Category: Chartered Blog

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In the news – some anxiety, some advantage

On busy days at Chartered House, you may find me picking up on news headlines between meetings. Our round glass table in reception displays the daily newspapers, and I regularly scan them for positive news – sometimes, in vain.

National Health Insurance Bill

The headline catching my eye in the last few months has been of particular concern: the tabling of the National Health Insurance Bill, which aims for universal access to primary healthcare for all South Africans. My immediate question is “How?” I have had many discussions with friends and clients who are doctors and their predominant feeling is that there is not a chance that they can depend on getting paid by the government every month. Furthermore, how can six million taxpayers fund this scheme for a population of 55 million people?

This proposed Bill, together with the Expropriation Bill (land expropriation without compensation), has South Africans in a state of suspended agitation – on those proverbial tenterhooks. Both these Bills still need to go through an extensive parliamentary process before becoming legislation.

Good news for Investors

On the investment front we saw South Africa’s largest stock and success story Naspers announce the listing of its offshore assets in a new entity on the Amsterdam Euronext market. This new share, Prosus, holds all of Naspers’s foreign-owned assets, which includes its 31% holding in the Chinese internet giant, Tencent. I am explaining this to you because most of our clients (through their unit trust holdings) hold approximately 9% of their equity investments in Naspers, so this is a significant development for all of us.

The rationale behind this move is as follows:

  • Naspers was 21% of our JSE and this size had become a constraint
  • Naspers is now 14% of the JSE.
  • By listing offshore, Prosus is now eligible for inclusion in the global indices.
  • Developed market funds could not buy Naspers before owing to limitations on their mandate; they can now invest in this for the first time.
  • This is very positive for the South African investor, who now holds shares in both Prosus and Naspers.

Prescribed Assets

I have noticed in client meetings that many people are concerned about Prescribed Assets, where the government makes it law for retirement funds to invest in certain government-approved investments. For any of us, the thought of buying bonds in SAA or Eskom is most concerning.

There are couple of important points to note:

  • This policy applies only to retirement funds, such as RAs, Pension funds and Provident funds.
  • This policy does not propose to include living annuities.
  • It will only apply to a very small percentage of your investment, if at all.
  • At this stage, the policy has been mentioned as a consideration; but, for it to be implemented, it must go through fairly rigorous process and will take a long time to become law. We will keep you informed of any further developments.
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Great news for the Chartered Family

We congratulate one of our Retiremeant Specialists, Tiffany Venter, on her marriage to Chris over this past weekend. We wish Mr and Mrs Havinga much happiness for their future.

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Managing Global Assets in your Estate Plan

It’s a global village. Technological advances allow us to live, do business and invest offshore with relative ease. Against the backdrop of local uncertainty, South Africans are increasingly looking at offshore investment options; our political climate makes investing in second residency schemes attractive. How, then, do these offshore investments impact our estate planning? Kerryn Franck, Director of Chartered Legacy & Trust, underscores the importance of having an international Estate Plan.

Investing offshore exposes your personal estate to foreign laws and jurisdictions. So, understanding the different rules that may apply to your worldwide assets is imperative as part of your estate planning.

Different countries have different succession and inheritance tax laws. Which law applies to your assets may depend on your nationality, domicile, residence and location of your property.

You can, of course, deal with all your assets in a worldwide Will. It is important, though, to consider whether it may be more practical and/or efficient to deal with offshore assets in a separate Will. I would urge you to discuss the many factors to be considered when making this decision with your planner; for example, property may be situated in a jurisdiction that has forced heirship rules and you may not be able freely to dispose of the property as you wish in your Will.

Even though you have a worldwide Will, you may still be required to report your estate in the foreign jurisdiction where the asset is located and apply for a grant of probate. This requires the services of a lawyer overseas – this can be costly and is an extra expense for your estate. A jurisdiction where a foreign language is spoken can further complicate matters.

Should you opt to have more than one Will, you need to ensure that your Wills are read together. A Will dealing with your offshore assets must not revoke all your previous Wills but only those dealing with your offshore assets. Revoking all Wills may result in your local assets being distributed in accordance with the laws of intestacy. When drafting separate Wills, you must also ensure there is enough liquidity in each of the various jurisdictions to cover the costs of administering that portion of your estate and the transfer of the assets.

