Tag: Kim Potgieter

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Pros and Pitfalls when appointing your child as the executor of your estate

Most experts agree that choosing the executor of your will requires thoughtful consideration. When it comes to conversations about executorship, I often hear clients wanting to appoint their adult children. The reasons vary but are most often a matter of choosing someone you love and trust, as well as saving costs. Having worked with many families through their grief after losing a loved one, I appeal to clients to think about the pros and pitfalls of appointing children in this position.

Firstly, being an executor is a demanding, often complicated role and a job that could easily take several months or longer to complete. It is the executor’s responsibility to carry out the instructions in your will and he or she must often find time-consuming solutions to problems that may arise in the process. Your children may also not be fully qualified to act in this role. It is worth noting that should the assets of an estate be valued at more than R250 000, any layperson appointed as the executor must be assisted by an attorney, Trust Company or practicing accountant in the administration of your estate.

Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, the people you leave behind when you pass away need time to grieve. If your children are tasked with winding up your estate, it can be difficult finding the time to mourn. I have known children who were so busy with all the administrative duties that they never had the time to process the loss – and still struggle with the passing of their parents years later.

Parents often mean well by appointing one of their children as the executor, especially if they are professionally qualified or seem to be responsible. In many families, this may work well but, the third pitfall to consider when appointing a child as the executor is that instead of bringing the family closer together when you’re gone, it may tear them further apart.

Leaving one child to make difficult decisions during the winding up of the estate may make them unpopular with their siblings. I have met siblings who no longer talk to each other because of disputes about the Will. A common area of disagreement is about when and how assets should be valued or dispersed. A client in her 50s came to see me a while ago, wanting to sue her brother for how he managed her parent’s estate. She believed that he falsely valued the business their father left behind and felt unfairly compensated. In cases where executors are sued and found guilty, they can be imprisoned or liable to pay a hefty fine. It is unfortunate when sibling disagreements ruin a previously healthy relationship, and I am sure that this is not the outcome their father had hoped for.

Most situations are likely not as extreme as the one I have mentioned above, but it is worth thinking about the responsibility that you allocate to the child when appointing them as the executor. Should you have more than one child, it is also worth considering what emotions the children not appointed as executor may potentially be feeling. I have come across children feeling ‘less than’ and bullied by the child making the final decisions. I saw this in siblings who were left a holiday house by one of my clients. One child wanted to keep the house while the other wanted it sold as they needed the cash. It resulted in a sibling relationship of bitterness and resentment, and knowing my client, it is not what she intended for them.

I recently met with a couple who decided to appoint their two daughters as joint executors. The daughters are unique and diverse individuals, and they see the world very differently. Their needs are also distinctly unlike . Experience tells me that this will probably result in unnecessary stress and conflict.

No matter the size of your estate, it is important to consider the pros and pitfalls of who you appoint as executor very carefully. Selecting your adult children may well be in your best interest but I urge you to consider the appointment from various perspectives. Whoever you do decide to appoint, ensure that your last gift to your loved ones can be processed as easily as possible by:

• Ensuring that all the relevant documents for the smooth administration of your will are well organised and easy to find – this will save your loved ones the stress of running around finding relevant documentation and will save costs.

• Having these difficult conversations with your family. Allow yourself to talk about your wishes with your loved ones – should there be any differences of opinion among your children, you have time to structure your will in such a way that will minimise family disputes.

It is important to note that each situation is unique, and all families are different. Discuss your wishes with your RetiremeantTM Specialist who will assist you in finding the solution that would work best for you and your family.

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Do not be afraid to be human

Like you, I have been watching our beautiful country burn for the past couple of days. And it’s devastating. It doesn’t feel real.

Like you, I feel completely overwhelmed. I feel helpless and lost; I am angry and sad at the same time. It is heartbreaking to see destruction and loss on such a massive scale. I am upset that our longstanding battle with Covid has been placed on hold to make space for yet another struggle. The struggle for peace, for dignity, integrity, redemption and grace.

As a nation – as people, we are overwhelmed all over again. We are not only worried about our health and safety because of Covid; we are terrified for ourselves, people we love and people we don’t even know. We are fearful of what the future holds. We feel overpowered physically and emotionally.

I’ve had to still my mind and find a quiet to gather my thoughts – and I’ve had to compartmentalise my emotions to make sense of it all. Part of me feels angry; I want to join the fight for freedom, I want to protect the people and businesses I love. The other part of me wants to remain graceful. I want to be a good leader; I want to act with integrity, and I want to be proud of myself and how I behaved when this is all over. I continuously fluctuate between feeling terrified and needing to connect with the love and peace in my soul.

When we feel overwhelmed with emotion, it’s easy to lose ourselves in the process. The danger is when your emotions turn into anger – or worse – when it turns into hate, and you lose yourself in the process.

