the monumental economic and political shifts that have hit South Africa since Thursday last week. First tremor: cabinet reshuffle; second tremor: downgrade to junk status by ratings agency, Standard and Poor’s, from BB+ to BBB-. Moody’s has placed us on review for a downgrade. The rand has fallen 2% since the announcement of the downgrade.

Reasons for the downgrade
According to EWN, S&P’s rationale is as follows:

  1. The cabinet reshuffle reveals leadership divisions and puts policy continuity at risk
  2. Poor financial performance of government parastatals places greater strain on government
  3. Government and ANC divisions inhibit investor and business confidence and action
  4. Slow economic rate, reflected in the contraction of 0.3% in the last quarter of 2016.

Slender positives

S&P has noted the independence of the Reserve Bank and South Africa’s monetary policy flexibility as positives.
S&P has also commented that the possibility of reversing the outlook to stable exists – dependent on the strengthening of fiscal outcomes and economic growth, and the reduction of political risks.

For all investors, it is a matter of maintaining a prudent approach and level-headed attitude to our financial planning, while we await the outcomes of this pronouncement. During times of uncertainty brought on by this and other downgrades, sticking to your long-term financial plan is critical. If you need further clarity, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Warm regards
John Campbell

While you were sleeping …

This morning, the nation awoke to the shocking, though not wholly unexpected, news that the finance minister and his deputy, among others, had been ousted, in a ‘cabinet reshuffle’.

Reaction has been almost unanimous in its condemnation of this move: threats to impeach have been repeated, the DA is circulating a #noconfidence petition, and social media is ablaze with comments: from economic and political pundits to your average citizen (one asserting that “only thieves and scoundrels do deals at night”).

Political analyst, Daniel Silke, says that the newly appointed Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba, will be hard pressed to reassure rating agencies, who will be unnerved by the axing of Gordhan and Jonas.

Whether a downgrade will become a reality or not, investment managers have been anticipating it for some time, given our uncertain economic environment. Portfolio managers have been making adjustments in anticipation of just such depreciation of the rand … and will continue to do so as they watch the market shifts. We have always recommended a diversified portfolio to weather such political and economic changes, and reiterate our commitment to you.

Here is a summary of the cabinet changes from EWN, for those interested in the detail.

We will see much more of the unfolding of these changes next week, following the cabinet meetings scheduled over the weekend with the new ministers, and after the markets have absorbed the impact of the President’s decision.

What is always reassuring to me is that we are all in this together. We all want a thriving economy that results from ethical and responsible leadership.

Warm regards
John Campbell

Demystifying tax implications of retirement funds

And drawing an income one day …

Whilst we are still working and earning a monthly income, we put away money towards our retirement. This is so that, one day, we no longer have to work and can start drawing an income from our retirement savings. That is the plan, but I find that many of my clients are confused regarding how their different investments come together at retirement in order to provide them with this income.

Minding your Ps and RAs

The main retirement savings vehicles are Pension and Provident Funds, and Retirement Annuities. The main difference between these different vehicles is that the former are employer provided funds, whereas the latter are typically used by self-employed individuals, or those people who want to increase their retirement savings.

In addition to these retirement savings vehicles there are also discretionary investments such as unit trusts, shares, tax-free savings accounts, properties, which supplement your retirement savings.

In terms of the Income Tax you are allowed to contribute up to 27.5% of your income towards retirement savings vehicles (Pension and Provident Funds, and Retirement Annuities), and to obtain tax relief on these contributions. You do not receive any tax relief on contributions made to your discretionary investments.

When you reach retirement and wish to retire from your retirement fund investments, there are certain tax concessions that you are entitled to. For Pension Funds and Retirement Annuities you are entitled to take, in Cash, up to one-third of these savings. The first R500,000 of this Cash amount is tax-free, and the balance is taxed according to the following tax table:

  • R500,001 – R700,000 @ 18%
  • R700,001 – R1,050,000 @ 27%
  • Amounts in excess of R1,050,001 @ 36%

The balance of two-thirds needs to be invested in an annuity (pension), which will pay you an income in retirement. As you were entitled to claim your contribution towards these funds as a tax deduction in the build up to retirement, when you start drawing an income from your annuity (pension), this income is taxable in your hands according to the South African Revenue Service published tax tables.