Often a testator will have sent money offshore with the intention of it remaining offshore for the benefit of the nominated beneficiary. In this case, a detailed Estate Plan should be created to investigate whether all estate expenses and taxes can be paid locally. This is so that the offshore funds are not repatriated and the testator’s wishes are upheld.

When you do your financial planning, remember that a South African trust cannot hold or inherit offshore assets – note this when drafting your Will. A testator wanting to leave their assets to a local trust in their Will must investigate an alternative option for any offshore assets.

In short, if you have offshore assets, you must have an international Estate Plan in place.

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What you need to know before cashing in your Pension or Provident fund

When you are leaving your employer, you may wonder what you should do with your Pension and /or Provident Fund.

The option of cashing in

Can you withdraw your retirement funds before you retire without being penalised?

The simple answer is yes, but be aware of the risks.

Living costs have gone up, with debt levels rising as a result. Household cashflow may be under pressure, and job security is an ever-present concern. These are all valid reasons to access some (if not all) the funds in your Pension Fund when leaving an employer.

Cashing in your retirement savings prematurely has a double cost: you reduce your tax-free lump sum when you retire, and you pay more tax on your retirement savings.

When you resign, you are allowed access to only R25,000 tax free – a SARS regulation. Any amount over that is taxed at a significant 18%. Withdraw more than R660,000, your tax rate is 27%, and 36% on amounts over R990,000.

Let’s look at an example. You are changing jobs and want to cash in a R400,000 pension fund. You will pay 18% tax on R400,000 minus R25,000 (your allowed tax-free amount). So, you will pay R67,500 to SARS.

Should you withdraw again on your next resignation … well, you can imagine the impact on your long-term savings. Please note that R25,000 tax free amount does not apply to every single withdrawal. On every pre-retirement withdrawal the amount will get aggregated to the previous withdrawal, and you’ll end up paying more and more in taxes.

The reasons for staying in

If you reach retirement, the retirement tax tables apply – that is, the rate of tax is determined by the taxable income. If you waited until retirement to cash in, your first R500,000 is tax-free.

South Africans are notoriously poor savers and our retirement statistics are poor. Only about 6% of South Africans retiring can afford to do so at age 65. A major contributor to jeopardising your financial wellbeing is the repeated drawing of retirement funds when leaving employers.

A full transfer from your retirement savings to your living annuity means no tax implications.

Avoid borrowing from your future.

Preserve your retirement funds for retirement. It’s not that far away!

Emigrating?

South African citizens who emigrate are entitled to have their pensions paid to them in their country of emigration, or they may choose to take the amount in cash. If you emigrate before you retire, you may withdraw all your pension or provident funds with no penalty.

You know that you may not withdraw from a Retirement Annuity before 55, and, on retirement, may access only one-third of your funds. The rest buys a pension. If you emigrate, however, you may take the whole amount in full. From 1 March, 2019, the same concession applies to members of pension provident funds. Provident pension members can take their whole amount in cash.

It’s important to note that relocation is not emigration, and, without formal emigration, the usual tax rules apply.

This information is particularly relevant in light of reports of increasing numbers of South Africans considering emigration. For Craig Turton’s message on choosing to stay in South Africa, click here.

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To financially emigrate or not?

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There is much conflicting information in the media about the taxation of South Africans on their foreign earnings and the impact of tax law amendments.

Currently, remuneration earned by South African tax residents for services rendered abroad is exempt from South African tax, if that resident has spent more than 183 full days (including a continuous period of more than 60 full days) outside South Africa in a 12-month period during which those services were rendered (‘foreign earnings exemption’).

With effect from 1 March, 2020, the foreign earnings exemption will only apply to up to R1 million of foreign income earned in a tax year. Income earned abroad exceeding R1 million will not be exempt under the foreign earnings exemption.

Many South Africans work and/or live abroad may want to ‘financially’ emigrate by placing their emigration on record with the South African Reserve Bank. They think that by taking this measure, their foreign income will not be taxed in South Africa. This move will not necessarily exempt them from paying tax in South Africa.

