In my book Retiremeant – get more meaning from your money, I define work as a meaningful and productive engagement. When we are younger, we often see work as a “job” – something we do to earn money. Retirement gives us the luxury of seeing work differently, moving away from work as a duty or responsibility, to something that gives you a sense of direction, accomplishment and worth.
The key is in the planning! You have heard me say this so often before, and I cannot emphasise this enough. Preparing for your work life before you actually retire, alleviates a lot of anxiety and answers the million-dollar question: What am I going to do with my time?
I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Tessa Deighton last week. She has recently completed a research study on the impact retirement has on the individual and explored the benefits of coaching (or what we at Chartered call, Life Planning) in preparing for this transition.
Tessa found that one of the biggest factors causing retirement anxiety is not knowing what you will do with your time, and what your life will look like.
Preparation work often involves introspective work. When you’re 60+, your planning will, of course, include some exiting items on your Bucket Wheel®, but you are not just planning for a holiday. You are planning what to do with the next 20 – 30 years of your life. You are planning for a life filled with purpose and satisfaction.
We have compiled a Reflection worksheet designed to challenge and encourage your thinking. You will find the RetiremeantTM Reflections on my website (www.kimpotgieter.co.za) – please check in with Reflection 15.
For added inspiration, read Mike and Natalie Pennel’s story. Mike started planning for his work in RetiremeantTM three years before actually ending his formal employment. It has been such an exciting journey working with Mike and Natalie and witnessing how they turned their hobbies into meaningful work.
Lynda Smith, also a Chartered client, shares her journey in starting 50 Plus Skills. I love how Lynda incorporated learning, earning and serving in the skills offering. Applying these skills, combined with giving-back, is a great way to continue working in retirement. You may not always earn in income from work in Retiremeant™, but whether you are being paid or not, you need to feel useful and relevant.
I’ll leave you with this quotation by Earl Nightingale, American radio speaker and author: “Never give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”
What better opportunity to follow your dreams when you have the time to pursue them.
Always deeply touched by my conversations with RetiremeantTM clients, I am so grateful for your courage in talking about what this transition means. I am equally appreciative when someone gives their time to chat to me about the topic closest to my heart: merging your money with meaning to create the life you want.
Tessa Deighton is such a person, having just finished her research assignment for the Master of Philosophy in Management Coaching degree: The potential role of coaching for corporate executives dealing with the impact of a retirement transition.
Tessa interviewed me on the process Chartered follows in our RetiremeantTM Journey. Thank you to our clients who participated in this study; you will be pleased to know that Tessa received a first class pass. I am sure this study will be extremely helpful to coaches, corporates and others planning for the retirement transition.
Why coaching for retirement?
“I chose this topic,” said Tessa, “because I noticed how many people suffer ill health directly after retirement.” Tessa had a hunch that failure to plan for your life’s second half may create stress and increase anxiety levels, which in turn, impacts on health. “I wanted to research the impact retirement has on the individual, and specifically the corporate executive, and to explore the benefits of coaching in preparing for this transition.”
Tessa interviewed both retirees (who had received coaching for their retirement transition) and seasoned executive retirement coaches for her study.
Tessa found that people who don’t receive coaching prior to the transition risk being completely unprepared for retirement. “I found that denial of the day and the life after retirement is a major hurdle in the ability of corporate executives to face the transition,” she said.
According to Tessa, “the most prominent issue was what retiring corporate executives would do with their time to give them a sense of value, meaning and purpose.” Most people don’t consider what retirement will mean to them, and what their retirement will look like. In addition, corporate support focuses solely on finances.
In contrast, those who received retirement coaching acknowledged that retirement is a major transition, both mentally and emotionally. “Many said they had denied or underestimated the impact of the transition and found the coaching to be invaluable with beneficial outcomes,” Tessa said.
Based on her research, Tessa shares her top tips from those in her sample study that had undergone retirement coaching:
Acknowledge – retirement is a challenging transition; face it, embrace it, work through it.
Support – make sure you have someone to talk to.
Attitude – cultivate a positive attitude and see retirement as a beginning.
Introspection – reflect on what motivates you; know your personality style and plan your life to accommodate your wants and needs.
Three tips from retirement coaches:
Invest in yourself – allow yourself the luxury of coaching. Being prepared mentally, psychologically and physically is to retire successfully.