I have mentioned this before, but in times of stress and chaos, I do find guidance and peace in the Serenity Prayer. It reminds me of the bigger journey of life and helps me to let go of the things that I cannot control.

The Serenity Prayer:
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

We all have a choice. We have choices when it comes to every aspect of our lives. And it’s how you react, it’s what you do with what you know, that separates you from being average or stand tall as a great leader.

Think of yourself as a leader. And you are a leader: in your role as husband, wife, mother, friend and citizen. We need good leaders right now. We need leaders who can guide their families, friends and loved ones through this crisis with integrity. We need leaders who can live true to their values, who can separate between what they can, and cannot control, who can lead with grace and dignity, and above all else, leaders who remind us to be human.

Brené Brown’s words come to mind:

“We desperately need more leaders who are committed to courageous, wholehearted leadership, and who are self-aware enough to lead from their hearts, rather than unevolved leaders who lead from hurt and fear.”

While I pray for decisive action from our government, I want to remind you, no, I want to urge you to lead with loving hearts, dignity, and compassion. Reach out to your loved ones, stay connected and remind one another that we are so much more than anger and hate. We are human. And being human means being the ones to make someone smile, to reach out with a helping hand, to be the ones that rise above all the anger, and to stand in our truth with worthiness.

Please reach out if you need a helping hand. We are here to support you every step of the way.

Warm regards,
Kim

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The importance of agility when it comes to your RetiremeantTM Plan

Covid has taught us many things, both personally and professionally. It has taught us how to be adaptable, it has taught us how to be flexible, and it has taught us how to be agile. According to the Oxford dictionary, the word agile means the ability to move quickly and easily and the ability to think in an intelligent way. At Chartered we swiftly learnt what it meant to be agile when we went into Lockdown, as we had to set up all our staff to work from home while enabling them to still do their jobs effectively. Our clients also had to be agile when it came to having meetings and attending events over Zoom. But, this agility has had to extend to other areas of the business as well.

Each year we meet with all of our clients to review their RetiremeantTM Plan. This is so we can make sure that their plan is still serving their lifestyle. This process requires adaptability and agility so that we can grow through the change. Covid, however, has required us to be more agile than ever before.

Take the example of the doctor who is a specialist. Covid has had a huge financial impact on his practice. He thought that the only solution was to close his practice, a thought that was extremely devastating to him, as he derives so much pleasure and purpose from his work. Closing his practice wasn’t the ideal solution, so instead his RetiremeantTM Plan was adapted, and he cut his costs of running the practice to the bare minimum. Personally, he made the decision to spend more time with his wife instead of focussing all his energy on the negatives, and stressing and discussing with everyone about how bad business is. Instead, he decided to see this period as a sabbatical, and use the time to upskill, learning new skills that may keep him more future fit. He also decided to implement a daily gratitude practice. Currently his plan has a year of no earnings, but will start again when things improve and when more people go back to seeing specialists. Yes, he may need to work a bit longer in order to prepare for his retirement adequately, but isn’t this a better alternative than experiencing so much stress that your health gets impacted?

Next was the client, who was retrenched at 60, a result of Covid. He was spending all his energy sending out his CV in the hope of finding a job. After a discussion with him, he realised that with his specialised skills, he could be involved in numerous projects at once, and have multiple income streams. The focus shifted from having a permanent, full-time job until his official retirement in three years, to planning on working for another ten years. By doing this, it would take the pressure off of having to earn a lot in a very short period. While he potentially may earn less in the short -term, the flexibility would make his work more like a “playcheque.”

It is easy to get despondent during this time, and it is difficult to think out of the box when you are faced with a crisis. Remember that we are here to assist you, so please reach out to us if your RetiremeantTM Plan needs adjusting.

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Kind and calm thoughts are contagious

As I prepared for a day of Dare to Lead learning with my Chartered family last week, I briefly wondered if there weren’t more urgent projects to focus on with the outbreak of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. As the day progressed, I realised again how important the work that I brought home from Brené Brown’s facilitation course last year is. It prepares us as a company to lean into our vulnerability, engage in tough conversations and mentor and coach our clients with empathy and understanding in the face of the uncertainty and fear that COVID-19 brings.

Let me share some take-outs from the teachings of Brené Brown that may just help as we prepare to keep living our best lives in the next few week and months in the midst of all the uncertainty.

We are all going to feel extremely vulnerable. Brené defines vulnerability as “the emotion we experience during times of uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.” You have to consciously accept this emotion, and recognise that vulnerability is not a weakness. Vulnerability is the underlying emotion that we’re all feeling. When you accept that you are feeling vulnerable, you can lean into your vulnerability, rather than avoid or become anxious because of it. This gives you the strength and the courage to face your fear and uncertainty.