Who will be affected by the changes in the law?

It is important to understand the difference between becoming non-resident for tax purposes and non-resident for exchange control purposes.

The foreign earnings exemption, and its new cap, only applies to South African tax residents. If you are not a South African resident for tax purposes, you will not be affected by this amendment. People who have placed their emigration on record with the Reserve Bank may still be tax resident in South Africa.

South African tax residency

South Africa has a residence-based tax system. Residents are taxed on their world-wide income, except if specifically exempt, as is the case with the foreign earnings exemption.

A resident is defined by the Income Tax Act 58 of 1962 (ITA) as a person either:

  • ordinarily resident in South Africa (the ‘ordinary residence test’), or
  • a resident by their physical presence in South Africa (the ‘days test’).

To be defined as non-tax resident in South Africa, you must pass both tests.

Even if a South African tax resident in terms of the tests, you may still be regarded as a non-resident for tax purposes under the applicable double tax agreement (DTA) between South Africa and the country where you are working or living.

For helpful tips in determining your status in terms of the two tests, click here.

Double Tax Agreements

If you are defined as a South African tax resident by either the ordinarily resident or days test, the applicable DTA entered into between South Africa and the country in which you are living and/or working might regard you as non-resident in South Africa, and as resident in the other country. Make sure you check the terms of the DTA.

Section 6quat rebate

If you are a South African tax resident taxed in another country on the same income taxed in South Africa, section 6quat of the ITA provides for a rebate of the foreign tax paid against South African taxes. The rebate is limited to the South African tax payable on the foreign income.

So, for South African tax residents, all taxes paid abroad on income in excess of R1 million will be rebated against the South African taxes payable on that same income. Earnings exceeding R1 million will therefore not be taxed twice, but at the higher rate of South Africa or the foreign country.

Financial emigration through the Reserve Bank

The main reason for financial emigration is to break exchange control residence.

To financially emigrate, apply to the Financial Surveillance Department of the South African Reserve Bank with proof of the right, either by foreign passport or an appropriate visa, to live in another country.

Through the application, show your intent no longer to be permanently resident in South Africa.

By financially emigrating, you are strongly demonstrating the intent to have a primary residence outside South Africa and not to be ordinarily resident here.

Conclusion

Financial emigration is only a strong indication that you are not ordinarily resident in South Africa, and not a definitive factor. SARS takes various factors into account, and a person’s residency status at the Reserve Bank is only one of them.

Even if you can show that you are no longer ordinarily resident, you may still be tax resident because of number of days spent in South Africa, or of the applicable DTA between SA and the country where you are working.

Non-residents for tax purposes in South Africa do not pay tax on foreign sourced income.

The amendments to the foreign earnings exemption would therefore not be applicable to non-residents as the foreign earnings are never taxable.

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Financial Planning with Chartered excellence

John-Cambell

When I started financial planning 25 years ago, I quickly learnt that there were many significant flaws in the industry. During your working lives, you may have either experienced or witnessed some of these pitfalls.

The first is that most clients deal with an individual advisor who represents a bigger business or themselves, but who approach planning in their own way. I believe that dealing with one person compromises you and your family’s financial wellbeing.

I recall my father getting advice on different occasions from two people representing the same company: their advice was completely different. I remember seeing another client who received a letter in the post informing them that their advisor was emigrating. Where does it leave the client in each instance? The greatest risk to your finances is a new advisor changing your investments to suit him.

Considering this very real problem, when we set out to build our company, we decided that Chartered Wealth Solutions would have an offering and advice process followed by everyone who worked here, ensuring consistency of advice. It was also essential for our Planners to have an associate with them in meetings so that at least two people were aware of clients’ family circumstances and finances.

It is important that our clients deal with specialists. In my first eight years in the industry, as a generalist, I offered advice across the full spectrum of financial services: retirement funds, medical aids, life assurance, and investments. As the industry became more complex, we realised that the general practitioner days were limited – being the best at everything was impossible. I equate this to a General Practitioner versus a Specialist in the medical field: if you need heart surgery, you are unlikely to consult your GP.

