Author: Clients in Action

Entertaining at Chartered House

Our Chartered clients often share the many ways in which they are keeping themselves mentally challenged, in keeping with the LEARN category of the Wheel of Balance.

From career related learning, to leisure activities such as Bridge and photography, to online courses and games, to creative activities, like painting or dancing. And then … there is the annual Chartered Quiz.

In September, we hosted a Spring quiz for our clients at Chartered House. Teams were named after famous international pubs, such as The Crown and Anchor. Who would have thought there would be a team called The One-eyed Rat?

The competition was fierce, with teams rushing to devise the correct answers to questions across eight categories, including “Current Affairs”, “What in the World?” and “Masters and their Masterpieces”.

The general knowledge of the Chartered clients and planners proved impressive, belying the quotation from the quiz category “Who said that?”: Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe. (Do you know what famous physicist said that?)

Maritime team prevailed, and beaming team members received their prizes. David Wallington was the winner of the draw. Filled with a delectable meal and a sense of achievement, the 2018 Chartered Quiz teams concluded the evening with the promise to challenge their rivals again next year.

 

Wise Words from the Balance Wheel®

Through the eyes of a child

Retirementor, Colleen-Joy Page, reminds us that Play can help us find our Purpose.

If 20 people see a sunset, why can’t all 20 see its beauty? Is the sunset giving more beauty to only some?

Often, we don’t give ourselves permission to see life’s beauty or to free the natural playfulness within us. Sometimes we think life has taken joy from us, or that we can only have fun under certain conditions. But, remember the child within you: rediscover the joy of simple things: the feel of sunlight on your skin, the joy of dancing with abandon, or the night stars, as you lie on the cool grass and breathe in the awe of the cosmos.

Sometimes if we are willing to drop our expectations, and see with the innocent fresh curious eyes of a child, we can find fun and joy in any moment. Ask yourself: “What do I really feel like doing right now?”.

What answers would free you to play?

Don’t be a tourist to your own life; let beauty, joy and play be free within you to fill all the empty spaces.

Redefining Work makes it meaningful

Retirementor, Lynda Smith, coaches her clients to define their passion and talents.

She uses this diagram helps them to craft a new kind of work. “It is critical to experiment and plan – think of all roles your portfolio life might include: consulting, volunteering, Board member, mentoring, a whole new enterprise, collaborating,“ Lynda says.

Lynda’s approach has three steps:

1. Create your Individual Vision List of goals to achieve, dreams to fulfil, experiences to have. Prioritise the 10 most important ideas on your list.
2. Share your list with your spouse or partner: listen to each other; appreciate what the other wants
3. Create a shared vision based on both lists. Figure out a flexible timeline.

Learning to love dance … together

Our clients, Brian and Ronelle Baker, were surprised that their second foray into learning to dance was so different to their first. Now they are having fun, keeping fit, learning and growing their relationship at the same time.

You can find their story by clicking here. Why not try a new area of learning and fun for yourself?

Creating healthy habits can change your life

Our wellness Retirementor, Joni Peddie, reminds us how essential daily health habits are to maintain physical flexibility.

Feeling tense and depleted at the end of a day doesn’t have to be the norm. Try stretching (in a subtle or deliberate way) every hour – it’s a great way to release stress and ground yourself. Stretching relaxes your muscles and increases blood flow throughout your body.

Stretch while you are lying in bed, in the shower, even in the car – simple neck turns and arm stretches will do the trick.  When reaching for something on a top shelf, take a breath, move slowly and hold the stretch for 20 seconds. (www.resilientenergycenter.com)

Giving Back … to the world!

Retirementor, Jeunesse Park, blogs about ways in which we can give back, especially to create a legacy for the next generation in preserving our planet, and protecting the dignity of every person.

She says: “I have never considered myself wealthy but feel blessed and grateful to have enough to eat daily. Yet, I live with an innate sense of the injustice and inequality of our society, driving me to devote most of my working life to the non-profit sector, focusing on uplifting lives through greening and food.”

Taking time to see the beauty all around … And to hear it!

Chartered Wealth Solutions clients, Cecilia and Ralph Auret, travelled to Cape Town two weekends ago, to listen to a mass Church choir.

On the way, the Arets saw beautiful snow on the mountains – a Spring surprise! And, in Houtbay, they savoured the best fish.

The highlight, though, was the choir. Cecilia and Ralph’s trip is testimony to the principle of finding joy in ordinary things, as advocated by Ingrid Lee Fetell in her extraordinary TED Talk.

