Author: Kim Potgieter

Opinions That Matter

We constantly listen to feedback and are exposed to many different viewpoints in our lifetime. It eventually becomes difficult to know whose feedback and opinions really matter. We all have a desire for approval, but when you link you social and psychological well-being to the approval of others, you may have to take a long hard look at exactly whom you will allow to influence your sense of self-worth.

There are various types of feedback: some are constructive, many are negative and then there’s the “suck-up feedback”, as Brené Brown puts it. We even get feedback from people who don’t really know us at all … people who feel compelled to judge our decisions and actions without understanding where we’ve come from or how we got to this point. Critical comments are rife on social media, and even if it comes from someone completely unknown, it often stops us dead in our tracks.

If you had to listen to, and take all the feedback you receive from all corners of your extended social circle to heart, you would so exhausted trying to please the world, striving for perfection, that you would not be brave enough to fully enter the arena of life. You simply cannot afford to mould yourself into what others need you to be.

Decide whose opinions matter

It is hard to be brave when we define ourselves by what others think. At the same time, if we stop caring about what others think, we’re too armored for authentic connections. So how do you get clear on whose opinions matter?

Here is a lovely exercise from Brené Brown’s book Dare to Lead – she calls it the Square Squad exercise.

Write down the people whose opinion really matters to you in this small square. Notice how small the square is – you can only jot down the names of the people whose integrity you value, as long as it fits into the square. Your square squad or integrity partners must be a small group, so take as long as you need, edit your list until you are left with only a few.

Now fold it and put it away. I keep mine in my purse, so I am constantly reminded of whose opinion counts in my life.

Then, take some time and reach out to the people in your square squad. Let them know that that their opinions matter to you. Tell them that you are grateful for having them in your life and thank them for caring enough to be honest with you.

Your square squad comprises people who love you because of your vulnerability and imperfections, not despite them. They are not yes people. They are the ones you can count on for honesty and support, despite your setbacks, mess-ups and failures.

Pay attention

I recently used this exercise during a training session, and one attendee told me afterwards that he experienced an AHA moment – the three people in his square squad were the people he was spending the least amount of time with.

Life is peculiar like this. We tend to spend time with people who make us feel guilty for not spending time with them, and those who really matter are right at the back of the line. It’s because we know they will love and support us no matter what.

On this note, I wish all our special women clients a joyful Women’s Month – may you keep the company of those who truly matter.

Remember always to be inspired, be brave and be on purpose.

Giving back is good for you.

Giving back offers marvelous benefits in RetiremeantTM and research shows that it makes this chapter happier, healthier and more purposeful. A study by United Healthcare in 2017 found that 93 percent of people who volunteer or give-back notice an improvement in their mood, 75 percent feel healthier and 79 percent experience lower stress levels.

The key to being in flow in this area is to apply your unique skill and life experience to a cause or activity where you can have the most impact.

Tips to finding your flow in giving back

  1. Unfulfilled dreams
    We all have hopes and dreams. We all have a list of things we want to accomplish or do in our lifetime. Sometimes, life goes by and we never get to realise our dreams and goals. Challenge yourself, think back to your life and rekindle those dreams. Now is the perfect time to bring some of them to fruition.
  2. It’s not a test
    Don’t limit yourself by criticising your own skills or talents. Volunteering time, energy and skill is the real test of character – not how good you are at it.
  3. A meaningful experience
    How and where you spend your time and energy must align with your overall interests and goals. Consider the benefit to you and how your involvement will impact the people, organisation or cause you have chosen. Here are some examples to get you thinking:
    • Think about how your hobby or passion can help others. If you’re good at knitting, embroidery or playing a musical instrument, perhaps volunteer to teach others your skill. It will bring you as much joy as them.
    • If your work has always been your passion, contemplate ways of mentoring or coaching in your area of expertise.
    • If health and fitness is your thing, there are many opportunities to engage others in staying fit and healthy with you.