Chartered ensures that at every point of the advice process you deal with a specialist: a team only advising on medical aids; a team of lawyers who only write Wills, with a specialist executor winding up estates; dedicated specialists in assurance with a thorough understanding of this complex industry. Our RetiremeantTM specialists are highly trained, all with honours degrees in Financial Planning who not only understand RetiremeantTM but who also recognise when to involve another specialist in your planning – our team of tax specialists at Chartered Tax is an example. We have worked hard to build a business offering consistency of advice, where a team of specialists takes care of you and your family’s financial planning needs. We encourage our clients to form trusted relationships with our specialists, knowing that we can be true custodians of your RetiremeantTM.

I am often cautious to share much from Chartered’s behind-the-scenes, but following a recent forum where clients shared their experiences of Chartered, I realised that much goes on that clients should know. For many years we have been working on Chartered Invest, a business responsible for the implementation of your investments. This is because there is often a blurring between advice and implementation and, though inextricably linked, these are two distinct functions.

Two exciting outcomes are, firstly, the vastly improved reporting, simplifying your affairs and placing all your investments on one statement (not the variety from a few providers you may be receiving currently); and, secondly, the Chartered App. This will give you access to your new statements and Chartered newsletters and invitations. We will share more in the months ahead about this new offering.

Warm regards
John

You can read John Campbell’s article on the SA elections by clicking here.

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Changing circumstances? Change Your Will

Like most things in life, sometimes your Will needs to change.

Your Will details how you would like your assets to be distributed after you pass away. In part, it embodies how you would like to be remembered by those you love when you are gone.

Most of life’s significant “changes” may trigger a Will revision: birth of a child, death of a family member, divorce, marriage, re-marriage and relocation of you or your beneficiaries (within South Africa or abroad).
The executor nominated in your Will may also need to change – for example, if the nominated person moves offshore – or you may have a change of heart about your nominated beneficiaries. Any changes to your asset structures (for instance, as a result of retirement) can mean a review of your Will to ensure that it still fulfils your wishes. Here are details on some aspects:

Children

When a person under the age of 18 stands to inherit, we generally recommend that a trust be used to safeguard the inheritance for the child and prevent it from being administered by the Guardian’s Fund. When a child is to inherit, your Will may need to include provisions to create a trust through your Will if a registered family trust does not already exist. Parents should nominate guardians for their children in their Wills. When your children reach age 18, guardianship falls away and you can remove this provision from your Will.

Divorce

After a divorce, the law gives a “grace period” within which to update your Will. If you pass away within three months of the divorce, the law assumes that you were still going to change your Will and will treat your ex-spouse as though they passed away before you. However, if you have not updated your Will in the three months following your divorce, this protection lapses as the law assumes that you did not want to change your Will. As a result, your ex-spouse may inherit from you according to the provisions of your latest Will.

Offshore assets

Another reason to revise your Will may be if you acquire offshore assets. Most movable assets – cash, investments, vehicles, personal and household effects – situated in a foreign country can be governed by your South African Will, but exercise caution with immovable property and larger investments.

Depending on the jurisdiction, you may wish to draft an offshore Will and take specialist legal tax advice for those assets, since not all countries have the freedom of testation that South Africa does and various countries have different legal rules about how to deal with your assets on death. There are also special tax concessions regarding an offshore inheritance that is never repatriated to South Africa – if you have inherited an offshore asset, ask your financial planner for details!

How to change your Will

Most frequently, the best way to update your will is to make a new one to replace the old. You can also draw a codicil to update your Will, but the original Will and original codicil must be kept together and must “talk” to each other by cross-referencing the codicil to the Will provisions. The simplest option, though, is to draw a new Will reflecting your current wishes – any outdated portions of your old Will can then also be revised.
It is never advisable to write on your Will to try to change the provisions. Handwritten wills, and handwriting on an original Will, will create problems for your beneficiaries and lead to delays in the winding up of your estate or your Will being declared invalid!

If you want to change your Will, or if you have any questions about changing your Will, the team at Chartered Legacy & Trust can guide you through the process and help you to navigate the legal labyrinth to leave a lasting legacy for your loved ones.