(Don’t miss the takeaways from that TED Talk in this newsletter – and you can click through to listen to the whole talk … it is well worth the standing ovation she received!).

Rolfe notes from the Emerald Isle

Norma and Rhys Rolfe returned from France to spend three weeks taking care of their family’s homes and pets … a bit of rest and relaxation after their six weeks on the road.  Now they find themselves in Ireland for a month before they return home to South Africa at the end of September.

For the first time in over a hundred years, Ireland, a country with a sad history, is experiencing a greater number of people returning to the country than leaving it. The little towns and harbours on the coast are very quaint, and so much has been modernised and improved here since Ireland became a member of the EU. The roads, farms, buildings and facilities have improved since we were here in 1975 and 2007.  We enjoyed driving down the Hook peninsular to Tramore just south of Waterford where we spent a few days.

We are so enjoying the Irish, who have a very dry sense of humour and are a very friendly people. We are in the South-East at the moment where Gaelic Football and Hurling are the popular sports. They seem to make things very casually and are certainly in no rush. I think Ireland is a very easy country to live in, without the weather. I think, even with the weather, we could live here.

During the potato famine in the 1840s, one million people died and one million more emigrated. A mass grave at Skibbereen is the burial site of eight to 10 thousand people. The population of Ireland in 1840 was over eight million. After the famine, in 1851, the population numbered 6.5 million, and today the population is 4.7 million. Interesting figures.

The first Temperance Hall in Europe was built in Skibberdeen in 1833; this has been replaced by 26 well-patronised pubs.

We visited the monument to Michael Collins, a leader of the IRA, who was ambushed by members of the IRA who were dissatisfied with the peace agreement in 1922 of which Collins was a signatory.

Markets are very popular in villages and towns, in spite of all the supermarkets. The fare on offer is fresh but more expensive. I could not resist a nice Plaice and a kilogram of prawns, plus local cheese and some veggies. All very nice. We do enjoy buying local cheese in the areas we drive through.

In Skibbereen Main Street, the buildings have been painted in different colours instead of the old cement colour, making a huge difference to appearance. We stayed in Bantry Bay, a beautiful area on the South-East coast. Unfortunately, it was raining, but the forecast for the next day was good. Yesterday we went to Mizen Head.

Our road trip today from Dungarvan to Blarney was beautiful, especially the little fishing village of Ardmore, a quaint little town on a beautiful bay. The countryside is beautifully green, typical Ireland.

The 12th century round tower is one of the best examples of these structures in Ireland, built by the Monastic monks to safeguard their valuables and themselves if attacked. The St Declan’s church stands on the site of the original monastery next to the tower. There are 9th-century carvings set in unusual panels on the western wall.

We visited Blarney, a few kilometres outside Cork, famous for its castle and the Blarney Stone. The weather remained good, fortunately, and we continued to enjoy the Irish and Ireland.

couple feet dancing on grass

Dancepiration

How a couple makes learning together better … 30 years later!

Chartered clients, Brian and Ronelle Baker, have divergent interests, so they seek ways to have fun together.  Now, they are revisiting an activity that was, decades ago, “an unadulterated disaster”.  This time, though, there is a happy ending. Enjoy Ronelle’s article below.

30 years ago we were invited to a dance class (free-of-charge and with no pressure or commitment to join long-term). At the time, we were both working high-pressure jobs, so spending an hour on a dance floor was low on our priority list.

For one hour, we argued, stood on one another’s toes, and almost fought with the teacher. Then, we left the studio, grumpy, disgruntled and annoyed with each other for not being able to grasp something as simple as a ‘swing’.

It takes two to tango

In September 2017, and two friends generously gave us four ballroom lessons.  Of course, we anticipated a repeat of our first disastrous attempt.  To our astonishment, we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Firstly, our teachers, Lindi and Zane, are Job-like patient; no matter how often we fumble, trip or step on their toes, or each other’s toes, they give us the opportunity to “start again and listen to the music”. All credit to them for any skill we may show!

Right: Ronelle with her dance coach.

Secondly, and this is extremely important, I have had to learn to give up control, as the man is the leader in this endeavour, and the lady has to follow him. This is an interesting at this stage of our lives, but having eventually grasped it, we are now addicted!

Our ballroom dancing classes have introduced us to a whole lot of new likeminded people whom we have befriended and who help us along during our worst “fumbling” days.

We have group lessons every second week – and then once a week private lessons.  We find that we learn a great deal at social dancing events, where we have the opportunity to dance with other dancers, mostly better than us, but we continue the learning process.  Dancing with folks who are proficient makes us look very experienced!

