Author: Kim Potgieter

Celebrating a life well lived

Life is unpredictable and sometimes, we experience such immense loss and sadness that it stops us in our tracks and forces us to pause for a little while.

December 2019 was such a time for me. Stew Lithgow, one of the first clients I ever helped transition into RetiremeantTM, passed away, leaving behind his wonderful, courageous wife, Kathy, and three adult children. Stew’s death came as a huge shock as he was tragically killed doing what he loved most, flying his glider in Plettenburg Bay. As a former SAA pilot, one of Stew’s passions was to share his love for flying with people in his new hometown.

I was utterly devastated for Stew’s family at his memorial service. I couldn’t stop thinking about all the plans they had made and everything they still wanted to do together – he was taken too soon. On reflection, I realised two things: Stew and Kathy treasured every moment of their life together, living fully in the moment; and, Stew has left the memory of having lived a full, happy and abundant life.

It was such a privilege to know Stew and I am so grateful for the time we spent together. As a couple, Stew and Kathy were true ambassadors for RetiremeantTM, living with so much meaning and joy – intentionally present and fully engaged in each area of their lives. Stew and Kath made their dream to live in beautiful Plettenburg Bay a reality; they travelled, and spent happy times with good friends, family and their children. It was always clear how much Stew loved Kath, how much they loved each other.

Stew did not merely pass on. His words and his actions passed forward a powerful message to nurture and grow, to make each day count and to live life to the fullest. In this newsletter we share an article written by Stew for Retire Successfully. We will always remember just how high you flew in retirement, Stew! Thank you for sharing your life with us.

I encourage you to prioritise love this year, to seize each day and fill it with laughter, joy and treasured memories.

May 2020 be your year to live life fully,

More reasons to say Yes!

I sometimes feel undecided. It’s like sitting on a seesaw, carefully balanced right in the middle between going up and down.

Saying “yes” as opposed to “no” is just like that. The weight of the extra responsibility may topple you downwards to “no” – but, what if you said “yes”? What if your “yes” opens up an opportunity to meet someone wonderful, experience something truly amazing or learn something quite unexpectedly? Caption: Kim in her garden with Helen and two club members

I received a call in July this year from lady who introduced herself as Helen. She heard that I had a lovely garden and wondered if she and some members of her garden club could view it as a venue option for their next event. I was hesitant. I had been so busy and didn’t really want to take on an extra project. Also, inviting strangers into my home feels like an intrusion into my private space.

To my astonishment, I said “yes!” Helen then surprised me by saying that she needed to inspect and assess my garden for its suitability to host the function. At that moment, I desperately wanted to replace my “yes” with a resounding, regrettable “no!” But I really could not retract my offer.

I finally met Helen during the site visit to my garden. We started chatting and she shared her story with: she had felt at a complete loss after her husband was murdered in their home after a senseless break-in. Searching for beautiful gardens to host the Union of Jewish Women’s charity events had kept her motivated to get out of bed and make a difference in the world. It’s something she really enjoys doing and it gives her a wonderful new purpose.

Helen’s story shook me and I realised anew how strong and resilient people are. Even though Helen is still struggling to make sense of this tragedy, helping others has given her the strength and willpower to rise, face life and still make a significant and fulfilling contribution.

Two months later, forty ladies enjoyed a wonderful morning in my garden. I shared with them the philosophy of how our money beliefs impact our relationship with money and our lives. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the event and a good sum of money was raised for the less privileged.

I feel so fortunate that I had the opportunity to meet Helen and the other members of her club – they truly do inspirational and courageous work.

Why not try saying “yes” the next time you’re asked? It may just open up a world of magic and new opportunities that will surpass your expectations.

Steering your course with purpose

My son, Josh, is leaving home next year. He’ll be going to university – in a different city. I’m nervous and excited, but most of all, I am an incredibly proud mother, because I know Josh is ready for the journey. Sure, it’s not going to be easy, for him, or me, but it’s a transition necessary for his development and growth. And it will be one of many transitions that he’ll face in his life.

Retirement is like that, too; it’s not the final frontier. Retirement is but one transition – and within this journey, there are many more. Retirement is filled with opportunities: new work, a new social circle, new hobbies, a new lifestyle … the list goes on. But as life and your circumstances change, there’ll also be challenges, choices and decisions. So how will you steer your course ahead with intent and purpose?

In preparing Josh for his transition, we spoke about his internal compass. We all have one – your true north, your gut instinct, everything you know about yourself that is true to you.

In my mind (you may have your own ideas), your internal compass has three components: a positive mindset, your top values, and having an integrity partner. These serve as a checklist, a benchmark to guide your decisions – whichever journey you are embarking on.