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SARS Commissioner comes with commendable credentials

edward-kieswetter-1While chatting with clients and friends following this year’s Budget Speech, the phrase, “at least” was frequent feature: “At least it was Tito Mboweni” or “At least Ramaphosa is President” or “At least, it isn’t so-and-so” (I leave specific names to your imagination!).

Regarding our new SARS Commissioner, though, we tax practitioners and experts are far more positive.

Why so hopeful, you wonder … and rightly so! Following a string of Commissioners, including the questionable Oupa Magashula, and, most recently, the deeply tainted Tom Moyane, we need the restoration of this once globally respected institution, systematically dismantled by corrupt officials.

Take centre stage Edward Kieswetter, new SARS Commissioner.

From the time of his appointment, Kieswetter has been at pains to comply with good governance: he resigned as Shoprite’s Lead Independent Director, and fully disclosed outside interests and involvement in organisations, including directorships on SOEs such as Transnet and Technology Innovation Agency.

President Ramaphosa has said that he has “every confidence” that this new Commissioner has the “experience, integrity and skills” to restore this once fêted institution to its former honour. Between 1997 and 2009, under Pravin Gordhan’s leadership, SARS established itself as one of the foremost revenue services in the world, embracing technology and viewing the taxpayer as valuable customer. It was applauded as efficient, transparent and modern.

Fit for task

In May, Fin24 listed the most urgent matters facing Kieswetter, and these serve to highlight the new Commissioner’s suitability for his new role.

Firstly, SARS needs to increase its revenue collection. For the financial year ended 31 March 2019, SARS had collected R14.6bn less than estimated in the revised Budget – this larger deficit was attributed to an increase in refunds paid out. In contrast to Moyane with no tax experience or financial background, Kieswetter was SARS Deputy Commissioner between 2004 and 2009, during Gordhan’s tenure as Commissioner; it is said that Kieswetter’s unit was responsible for 30% of the SARS revenue generated then. This contributed to the Government surplus that allowed South Africa to weather the 2008 financial crisis better than many countries. Kieswetter has a Master’s degree in Education, an Executive MBA and an MCom degree in Tax.

SARS must cut down on illicit trade in its mandate to increase revenue collection, and has now tendered for a track and trace marker. South Africa has reportedly lost over R6bn in a single year in illicit alcohol trade and loses around R8bn annually to illicit tobacco trade.
In addition, SARS will be following up on errant taxpayers. Kieswetter has already articulated his policy of prosecuting ‘without fear or favour’.
Secondly, cleaning up after state capture will not only require an unwavering commitment to personal integrity, but also mean reviewing procurement processes, re-establishing the Large Business Centre and other units dismantled by Moyane, and evaluating all SARS posts. Moyane suspended or replaced the whole of the SARS top structure in four months, and in less than a year, many of the most experienced and respected executives had left. IT development halted and millions were paid to such companies as Bain & Co.

So, developing future leaders will be part of Kieswetter’s mission, to recreate a thriving and confident organisation. Kieswetter is known for his transformative leadership approach, with a philosophy of a leader as steward, as an opportunity to serve, not to be served.

Next, with Moyane having stopped the drive to modernise systems, Kieswetter must increase innovation. Embattled IT head, Mmamathe Makhekhe-Mokhuane, has been on suspended leave, following her infamous television interview in October last year.

All these tasks are aimed at restoring the institution’s credibility, both locally and abroad. Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, is looking forward to “seeing SARS re-established as a respected tax collector and improved revenue collection outcomes.” For the sake of the country’s growth and the goodwill of the taxpayer, so do we.

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Building our economic future … together

I write this article in the wake of the national and provincial elections in South Africa, the results enabling the ANC to retain its ruling party status, though significantly weakened. The next five years will reveal if the President and the ANC is worthy of this ‘second chance’.

In the slew of political and economic commentary that followed, I saw a tentatively positive response to the relatively orderly and incident-free voting process, with the Rand appreciating 20c (also attributable to global factors), RSA ten year bond yields improving nine points and the big banking shares rising between 3% and 4%.