Benefits all round

We are told that ballroom dancing helps prevent age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and that the exercise is highly beneficial.  I can’t comment on Alzheimer’s but our dancing lessons certainly do help to keep us limber – and, at the same time, we are doing some serious aerobic exercises.

We can safely say that we can fumble through the swing, foxtrot, waltz, tango (our favourite) and the rumba.  We have much to learn, but so enjoy our time on the dance floor that we’re happy to give time and money to our new hobby.  It is delightful that at this stage of our lives, Brian and I have found something that we like to do together, as mostly our existing hobbies are divergent.

So, if you’d like a new together hobby, this is the one to try!

For those of you who follow the travel diaries of our clients, Norma and Rhys Rolfe, you will not be surprised to find that they have been on the move again in their motor home. Not only tourists this time, they are also cat, dog and garden caretakers. Here is their summary of their recent travels: We have just returned to the UK, before the ferries and Chunnel were closed because of the heat. The temperatures and dryness were quite debilitating, and Normandy and the UK look like the Free State in winter. Things have cooled down now which is quite pleasant. We arrived back in time for the families to depart on their holidays, while we look after gardens, cats and dogs … it is quite useful to have old folks around sometimes! I must say, we do enjoy staying in a six-bedroomed house on our own after six weeks in the motor home. We are not complaining, though. We had a wonderful six weeks in France, big and beautiful with a cosmopolitan population of very friendly people. Watching part of the Tour de France was certainly interesting - one does not get the full impact on television. The passing parade lasts for about three hours, and the cyclists pass by in a blurred flash. Watching the World Cup Football final in a pub was most interesting, especially with France winning. It was a little like South Africa winning the rugby World Cup in 1995. We found Brittany most interesting and enjoyable and plan to go back again next year. It is a section of France we have day-passed to a large extent to date: it is out on a limb (a little like Wales in that they have their own language and dialect). When their family returns home to the UK, the Rolfes are off again … this time, to Ireland. No doubt we will receive wonderful accounts of their adventures on the Emerald Isle.

When in France … for the World Cup!

For those of you who follow the travel diaries of our clients, Norma and Rhys Rolfe, you will not be surprised to find that they have been on the move again in their motor home.  Not only tourists this time, they are also cat, dog and garden caretakers.

Here is their summary of their recent travels:

We have just returned to the UK, before the ferries and Chunnel were closed because of the heat. The temperatures and dryness were quite debilitating, and Normandy and the UK look like House on the River Bankthe Free State in winter. Things have cooled down now which is quite pleasant.

We arrived back in time for the families to depart on their holidays, while we look after gardens, cats and dogs … it is quite useful to have old folks around sometimes! I must say, we do enjoy staying in a six-bedroomed house on our own after six weeks in the motor home. We are not complaining, though.

We had a wonderful six weeks in France, big and beautiful with a cosmopolitan population of very friendly people. Watching part of the Tour de France was certainly interesting – one does not get the full impact on television. The passing parade lasts for about three hours, and the cyclists pass by in a blurred flash. Watching the World Cup Football final in a pub was most interesting, especially with France winning. It was a little like South Africa winning the rugby World Cup in 1995.

We found Brittany most interesting and enjoyable and plan to go back again next year. It is a section of France we have day-passed to a large extent to date: it is out on a limb (a little like Wales in that they have their own language and dialect).

When their family returns home to the UK, the Rolfes are off again … this time, to Ireland.  No doubt we will receive wonderful accounts of their adventures on the Emerald Isle.

Don’t call me ‘retired’ – I’m too busy!

When Alex Isaakidis retired, he and his wife took a trip to China to mark this transition and to celebrate their fortieth wedding anniversary. Little did he know that this trip would also usher in a whole new career for him … and a fresh sense of life purpose and meaning.

Chartered clients, Alex and Miranda have always worked as a team, each with their own roles. So, it seemed natural to them, when Alex retired, to include him in Miranda’s Indulgent Spa business.

“We attended a trade show in Hong Kong together and I was inspired by the new products and exhibiting concepts to bring back to South Africa,” says Miranda.

With so many innovative ideas to be brought to life, Miranda is grateful for Alex’s partnership. “Alex does the work I don’t enjoy doing,” she smiles. “I like the fun part. For him, it is a sport to work with money.”

The benefit is mutual, according to Alex. “Now that I have retired, Miranda’s business is my security blanket,” he affirms. “It gives me meaning and purpose.”

But Alex is not limiting his sense of purpose to his work at Indulgence Spa.