If you work in a corporate, acknowledge the impact of your retirement and exit conditions. Plan ahead, and if possible, negotiate for a phased-in retirement.
Lobby for coaching to be included in retirement planning.
I left my meeting with Tessa with a warm feeling in my heart, and the confirmation that we were indeed giving our clients the support needed. I am proud of our RetiremeantTM Journey at Chartered and feel so privileged that you – our clients – have trusted us to Retire Successfully.
I recently did Life Planning for a client who shared with me that his one core value was Family. This value provided direction for his Financial Plan and whenever we discuss how to allocate money, a family holiday is always a non-negotiable and a top priority.
Being clear on your core values is as important for you to know, as it is for us as your Retiremeant™ Team; it guides us in allocating your money to align with your values, bringing more meaning and fulfilment to your life.
Like the theme of this newsletter, one of my core values is learning. It would make sense then, that a significant part of my money is allocated to learning and attending courses. Flowing from my passion to learn, is teaching, and nothing gives me more pleasure than sharing my knowledge with you.
Harry S Truman, the 33rd President of the United States reminds us that it’s what you learn after you know it all, that counts.
Core Values Exercise
Our core values are the fundamental beliefs that we hold dear. Living up to our core values or ideals brings a sense of worth and self-esteem, and if we don’t, we feel shame, regret or lack of fulfilment.
From the list below, choose three values that are most important to you. Be honest. Choose values that inspire your true self and feel free to add to the list.
You may want the work through the list and chose more than three values, but go
back and narrow your list down to only three.
Now, write down your top three values in order of most to least important.
These are your core values: the ideals that are most important to you and which you most passionately believe in. Use them to guide your priorities for your life.
Source: David Krueger, Your New Money Story® Roadmap
In my search for learning about our relationship with money, I came across many references to David Krueger. After reading his book, The Secret Language of Money, I enrolled for his coaching course and qualified as a New Money Story® Mentor Coach in 2016.
I have since applied my money story learnings in Life Planning meetings and ask clients about the first money memory that impacted their lives. I am always reminded how money memories from childhood can still affect our relationship with money even decades later.
Krueger’s teaching, underpinned by neuroscience, is a powerful process that we at Chartered use to help clients understand and change their relationship with money. It revolves around beliefs, how that may differ from reality, and creates insight into “triggers” and thought processes that impact the relationship with money.
David’s work has also inspired me to develop a workshop on “Money Stories” and has influenced the topics of my Courageous Currency Conversation blogs.
David Krueger’s new book
Imagine my surprise, and delight, when David Krueger asked me to write a review for his new book – his 18th published book! It’s available on Amazon and if you would like to order a copy, just click here.
Meeting David Kruger
After reading his new book, I really wanted to connect with David again, and on my recent trip to the States, he was kind enough to set an afternoon aside to meet with me. According to our definition of Retiremeant™, David is now retired, living his dream by spending his time writing on his beautiful ranch while supporting his wife who has returned to University. He was the most generous host, spoiling me with a delicious meal and repeatedly asking how he could help me, and support me with my work.
Sharing David Krueger’s insights
I am passionate about understanding money and I plan to explore and share David Krueger’s work in much more detail in future. So, watch this space!
I want to share one very valuable exercise on ideals, or core values. Knowing what our core values are is vital if we want to understand our relationship with money. Our core values set us on our clear course and provide a compass for our life path. You may have done this exercise before, but please re-visit it, as your core values may have shifted or evolved.
Meeting Brené Brown (author of,
among others, Rising Strong, Daring Greatly and, most recently, Dare to Lead) has been on my Bucket
Wheel® ever since I read her very first book, The Gifts of Imperfection.
concept of Shitty First Drafts resonated
with me, and I realised once again how powerful stories can be and how often we
create fictitious stories in our heads that are removed from the reality of the
How we remember things may not be an actual account of what really happened, but rather how we perceive it happening. As a Certified Financial Planner® I see this all too often, especially in discussions with clients around our relationship with money. We become stressed and anxious thinking about what may happen, and these thoughts are not based on reality.