As a Financial Planner focused on helping clients in their wealth creation phase, it is a matter of concern for me that almost 10 million eligible voters did not even register to vote. Given our country’s history, and the cost at which the universal right to vote has come, this apparent apathy is worrying. Of course, it may be argued that a reluctance (or refusal) to vote shows no confidence in any of the 48 parties. The pessimism can be understood: the ANC’s recent kleptocracy and pillaging, and the lack of credibility of the other parties.

That said, I am a firm subscriber to the view that our younger generations can shape the future of this country; and participation is personally empowering – be it in our country’s political elections or in shaping our personal financial futures. I believe that this is the time for younger generations to be active in building our nation.

How to be an active citizen

All eyes are on the President who, no doubt, helped the ANC stay in power. A good start has been Cyril Ramaphosa’s revival of the advisory unit to drive policy. The challenges, though, remain what they have always been: economic growth not entirely based on direct foreign investment, but on creating, in the words of Ronnie Kasrils in a Daily Maverick article: “ … industrial policy with teeth to reinvigorate production, giving rise to economic modernisation with jobs, and redistribution instead of austerity.”

Obviously, government must implement measures to regulate SOEs such as Eskom, SAA, Telkom, and Transnet. Government spending on employees needs to be revisited.

Large corporations are cutting back on staff, an indication of the slowing of the economy. While government is setting up policies to create jobs, we as citizens can lend support to the quest to bring economic stability by supporting local entrepreneurs and small businesses; mentoring and encouraging those seeking to create a local brand of excellence; as an employer, to transfer skills to employees and help domestic staff where possible.

South Africans have a dismal record of saving, and improving our savings culture contributes to a healthier national economy.

The role of Financial Planning

In times of economic uncertainty or constraint, planning our finances becomes paramount. Being strategic about spending, saving and investing means that our money works for us and is the means to supporting the life we want for ourselves and our families, as well as helping those who work for us and philanthropic initiatives.

One way to be strategic is to ensure that our money is wisely invested. In the past five years, I am pleased to see clients asking more questions about their portfolio and its composition.

Some clients have enquired about investing money offshore (outside South Africa). I always emphasise the need to diversify with my clients, and part of that is investing offshore, though political uncertainty is but one factor to consider. A diversified approach includes choice of asset classes and asset managers, economies, politics, currencies, and a much wider scope of investment choice. A significant consideration for me is not to have all assets exposed in one country.

Economic prosperity in South Africa will require more than the efforts of government – let’s respond to the President’s call: Thuma Thina: Send us.

Craig Turton is a Certified Financial Planner® and Head of the Wealth Creation team at Chartered Wealth Solutions.

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Resetting South Africa

John-Cambell

Some commentators said that the inauguration of the President of South Africa was reminiscent of 1994: a resurgence of hope and an optimism about the future of the country. Certainly, as I watched Cyril Ramaphosa’s swearing in, I felt more positive about the country’s prospects than I had in some time.

While an ANC win was inevitable, the ruling party’s reputation was severely tarnished by the revelations of the depth of state capture and the number of government officials involved in various degrees and manifestations of corruption. I am assured that, had Jacob Zuma still been the President, the ANC vote would have been closer to 50% and they would have lost Gauteng. Voter turnout dropped (65.99% of registered voters, contrasted with 73.5% in 2014), no doubt attributable to disillusionment with any of the political parties’ ability to effect change.

Strong leadership for investor confidence

As I write this, we are awaiting the announcement of the Cabinet by the President. That he will be able to compose this body completely free of any questionable members is unlikely, but he has assured us that it will be a leaner one. During his nine-year tenure, Zuma’s Cabinet swelled to 35, with ministers earning over R2 million a year and their deputies R1.9 million. Tax-payers want to have the confidence that their contributions for the betterment of the country are used for just that – and not for lining the pockets of fat-cats.