He has signed up for a Master’s degree in History at the Open University, and will be prioritising spending time with Miranda, “just having fun!”.

He also wants to write a book about the Crawford Schools, where he worked for a number of years. “I just have to find the time to do all these things … I am living to achieve my unfulfilled dreams,” says Alex.

Focus, not only on the do, but also on the who

Alex and Miranda both recognise the importance of their relationships.

“Our most important consideration is our social interaction. We want to surround ourselves with our friends.”

Their marriage remains their source of encouragement and joy. “How can retirement be dull, being married to Miranda?” laughs Alex, and Miranda adds her bit, “It’s fun to have Alex around. I love the extra support and being able to pick his brain.”

Being able to spend time with people they love and enjoy being with is a first consideration in where the couple will settle once fully retired. They also want to help others, a motivation born out of their gratitude for their blessings. “We are so lucky to have what we have,” says Miranda. “We have always shared.”

It’s a belief they extend to their relationship with money. “In retirement, we have a philosophy of how we will spend our money and enjoy our lives,” Alex says.

He is realising that they have sufficient income. “We are lucky to have money, but we don’t live flashy lives.

“We are content with what we have … happy. We have a great life, healthy children and a beautiful marriage. There is nothing we want in the material sense.”

True to this value, Alex and Miranda are, at present, decluttering their home and minimising their household goods.

The lesson?

If you find yourself in a transition you haven’t necessarily adequately prepared for, or in a mid-life crisis, reset yourself! You can easily do this by doing something completely out of the ordinary for your life. Alex and Miranda did this by taking a trip to China.

Whatever your extraordinary act, be it big or small, do it, and breathe in the sparkle and delight of the astonishing uniqueness of it all.

Baguettes and berets for the Rolfes

Chartered clients, Norma and Rhys Rolfe, have clearly been bitten by the travel bug, and have spent the better part of their Retiremeant™ travelling the globe.  Here is their latest update, from Burgundy, in the land famous for the Eiffel Tower and romantic assignations.

As we continue to enjoy our sojourn around France in record-breaking heat, we enjoy the memorable sites of beauty and interest. France is undoubtedly a country for travelling, eating and drinking. With a population of 66 million (equivalent to the UK) and a country three times larger, driving in France is a pleasure.

We did so enjoy our week in Paris and Versailles but are now getting great pleasure driving through the little villages and the countryside. The little hillside town of Vezelay, with its narrow winding streets and interesting shops, was indeed picturesque. The Bascilique St Madelaine on the top of the hill is a UNESCO site and one of the starting points for the Camino de Compostela. This was obviously interesting for us having walked part of the Camino.

A Basilica is an oblong type of building with a central nave and isles, with a slightly raised platform and an apse at one end. The naming of such a church is granted by the Pope. Beaune, pronounced Bone, is the capital of the Burgundy wine-growing area and is a beautiful walled town. The walls have been preserved as they house wine cellars.

Lake Annecy, the town, and surrounds are most attractive and very popular tourist destinations. We had some lovely rides on our bicycles, and our behinds have taken some punishment. We now have a lovely camp site looking out to the Alps and Mont Blanc.

What a privilege to be able to enjoy such a beautiful place in perfect weather.

Roy Irvine spening time at the children at the Link Literacy project

Never too late to learn … and teach!

Chartered Wealth Solutions client, Roy Irvine, volunteers for the Link Literacy programmeImagine finding a whole new area of learning when you decide to help others learn?  This is what Chartered Wealth Solutions client, Roy Irvine, discovered when he volunteered for the Link Literacy programme.

“Two hours once a week is nothing in a retiree’s life (or semi-retiree’s, in my case). The other tutors have, like me, had an excellent education and satisfying careers, and now see this as a way to encourage learning as a way for the children to have a great future,” says Roy.

How did you get involved?

After returning from some expat work (as a geologist) in West Africa, there were few opportunities for my skill set in the local mining industry, so I decided to look at what else I enjoyed, which was teaching.

I enrolled in and completed a TEFL (Teaching English, Foreign Language course). I started looking for opportunities and came across the Link Literacy program, and instead of teaching English, I ended up being part of, and now managing, one of the Numeracy classes, at the Melville branch.

Why did you get involved?

I believe that every child has the potential to be the best that they can be, and often don’t reach their true potential because of lack of adult support.

The 45 minutes twice a week that the volunteers spend with each of the children has been shown to enable them to grasp the basics of Numeracy, as well as to show them that numbers are not only important in life but can be fun.

We work with Grade 2 and Grade 3 children, and the feedback from their regular teachers has been very encouraging.