I recognise how many times I
desperately wanted to walk away from a situation, too fearful to tread where it
may hurt or cause discomfort. Brené’s work has helped me in many difficult
situations. She explains that we fabricate stories in our own minds to give us
a way out, a convenient excuse to avoid uncomfortable conversations or hard
Have you ever been in a situation
where you interpreted someone’s response with an entire story of your own
making, detailing exactly what they meant as they shrugged or perhaps ignored
you? And we don’t stop with just a broad story outline. We start embellishing
the story with a beginning, a middle and an end, filled with details on why it
happened, how it happened and what the long terms consequences will be. You end
up feeling so fearful and worried that it physically starts impacting your
Brené Brown calls these stories
“shitty first drafts;” our first response to a situation that is based on our
beliefs or memories, whether real, remembered or fabricated. We all have a tendency to fabricate imaginary
experiences, which is an honest attempt of the brain to protect us from the
threat of uncomfortable emotions. Our brain loves stories – it’s how we make
sense of things – and how we protect ourselves. They may not be accurate, but
they feel familiar. And we believe them! One of the stories I hear most often
is the story of “not being good enough.”
Brené encourages us to get curious
about the stories we tell ourselves. Here are some tips to help you unscramble
Stop and breathe, calm down your emotional response.
Think about the story that is causing you distress. In
all probability you are fabricating the wrong story.
Write down your Shitty
First Draft: uncensored and unedited.
Challenge your story by looking for the emotion that
your story is based on, most often shame, guilt or fear.
Step outside your story and deconstruct the patterns.
Now rewrite the
ending of your story, one that serves you and your health. This version should
be a more accurate and less emotional account, based on what you know to be
This is an honest and reflective
exercise, but if done with courage, you will be able to re-write you stories
with new endings, instead of repeating old habits and behaviours.
Over the years, I have come to understand that your relationship with money reflects the relationship you have with yourself. In many ways, money issues mirror your mindset, your ethos, the things you believe about your life.
This relationship you have with money can either be constructive and healthy, or it can boycott your personal (and financial) wellbeing. I have met clients who simply believe in abundance and this impacts how they approach money and their lives. I have also met clients with deep-rooted fears about money that often stem from their early childhood years. This destructive relationship with money becomes their reality and writes the script for their money stories into their retirement years.
Your money story is the subconscious tale you tell yourself about what money means to you and it determines the relationship you have with money. How you think, feel and engage with money represents your personal reality.
Unfortunately, uncertainty in the
economic and political arena can often trigger emotional and behavioral
responses rooted in fear. We start worrying about our savings and investments
and start making irrational money decisions based on anxiety.
I am constantly reminded how
challenging money stories can be. To
fully understand your money story takes some introspection – it is hard work
try to make sense of the psychology and the personal drivers behind your
particular relationship with money.
Bruce Lee expressed it so beautifully by
saying “As you think, so shall you become.” And this is true for money stories.
We are the ones
that give meaning to money, and the meaning we give to money manifests in our
self-statements and behaviour. Once we understand our money stories and can
extrapolate how this has formed our relationship with money, we can begin to
understand the money patterns that are governed by our stories.
The goal is to get to a place of deciding whether our relationship
with money serves us, or whether we need to make changes to the story.
you are feeling anxious about how you are transacting in the money space or
would like to do some introspection on your relationship with money, I invite
you to read the money story articles that form part of my Courageous Currency
blogs. It is a series of six articles taking you through the journey of
understanding, taking ownership, assessing and changing your money story. The
links to these blogs are listed below:
Whether you’re thinking about the delicious nougat and ice cream, or the person herself, Sally Williams is nothing short of delightful. My ten days spent with Sally Williams this past December on holiday in Rocktail Bay was inspirational! It went beyond just a wonderful break, jam-packed with everything that makes a holiday perfect: fun, time to relax and spending time with my family and friends.
These ten days were motivational. Infectiously so, because without even trying, Sally has a way of inspiring you to live life to the full. She does that with authenticity because she’s a living example of how mid-life can be the start of a whole new chapter.
The incredible thing about her story is that, at a time where most people are thinking of their retirement years, Sally’s life was about to restart – at 54 years of age. With her abundant positive attitude that helped her enlist the right people along the way, she truly embodies the notion that anything is possible.
I first met Sally as a student in her cooking school and was one of the first to taste her nougat trial recipes. “I practised for two years and made sure it wasn’t too sticky or too sweet,” Sally remembers. “My cookery students were the tasters.”