Pitfalls

Remember that you have seven other areas in the Wheel of Balance® to engage in. Life is all about balance. You don’t want to be so busy giving your time to others that you don’t have time to enjoy your retirement. The secret is setting boundaries.

Be clear on the amount of time and energy you want to give. Map out your ideal level of commitment and remember to make time for our current obligations and responsibilities, leisure time, other interests and all eight areas of the Wheel of Balance®.

My give-back

This month, John Campbell and I will be sharing Chartered’s RetiremeantTM Journey and our philosophy of adding value to clients through meaningful relationships at the FPI Convention. The FPI Professionals Convention is the largest and most significant event for Financial Planner Professionals and attended by over 600 Planners.

You may wonder why we are sharing our secrets with the industry? I truly believe that by sharing our holistic approach to Financial Planning, where the core focus is on getting to know our clients and understanding what they want to achieve, before formulating the Financial Plan, will greatly benefit the overall service offering by the Financial Planning industry. If more Planners embrace a client-centred approach, looking after their clients’ interests, our overall credibility as an industry will improve.

We would love to hear your stories on your giving back in your RetiremeantTM Journey. If you have any tips or pitfalls to share, please send them on so we can share with our community.

Remember to always be inspired, be brave and be on purpose,

When work matures with age

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.

Best wishes,

Research reveals the benefit of retirement coaching

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.”

Research sample

Tessa interviewed both retirees (who had received coaching for their retirement transition) and seasoned executive retirement coaches for her study.

Research findings

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.

Top tips

Tessa received her Degree from Stellenbosh University. She burst a disk in her back a month before her graduation and suddenly found herself unable to walk. Rather than graduating in abstentia, Tess scheduled the operation for the following year and attended her graduation in her wheelchair.

Based on her research, Tessa shares her top tips from those in her sample study that had undergone retirement coaching:

  1. Acknowledge – retirement is a challenging transition; face it, embrace it, work through it.
  2. Support – make sure you have someone to talk to.
  3. Attitude – cultivate a positive attitude and see retirement as a beginning.
  4. 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:

  1. Invest in yourself – allow yourself the luxury of coaching. Being prepared mentally, psychologically and physically is to retire successfully.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

How core values help you – and us

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.

Tip: 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.

AchievementHappinessPower
AdventureHealthSelf-esteem
BeautyHonestySensitivity
CatalyseIndependenceSpirituality
ConnectednessInfluenceSuccess
ContributeIntimacyTeaching
CreativityJusticeTruth
DignityKindnessWinning
DiscoveryKnowledgeOthers:
FamilyLeadership
FeelLearning
FreedomMastery
GenerosityPeace
GrowthPleasure

Now, write down your top three values in order of most to least important.

  1. ___________________________________________
  2. ___________________________________________
  3. ___________________________________________

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

The upshot of learning is teaching

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.

Click here to access the exercise.

Unscrambling stories – reality or fiction

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.

Her 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 situation.

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 decisions.

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 health.

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 your story:

  1. Stop and breathe, calm down your emotional response.
  2. Think about the story that is causing you distress. In all probability you are fabricating the wrong story.
  3. Write down your Shitty First Draft: uncensored and unedited.
  4. Challenge your story by looking for the emotion that your story is based on, most often shame, guilt or fear.
  5. Step outside your story and deconstruct the patterns.
  6.  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 true.

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.

Wishing you many healthy stories!

Best wishes,

Write your own money script

Blond woman on couch in front of bay window

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.

If 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:

Making sense of money stories

Your money story

Taking ownership of your money story

Assessing your money story

Live your new money story

The brave new you

Understanding our money myths – our stories – are essential if we’re wanting to know ourselves a little better and make sure that we make the best decisions going forward.

Best wishes,

Sally Williams: an extraordinary person behind a remarkable brand

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!

A mindshift in midlife – working takes on a new perspective

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.