Why should others get involved?

Donate or volunteer at the Link Literacy and numourcy projectCurrently, we have 3-4 children to work with, and would love to see more volunteers to come on board, so that we could get to the one-on-one that the Literacy classes are achieving.  South Africa can have many more successful numerate people and we all believe that this is really a worthwhile cause to give back to, and an opportunity to themselves learn.

There are various centers around Johannesburg, all following the same programme. If you would like to see us in action, please feel free to pop into a session – watching a bunch of non-teachers (mostly) and a class of 8 and 9 year olds is something to see! The Link Literacy programme currently operates at 15 schools across Johannesburg, including in Midrand, Parktown, Norwood, Orange Grove, Fairland, Bedfordview, Edenvale, Melville.

Why not embark on your own journey of learning … to help others learn?

For more information contact megan Maynard via email at – megan.maynard31@gmail.com

Retirement: an opportunity to transform lives

When Coral and John Elks’ son-in-law suffered a spinal injury in an accident, little did they know that the impact of this experience would extend far beyond their family … and transform the lives of hundreds in Southern Africa.

Coral and John’s church is involved in a number of projects, most of which support healthcare:  training neo-natal resuscitation; clean water initiatives; measles campaigns; cataract surgery; the donation of wheelchairs.  It is in this last project that the Elks are actively involved.

But, the mere donation of wheelchairs is no guarantee of an improved life for a handicapped person … in fact, it may be a death sentence.  “An improperly sized wheelchair can cause further damage or injury to the user,” explains Coral.  “We have seen a child trying to manoeuvre an adult-sized wheelchair, and damaging his too-short arms and shoulders in doing so.” A persistent danger is pressure sores from ill-fitting chairs, and, once infected, the outcome could be fatal. “Generally, the lifespan of someone who suffers a spinal injury in third world countries is no longer than two years,” John clarifies – many die while waiting for a wheelchair. Also, the wheelchairs that are donated are the sturdier type more suited to the rugged conditions of rural Southern Africa.

As a result, the contract agreed on by the provincial government and the Elks’ church includes the provision of training of government physiotherapists and occupational therapists in the assessment, prescription and fitting of a wheelchair – an aspect of the treatment often not taken into account. “In all of our projects, the church’s aim is to improve the lives of people in the community in a sustainable way – and education, not only donation, is the means to achieve that,” says John. The World Health Organisation has accredited the training programme.

A business with joy as the reward

“It’s like we have opened our own business,” laughs Coral, “without the monetary remuneration.  We organise contracts, assess the need, order and have the equipment shipped, have the wheelchairs made up, arrange accommodation and the programme for the trainers and trainees. We are the people on the ground, managing the logistics, and check feedback reports that enable us to ensure the manufacture matches demand.” It is in this latter function that John’s expertise as an accountant is put to use … six years after retirement from formal employment.

This accountability sees the Elks travelling to the four projects under their care – Polokwane, Durban, Gaborone and Zimbabwe – one week out of four, for follow-up visits.  So, you can certainly say that travel is on their Bucket Wheel, and it is travel with a significant purpose.

On the couple’s visits to recipients of the wheelchairs, they are accompanied by the therapists.  This allows the therapists to check for pressure sores (often thereby preventing amputation) and to understand what home conditions are like.

“It is very humbling to see what an impact the donations are making in the lives of people,” says Coral.  “The work we do is hard but people are so grateful. We can’t believe how cheerful people are in such difficult conditions – and those with the wheelchairs are the lucky ones in these circumstances.” The impact is clear: being able to access transport and to get employment are crucial aspects of empowering those with these disabilities.

And what of the future?

“We will carry on for as long as we can,” says John.  “We have made contacts and built relationships with officials – it would make no sense for someone else to try and build trust from scratch.”

John explains, “When I retired, we had one year of ‘leisure’ before we started our first church project.  While I enjoyed the freedom of not having to go to work every day, I quickly realised that we could become sedentary and listless without something worthwhile that we enjoy … which is not to say that our work is fun, but it is a joy and a privilege to be a part of changing the lives of others.”

The project has changed the Elks themselves. “We’ve become a little more empathetic,” acknowledges John. “You can see suffering wherever you go, and it is easy to say ‘shame’ and carry on with your life. You can also say that it is the government’s job – it is, of course, and, yes, poverty and corruption are a source of frustration; but, if we waited until our donations were always handled perfectly, we would not do anything.  We don’t live in a perfect world, and we need to make a contribution.”

And the Elks are certainly doing that, helping hundreds of people live better lives.