After supplying her nougat to a few retail outlets, she knew she was onto something magical. Driven by her entrepreneurial spirit, and often staying up through the night cutting her nougat by hand, wrapping it in wax paper, and personally delivering orders, she made a net profit of 1.4 million in her first year – all from her garage.
Even though Sally had incredible support from her late husband who doubled up as her bookkeeper, she soon realised that she needed outside help to sustain the business’s unprecedented growth. She brought on her son-in-law as a silent partner and recruited newly-graduated chefs to help make the nougat and bring some fresh thinking into the brand. At this point, her nougat was already selling internationally.
After 18 months, Sally moved her business from her garage to a factory in Kramerville in Johannesburg. She kept up this extremely busy pace for eight years until her (now late) husband, who had retired before she did, suggested that they sell the brand and enjoy the fruits of their labour. Sally was 62 years old at the time.
Sally believes unwaveringly that the secret to her success is excellent customer service, even though I believe that the heavenly nougat had at least something to do with it. Her advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: Passion. Energy. Determination. “If you have a good idea, go for it!” says Sally. “Failures are inevitable, brush them off and carry on. Don’t give up too easily. Good quality-control and excellent customer service goes a long way.”
Being married for 52 years with four children, nine grandchildren and a successful household brand is truly a remarkable achievement for anyone. But Sally is not quite done yet. She is gearing up for her next project: writing her own recipe book. Sally is once again determined to team up with technologically savvy younger generation to turn this idea into a reality and I am eager to hear what this mentee and mentor relationship will yield.
I feel so grateful to have spent this time with someone with so much courage and positivity. I hope that by sharing Sally’s story, you too can find your courage to persevere in reaching your end goal – and perhaps teaming up with someone from the younger generation is just what you need to give your next project a little jump start!
If you’re feeling a bit stuck in the midlife phase and transition into the next chapter of your life, why not read Chip Conley’s new book, Wisdom at Work: The Making of a Modern Elder. This book is based on his experiences and insights as he transitioned from CEO of the hotel group Joie de Vivre, which he ran for 24 years, to joining Airbnb as mentor to cofounder, Brian Chesky. Conley felt a bit out of his depth in this very modern, digital environment and quickly discovered that he had as much to learn as he had to teach.
He started a knowledge sharing culture at Airbnb where the elders and mentees both learnt from and shared knowledge with each other. “That’s the new sharing economy—sharing wisdom across generations,” he said. “Mutual mentorship is the future.”
The course I will be attending this month, Consciously Curated Life, is part of a series of workshops run by Chip Conley’s Elder Academy and based on his book. What excites me most about attending this course is sharing the wisdom with our RetiremeantTM community.
For many people, the mere thought of what they are retiring TO fills them with fear and anxiety. It’s about not feeling relevant and no longer “fitting in” to the modern workplace. It’s also about having to adapt, change and finding new opportunities when you may not be ready to leave where you are currently.
I often meet clients in their 50s and 60s who have been forced to retire. The “what next” question causes overwhelming stress as they were not prepared for this transition. In some cases, the need to supplement income to add to retirement investments becomes so urgent and overwhelming that it is almost impossible to look beyond the immediate financial concerns.
They key is in the planning. It’s about thinking and reflecting on your own special talents, that unique self that you bring to the world, and finding a way to repurpose your skills and wisdom into something that is meaningful. It’s about pausing, giving yourself the time to consider how you can adapt towards being relevant and where you can add the most significance where your work is concerned.
So yes, my bags are packed and I’m ready to go! I will be taking that extra empty suitcase and bring it home filled to the brim with tools, tips, learning and wisdom to share in our Retire Successfully workshops, future blogs and Life Planning meetings.
I am confident that together we will make this transition easier from midlife to what’s next on the journey.
Can you recall how many times you have said, “I just want to be happy”, or have uttered the same sentiments to your children or loved ones?
Happiness is a basic human need; everyone deserves to be happy. Sonja Lyubomirsky, in her 2007 book, The How of Happiness, describes happiness as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”
Happiness, or being happy, is not often easily achieved. Let me explain by asking you this: Do you set tasks or goals in the pursuit of happiness? Do you start your happiness sentences by giving yourself a deadline? For example; “If I had …, I would be happy” or “When I accomplish …, it would make me happy?”
The pursuit of happiness starts from within. Happiness exists within each of us. And here’s the truth: we are the catalysts of our own happiness. So, to be happy, you must know what makes you happy. You have to discover that place in your heart that makes you leap for joy. And that takes courage. The courage to embrace the opportunities that life brings your way.
