Month: February 2020


The Purpose Paradox: meaning in suffering


At Chartered Wealth we understand that, for most of us, life is a delicate balance of joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure, hope and disappointment.

If life has purpose, then surely there is purpose in suffering and dying.

At Legacy & Trust, we naturally encounter loss and grief, as we draft Wills and settle Estates. And through this service, we have discovered a new way to serve our clients – guiding them through grief to recovery.

From resilience to fulfilment

Recovery coaching encourages us to find meaning despite the suffering and trauma we may experience. A Recovery Coach works with those recovering from a medical crisis or the loss of their significant others to death.

American therapist and author, Virginia Satir, says: “Life is not what it is supposed to be. It’s what it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference”.

Through meaning-oriented intentional care, recovery coaching supports good mental health at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

According to the World Health Organization, mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and behave, and influences how we handle stress, make choices, and form and maintain good relationships.

In the words of Medical Coach, Shiri Ben-Arzi, “to rise above circumstances is resilience, but to live beyond our circumstances is fulfillment”.

Serving our clients

We at Legacy & Trust have partnered with Lee-Anne van Rooyen, a practising organisational psychologist and coach. Having been in private practice for over 13 years, Lee-Anne has worked with many people to live meaningful and fulfilling lives despite pain and loss.

A cancer-survivor client wrote of her coaching sessions: “You have helped me through the darkest time of my life – to ground myself, access my own resources and make better quality decisions. I feel more empowered and simply so much happier every day because of our sessions. I’m glad to be alive”.

If you are, or a loved one is, recovering from a medical crisis, or grieving the loss of your significant other, we invite you to contact us regarding recovery coaching. We would like to host an event with Lee-Anne, and would like an indication of interest from our clients. Please email


The magic of beginnings


I am facing a monumental life transition – one that evokes both excitement and terror in me.

I will be a father in a few months, and it’s a role I know I will have to become accustomed to very quickly.

The birth of our first child heralds a significant shift for both my wife and me. I am prompted to reflect on all life’s transitions; many are personal – completing steps in education, marriage, parenthood, grieving the loss of a loved one – and quite a few are related to careers: our first job, a career change, retirement.

Each of these transitions has financial implications.

Right now, I feel there may be no bigger financial transition than welcoming a little human into this world. A Fin24 article in January this year calculated education costs (Grade R, 12 years of public schooling and three of tertiary education) at a staggering R1,6 million (it doubles for private education). While this is undoubtedly a cost to account for in my budget, I find myself fixated on comparatively negligible nappy price tags.

My anxiety is mitigated by the fact that I have planned financially as thoroughly as I can for the arrival and growth of my child.


A tool that we use in our Planning process at Chartered Wealth Solutions is the Sigmoid Curve, conceptualised by organisational management expert, Charles Handy, and expanded on by Bob Buford in his book, Halftime. Let me explain it if you are unfamiliar with it – I am sure you will find benefit in the philosophy underpinning it.

Curve 1 represents that sharp curve that you experience when, for example, you are starting your first job or having your first child. Your knowledge and experience are small, and tasks may be difficult and time-consuming.

But as you work at it, you become more comfortable and competent. Understanding the nuances and the ability to overcome challenges becomes a strength. You start mastering the craft.

Then Point A arrives – an a-ha moment that anticipates a transition ahead. You could easily suppress the quiet warning and continue as is. Then the change happens anyway, and you have not planned for the necessary adjustments to accommodate this new normal. You plod along, trying to derive meaning from what used to be most important before the change. But things start to become harder and harder. Your life starts to feel meaningless or out of control.

You are heading down to Point B.


How do we avoid this decline? We plan for the life shift before it happens. We have envisaged how our lives will change and how we will adjust our time management, careers, communication and social lives.

This is creating a second successful curve upwards, Curve 2.

Our baby is due in a few months, but I already know how to burp him or her. I know what baby equipment we need and have set up investment structures to make provision for the changes. That is the message of the Sigmoid Curve: envisage the changes, plan, implement … and then enjoy the life transformation!

Thriving through life’s changes can be a simple choice.

Tom Brukman is a CFP® and RetiremeantTM Specialist at Chartered Wealth Solutions. He heads up the company’s Western Cape branch.


Estate planning, done properly


Recently, I attended the funeral of my client, Noeleen, who passed away unexpectedly.

I knew that we had recently updated her Will, and that the original document was securely stored in our Chartered safe – what a sense of relief for me after the initial shock at hearing the sad news! I also recalled that her husband, Gerald, had money in his own name, and immediate access to it.

I am aware that, at a time of loss and change like this, clients may depend quite heavily on us, their Financial Planners, to support them through this traumatic time.

With Chartered’s philosophy of retiring successfully, we, of course, plan for all the wonderful things that our clients’ money can do for them. In our Retiremeant™ Planning, we tend to focus on helping our clients live their most fulfilled lives – we plan for when things go well.

Noeleen’s passing reminded me that we also need to plan for when things don’t go well.

Frequently, an expected event is the sudden passing of a spouse. Because this can be an emotional time, it’s best to have an early discussion with client couples about what would happen if one of the spouses were to die: what assets would be sold, would they continue to live in their current home, and what changes need to be made in their Estate Planning.

The Estate Planning process, which on the surface can appear to be quite simple, is sometimes not as simple, as it turns out. When I sit with my clients and work out in Rands and Cents what their Wills mean, oftentimes amendments are essential.

In one instance, a client had inherited money from her parents, and she wanted this money to pass on to her children on her death, and not her husband. She only held two assets in her name – the investment housing this inheritance, and their family home. When I pointed out that if she left the entire inheritance to her children, her husband would have to come up with the money to pay the costs in her estate, and possibly risk losing his home. We changed her Will to rather leave the family home to Alan, and the investment, after paying all the estate costs, to the children.

Recently, I have been working with another client with a large estate who has minor children. He only came to me asking for investment advice, and did not think there was any necessity to consider Wills or Trust Deeds. Once I started delving more into these details it so happened that there were major concerns regarding his estate planning. No Guardian or Custodian had been appointed in his Will, there were errors on the Trust Deed, and those errors could have caused major problems had he died unexpectedly.

Asking clients to consider what things would look like after their demise is not an easy conversation to have. People do not like to think of their own mortality. Proper planning and honest conversations, though, help avoid unnecessary trauma when things do not go well.

Johannesburg Office
Tel: +27 11 502 2800
Eastern Cape Office
Tel: +27 41 001 1026
Western Cape Office
Tel: +27 21 001 0048
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Chartered Wealth Solutions is an authorised financial services provider
(FSP no. 13909)

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