The rules for Provident Fund members are slightly different. Previously they were entitled to cash in their full Provident Fund savings, which amount would be subject to the tax tables mentioned above (first R500,000 tax free, etc.).

However legislation changed on 1 March 2016 whereby, going forward, members of Provident Funds would be subject to the same rules as those members on Pension Funds and Retirement Annuities, whereby they could only take one-third of the value of their fund in Cash, and the balance of two-thirds must be used to provide them with an annuity (pension) in retirement. There are certain exemptions to this requirement:

  • Anyone over the age of 55 on 1 March 2016, who was a member of a Provident Fund, would not be subject to these new regulations
  • In addition, if the fund balance of a member’s Provident Fund is less than R247,500, they will not be forced to buy an annuity with two-thirds of their Provident Fund savings.

In addition to your retirement fund savings, it is important that you also have discretionary savings which can be used to top up your monthly annuity (pension), and to pay for lump sum expenses such as holidays and new vehicles.

The plus of unit trusts

With a unit trust it is a simple matter to draw additional income or lump sums. Units in the unit trust can be sold for this purpose. It is a little more difficult to draw monthly income from a share portfolio as shares normally need to be sold in order to do this. With a property that is rented out, you will receive the rental income on a monthly basis. Where a problem may arise is when you do not have a tenant for your property, or the tenant refuses to pay and you struggle to evict them.

A Certified Financial Planner can assist you to navigate through these various decisions, and advise you on how your retirement savings should be structured, so as to take advantage of any tax concessions you may be entitled to, and ensure that you will have sufficient income in retirement.

Live and Learn

I met Dori Mintzer in Boston in 2014, when I went over to the USA. I had read the book that she and Roberta Taylor had written. The Couple’s Retirement Puzzle is a guide for couples as they navigate retirement together and after reading it, I wanted to meet its author.

I love the impact Dori has made in both the retirement and relationship spaces and I include her principles in the work I do in life-planning meetings with my clients. Underpinning so much of what defines Dori’s contribution is the importance of couples having courageous conversations with each other. In fact, her book’s subtitle is exactly that: “Ten must-have conversations for transitioning to the second half of life”.

In the work that I do, a life-planning meeting is often one of the first times couples tackle some of the serious issues they’ve been too afraid to talk about. A life-planning session can often be the very first time that they have a “must-have” talk.

Those crucial conversations – sometimes decades in the waiting – require courage. And they are hardly ever easy. But what I’ve seen over the years is that those conversations, which sometimes even involve confrontation, generally result in connection.

Right: Dori and i sharing our passion for all things Retirement.

One plus one equals three

I’ve been thinking about what happens behind the scenes of this invisible equation. How does a conversation end up equalling closeness and connection? I think it’s because somewhere, somehow, something profound happens. Between the discomfort and the connection, there is learning.

Learning is the multiplier effect, the fabulous formula that takes a couple from talking to feeling a sense of togetherness. Learning has everything to do with coming across something – or even someone – we didn’t know before.

Have you ever discovered something about your partner at a dinner party, something that you didn’t know before? Someone else asked your wife a question and her answer teaches you something new? When we see something through new eyes, even if it’s a situation or scenario that isn’t of our choosing, we open ourselves to learning. And learning can happen without us even realising it.

Have you ever been retrenched from a job, worked through the humiliation, the having to make ends meet, the needing to change tack mid-career because your situation demanded that of you – and then then ended up thinking that it was the best thing that ever happened to you? Or had a health scare that forced you and your partner to rethink your lifestyle, so much so that you live a better life now than the one you lived before and wouldn’t have it any other way? We have to be open to change, to learning how to do different things – or at the very least, to doing the same thing differently – because not only is that how we survive. It’s how we live.