Happiness asks you to be brave, to actively challenge yourself to embark on journeys that may scare you, and to be fearless in your pursuit of that which brings you joy.
When we allow others to decide for us, permit the voice of fear to enter our minds, play it safe or prioritise pleasing others ahead of ourselves, it is then that we lose our way in the pursuit of happiness.
The key is to be authentic and true to ourselves.
Here are my top four tips for actively practising happiness:
Life is a journey, not a destination
Life itself is the great journey. There is no destination. Be conscious that each moment of every day is a part of this journey and that each moment has the potential to fulfill you. Our family life, work, hobbies, morning walk, time with friends – all these are unique opportunities to experience moments of happiness. Hidden within these simple daily activities lies the meaning of our lives. Simply appreciate what is in your life today. Practise finding joy today. Practise feeling compassion today. Experience today to its fullest potential.
Celebrate your uniqueness
Your uniqueness is your greatest gift. Applaud your own ‘me-ness’ and that of others. Just being who you are, and authentically being yourself, brings a special gift to the world.
Have conversations with your inner voice – that voice that reminds you of who you are and what you need to be fulfilled. Listen to your intuition. Prayer, meditation or just spending quiet time with yourself, by yourself, will facilitate an awareness of a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in your own life.
Every moment counts
Practise finding simple moments of joy in the everyday. Notice how many daily experiences bring you pleasure. Think of happiness as something to be experienced and enjoyed many times.
Author of Mindpower, John Kehoe reminds us to practise happiness rather than to search for it. He believes that happiness is a choice; if you want to be happy, look at your life and find reasons to be happy. Likewise, if you want to be unhappy, then you will find many reasons to be unhappy.
I’d love to hear what brings you happiness and am excited to share many happy conversations with you this year.
The festive season is fast approaching and if you’re anything like me, you already have a long list of gifts planned for all the special people in your life. There is much to be said about the joy of giving. Simply gifting someone with something, no matter how big or small, brings so much joy! The joy is not measured in the smile, the gratitude or the ‘thank you’, but in how it makes you feel.
According to research, giving produces endorphins and studies have found evidence that the act of giving increases our sense of happiness. But what then of receiving?
Giving through growing our relationship
In order to give, there must be a receiver, and most of us are somewhat uncomfortable receiving. To receive graciously is to acknowledge the intention of the gift. Giving and receiving are reciprocal and something that happens in flow. Deepak Chopra says: “The universe operates through dynamic exchange . . . giving and receiving are different aspects of the flow of energy in the universe. In our willingness to give that which we seek, we keep the abundance of the universe circulating in our lives.”
As I reflect on the client RetiremeantTM workshops that we hosted for the first time this year in Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Johannesburg, I realise how powerful this relationship of giving and receiving really is.
We were extremely touched by the feedback from these workshops. We loved hearing what Chartered means to our clients; how they value the support they receive from our RetiremeantTM Specialists, and appreciate our newsletters and events. It was an extremely humbling experience and we are so grateful for all the positive feedback and messages of gratitude.
Giving through sharing your stories
For us, the circle of giving and receiving is ever expanding as our relationship with our clients grows. We love giving back to our clients, whether it’s a special event, a workshop or a communique. But in return, we receive so much more. Without fail, after every single event with our clients, we bring home a wealth of wisdom, sincere stories and a deeper insight into what RetiremeantTM really means to our clients.
Thank you to all our clients who so openly and honestly share their real life experiences with us. There are many transitions in the RetiremeantTM years, and so many stories to share: stories of hope, of loss, of emotional strain, stories of new beginnings and exciting adventures, difficult stories, happy stories, RetiremeantTM stories. Whatever your story, it is a story worth knowing – and telling.
We treasure your stories and, with your approval, it is our privilege and pleasure to share them with other clients navigating the same transitions. And this is exactly why our giving-receiving relationship adds value to us and our clients. Your stories are inspirational, motivational and empowering. Your insights are a wonderful source of comfort to clients; it helps them know that there are people who share the same experiences, it helps them connect to a community of like-minded people and it provides wisdom and insight into dealing with the many transitions in retirement.
Thank you for your stories and for allowing us to share in your lives.
I hope that you have a wonderful festive season and return in the New Year with many more stories to share.