We are all going to need to be brave. Anxiety and panic are natural reactions to scary events. But, we cannot allow ourselves to become overwhelmed with fearful emotions. When we’re overwhelmed by uncertainty or fear, the rational parts of our brain shuts down – and we panic! We make our worst decisions in this state of panic.

We need to remind ourselves of our most important values and stay true to them. Check in with your values regularly and let them guide your behaviour. Knowing what you value above all else is a powerful tool and makes you feel in control of your actions. This is especially helpful in situations where you feel you have little or no control.

And lastly, keep practising gratitude. There may be many events that you have no control over as the government guides our country through the crisis. Reflect on what you are grateful for and replace anxious thoughts with rewarding behaviours that make you feel good. Be grateful for your part in minimising the spread of COVID-19; spend more time with your immediate family; reach out to those in need; pamper yourself, spoil your partner and connect with your inner peace.

We may not be able to connect with our colleagues or loved ones in the same way we always have. We will probably hug less and miss our face-to-face meetings, but our thoughts and love for one another will pull us through this pandemic as a collective.

We may be separate, but through kind words and brave thoughts we are much stronger together,

Kim

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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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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.

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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!

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Alzheimer’s: what not to forget

In her fifties, my gran developed Alzheimer’s. I remember visiting her as a child. One of my first experiences of her illness was when she began to lose her ability to filter what she said to those around her. On one occasion, I took a friend along with me to see her. It turns out my gran didn’t like my friend. So what did she do? She told my friend to leave! This is not something she would normally have done – not the gran that I knew.

Health changes people – for better or worse

And we had no idea at the time how my gran’s health, or lack of it, was changing her. We even thought that she had been drinking secretly, so unpredictable was her behaviour. But of course, this wasn’t the case at all and it was just a few months later that she was diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s. I had always understood that this disease is genetic and somewhere at the back of my mind, I’ve worried that I might fall prey to it too. Watching her deteriorating was devastating.

But a recent Carte Blanche episode shed some light on the subject. It’s estimated that 9.9 million new cases of Alzheimer’s are reported annually – and while nothing can cure this disease, some simple lifestyle choices can help prevent it.

The three pillars of health

What we eat, how we move and how we sleep – research and the experts tell us that, done well, they can help push back this disease. That’s because the cell loss process begins 20 years before the disease presents. Plus, the role of genetics is less than researchers first thought. It’s actually environmental factors that determine if it develops. That’s encouraging for me – because it means there is less left to fate and more that I can manage.

Take action as early as you can
Physical fitness is all-important. Did you know that all it takes is brisk walking to reverse brain-size decreasing, something that happens in old age? And eating well is essential; when it comes to keeping Alzheimer’s at bay, a Mediterranean diet is encouraged. Did you know that olive-growing regions rich in fish, vegetables (especially leafy, green ones), fruit and seeds benefit us cognitively and reduce our risks? Sleep, that third – and one of my favourite things – pillar (or is it pillow?) is important for brain function. The slow wave sleep phase is when your brain development increases.

Will these three pillars eliminate your risk of Alzheimer’s? No. But apparently, they can more than halve it! That’s a statistic I’m happy to work with.

So, to the three pillars then! And to a cruise on the Med – purely for health purposes, of course!

Warm regards

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It’s time to #MakeThisTheYear

Our Retire Successfully theme for 2017 is #MakeThisTheYear.

Yes, why not make 2017 the year? And don’t allow the usual objections to hold you back … I am not sure if it is the right time. What will others say? What if I fail? Doesn’t that seem a bit selfish?

So often, regret happens because we put many of our dreams on hold, waiting for the perfect time. Ask yourself: when is the perfect time? Will it ever come? Let’s not miss doing the things we have always wished we had. The time I share with clients in life planning meetings is always extremely special, as clients express verbally, often for the first time, those dreams they have cherished, but buried deep. They may never have even acknowledged the desire clearly to themselves, but quietly waited for the perfect time for this nascent desire to come to light.

Often, just verbalising and sharing the idea, knowing that someone else recognises that desire, makes it more possible to realise.

The NOW is what is important. Today, look at January 2017 and say: I am going to #MakeThisTheYear.

Whether it is having a difficult conversation, going on that trip, joining a dance group, or just having some fun, what is important is having the courage and the willingness to make it a reality.

So, today is the perfect day to start.

A Chartered couple in a recent life planning meeting shared with me that when they give friends who need encouragement a copy of Dr Seusss book: Oh The Places You’ll Go. The book opens with these inspirational words:

Congratulations

Today is your day

You’re off to Great Places!

You’re off and away!

And ends

So … Be your name Buxhaum or Bixby or Bray

Or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O ‘Shea,

You’re off to great places!

Today is your Day!

Your Mountain is waiting

So…..get on your way!

So whatever your mountain, #NoMoreExcuses #JustGoForIt #Make this the year.

I look forward to hearing from you what you are going to do in 2017.

Best Wishes

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