My challenge to you is simple: don’t be closed to conversation. Discomfort sounds, well, uncomfortable. That’s because it is. But there’s a lot of truth in the adage: “No pain, no gain.” What if you chose to welcome such a conversation? What if it’s just one courageous conversation that stands between you and something magical?

Dori and her husband visited South Africa for the first time a couple of weeks ago and they came to dinner at my home. We didn’t just share dinner though. We shared wine; we shared stories. Dori was travelling with her husband, David – now in his eighties. Together, they opened themselves to exploring Africa. They talk, they travel – and they laugh and learn together. Their learning is their living. Let’s aim for the same.

Click here to access this months Inflight Newsletter in which Kathy Lithgow for sharing her journey of learning with us, thank you Kathy. We love to share stories from our clients.

Best wishes

“Be unpredictable, be real, be interesting … and tell a good story!”

So says author, James Dashner. And you may be forgiven for believing that he was commenting on the state of the global political and economic landscape – now and in 2016. His view is supported by the two presentations by economic gurus, Andrew Salmon and Jeremy Gardiner, hosted at Chartered House in February and March.

Be interesting

Investec’s erudite Jeremy Gardiner accompanied us to our client functions in various parts of the country to update clients on both Chartered’s news and the economy.

Jeremy’s brilliant presentation shares Investec’s views on the global and domestic economies. We love the fact that Jeremy engages his audience through telling a story and using thought-provoking pictures rather than the usual technical graphs. Some key takeaways are in Jeremy’s article which you can read by target=”_blank”>clicking here.

Be unpredictable

A year ago, with where South Africa was, one would never have anticipated such a recovery in the rand. In January last year one dollar was R17 and now it is R13, the pound was R23 and now it is R16. That is between 30 and 40% difference. It was quite something to see much of our returns being diminished by a strengthening rand! And the year got off to a great start with Markets doing more in January than they did the whole of last year. The lesson is to have a balanced portfolio with a spread of asset classes and not to do anything extreme either way.

Be real
In my last newsletter, I took the opportunity to share Budget Speech highlights. Notable changes were the increase in Wealth taxes; we have seen dividend tax increasing from 15 to 20% and the top marginal tax rate increasing from 41% to 45% for anyone earning more than R1.5mill pa. There are also quite severe tax consequences where you have loaned money to a Trust that has not yet been repaid. You are welcome to chat to your financial planner for clarity on any of the changes.

The Davis Committee was mentioned. It is still looking into changing Estate Duty and circumstances under which this will be payable. We will alert you to any changes that may affect you, but are not expecting any more news on this until late August.

We also shared with our clients some of the post migration issues of the Acsis administration moving to Old Mutual Wealth in August last year. We are well aware that the communications out of Old Mutual Wealth have not been ideal, and are working closely with them to ensure that our clients receive statements of a better standard. It is important to note that if you had money invested with Acsis it is now invested with Old Mutual: there are two Old Mutual businesses involved. Andrew Salmon who was the Chief Investment Officer at Acsis is now the CIO at Old Mutual Multi Managers and we are very comfortable that they are managing your funds as well as, if not better than, they were being managed at Acsis. The administration is being done by Old Mutual Wealth, the business that houses the Living Annuities and Tailored Portfolios and we have had some difficulty with them. They are doing a system upgrade in August 2017 and I have been assured that at this point they will be able to offer us a much better service.

Tell a good story
Lastly, I mentioned some of the amazing articles that our clients have written in our various newsletters and social media. We are so grateful for many inspiring stories and articles. On our travels we were impressed by how many people all over South Africa have been inspired by these articles and in many cases made changes in their lives to live and enjoy more enriching experiences.

Kind regards
John Campbell

Connect with Chartered

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Fax: +27 11 502 2812

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