In addition, we expect the President to get the economy back on track, with positive gains for the Rand. A stable government with clearly-defined policies will engender investor confidence and encourage more inflows of foreign direct investment and local investment into the country. President Ramaphosa needs to provide clarity on such issues as land appropriation without compensation, and the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank. People only invest when they know that their money will be safe.
Ramaphosa’s ability to get the economy on track and to rid the ANC of individuals tainted by corruption and links to state capture is crucial to a more secure outlook. A stronger economy will generate an environment more conducive to a collaboration between government and the private sector – creating jobs is a priority not to be ignored, both for a thriving economy and to manage an increasingly hopeless unemployed, unskilled South African youth.
Our investment consultants will be watching for political and economic developments, ready to make changes always in the best interests of our clients. While I believe that Cyril Ramaphosa is the man best placed to lead this country to a more prosperous future, that future remains an uncertain one, and we are investing in the wake of a difficult time for both the country and our flagging market.

With so much focus on local happenings, it is worth noting that global factors (such as a weakened UK market and tensions between China and the US) impact equity markets significantly than a local event such as the outcome of our elections.

Matching your vision to your values

I find President Ramaphosa’s vision of “friendship, solidarity and co-operation” a hopeful one. So much can be achieved by a shared goal and solid values. When Barclay and I merged our companies 20 years ago to establish Chartered Wealth Solutions, we had a vision: to create a company committed to serving its clients with excellence.
We little knew that the Chartered team of four at the time would grow to a company of more than 80 staff and would extend our service to include Chartered Tax and Chartered Legacy & Trust. Our recently established Chartered Invest enables us to ensure that our vision of excellent service is consistent through every client interaction. When we receive positive feedback from our clients, we recognise that it is because our values pervade the company.
President Ramaphosa’s vision of “a society in which our worth is determined by how we value others” resonates with me, and I join his call of “Thuma Thina” – Send Us.

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Release what you can’t control

kim-potgieter-blog-imageAs always, it’s a choice

These days, most conversations I’m exposed to revolve around what’s going wrong. Whether I am at an investment feedback event or having a dinner party at home, the chatter eventually spirals down to the negative.

But is it any wonder? We are constantly bombarded by news of volatile investment returns, falling housing prices, unemployment, violence and load-shedding. The recent black-outs reminded us just how fragile we are, and the upcoming elections are clouded with uncertainty. We are literally surrounded by darkness.

So how do we stay optimistic and guard our emotions against the constant influx of bad news? We simply have to find ways to deal with our stress. You are of no use to yourself, or to others, if you allow yourself to become saddened and dispassionate by the events reported on in the media.

Start by analysing what is in your control to change. The truth is that you have no control over many things that happen in life. You also have no control over what stories the media covers, how they are reported and how often they are aired.

This presents you with a choice: do you want to be exposed to negative and bleak news on an hourly or daily basis? Do you want to be discussing the bad news over dinner every night? You can consciously decide what you will expose yourself to every day.

It is impossible to seclude ourselves from what’s going on in the world. A headline or tragic story will certainly catch your eye, but my point is: you and you alone get to decide how much of this you will entertain in your life.

Let go of the things you cannot control, and spend your energy on what you can.

Find a channel to contribute

For me, it starts with the right attitude. Limit your worry time on things you can’t control. Worrying does not change the outcome of events. We often get so stuck replaying negative news and fears over and over in our heads. Acknowledge that these thoughts are not productive and focus more energy on changing behaviour and setting healthy boundaries for yourself.

Be mindful of your health. To be negatively focused on a long-term basis will eventually lead to stress and ultimately impact your health. Instead, direct your energy to feeling good, finding joy and creating precious moments.

I was inspired by a discussion I had with a couple at one of our investment feedback events. Rather than being consumed with all the negativity and bleak news, they decided to engage in a project where they could actually make a real difference. This involves raising money towards building a workshop at their daughter’s special care facility. Their story will be featured in one of our upcoming Inflight publications.

Being positive amidst all the negativity is hard. It’s more than just feeling optimistic and practising positivity with intention. What works for me is doing regular exercises of gratitude. Make a list of everything that you are grateful for. This may just give you the mood boost you need. Another idea is to try starting each new conversation by sharing something that’s positive in your day. That will automatically trigger a more positive response from the person you are chatting to. Cultivating gratitude should always remind us to focus on hope and positivity.

May your gratitude lists overflow with hope this year.

Best wishes,
Kim

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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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(FSP no. 13909)

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