Positive mindset

I have said it before – attitude is everything. So often, when faced with the unknown, we spend a lot of time in our heads worrying and feeling anxious about the possible outcomes. Neuroscientists believe our brains are wired in such a way that we fill in the missing data; and very often we fabricate imaginary experiences and outcomes not based on reality. So, keeping a positive mindset is an attitude; it’s about continuously challenging imagined realities, reassessing your thought patterns and structuring positive thinking with intent.

Your core values

Your values represent your true self, and once you are clear on your top values, you can always check in with yourself to see if your decisions line up with your values. Lucky for me, Josh’s core values are achievement and discipline, which I’m pretty sure he’ll keep in mind when faced with a choice between partying or studying – though I may just convince him to add a fun element to his values list.

Integrity partner

I have previously written about Brené Brown’s concept of having a square squad in your life. Your square squad or integrity partners are the people in your life whose opinions matter to you; they hold you to your values and provide support when you are most vulnerable. These are not side-line critics, but people who will have open and honest conversations with you.

The good news is that the wisdom is already inside you, you have everything you need to be strong and confident. You just need to tap in your instincts – and your truth.

Best wishes,

Money lessons I wish I knew when I was younger

I have been doing some spring-cleaning. I had a perfect excuse to declutter. We were preparing to host my son, Josh’s matric farewell pre-drinks at home. Spring-cleaning is a wonderful cleansing exercise, and it doesn’t stop with throwing out the old and tidying up what’s messy. It’s about sifting through the chaos and making space for what matters most in your life.

I was recently invited by Yvette Johnson on Classic FM to share my insight on money advice for every stage of life. As we spoke about money lessons I taught my children, I reflected on the money messages I heard while growing up. Although I am grateful for the money lessons I learnt in my life – and am still learning – it has been a difficult journey. The journey to heal my relationship with money took almost twenty years. I have decided to make a list of what I wish I knew about money earlier in my life. Here’s my top four:

  1. I wish I worried less, and knew what I was worrying about. Today I know it wasn’t really about money; it was about my relationship with money; what I thought money could give me and what money said about me.
  2. I wish I didn’t rescue family members in debt, then expect them to change their money habits, and be grateful for the help. Today I realise that you can only make a money mindshift when you are ready – when you want to change. I now prefer to gift money, with no expectations.
  3. I wish I knew that money has no power to control. I tried so hard to accumulate my own money so that no-one would have power over me. Today I know that it’s not really about money; it’s self-development work that I needed to do – and am still doing.
  4. I wish I didn’t overcompensate for what I lacked in my childhood by buying my eldest son everything I never had as a child. I only realised much later that he didn’t really want what I thought he needed. I have matured, and with the help of my husband, our middle and youngest children are raised with a more balanced view of the value of money.

But life is balanced. Some money lessons have served me well. Here are two money lessons that I am grateful for having learnt early in my life:

  • I have always had an abundance money mindset. Positive, entitled and plentiful thoughts attract money into your life.
  • I have constantly paid myself first, putting away savings, investments and rainy-day funds before spending the rest on living.

We would love to hear about the money lessons you wish you’d known earlier. Remember also to share the money lessons you are most grateful for.

Ageing with gratitude – it’s all about your attitude

Don’t you just love this time of year? September must be one of my favourite months. I love walking in my garden, watching the new blossoms beginning to sprout and, yes, of course, September is just one month away from October – when the Jacarandas bloom!

Come to think of it, I have many favourite months: December is top of my list. December excites me: it’s family time, it’s fun time and it’s a time of giving. I love that! And then there’s the birthday months. We celebrate birthdays in a big way in our family – each one as joyful as the next. We make sure to spend every birthday together as a family, and it’s definitely not a proper birthday celebration if it’s not filled with fun.

The funny thing is, fun is different for all of us. I love being surrounded by my family and friends – by my people and loved ones. My husband’s idea of fun is creating an experience. For him, there is no better way to celebrate than going away with his family on an adventure, making new memories. But whatever your idea of fun is – make sure you’re having it! And remember to pack a big dollop of enjoyment into your Retiremeant™ suitcase.

I recently had a lovely chat with Yvette Johnson on the Fine Living Classic 1027 show on exactly this topic: How to turn your age into your greatest asset! She asked me if ageing is a daunting transition and wondered if the retirement community suffers from specific ageing stigmas. Well, yes, of course there are certain stigmas that come with ageing, such as unwanted help offered by strangers – or even more negative ones, like rejection. But attitude will get you everywhere – in the most positive sense of all!

Sure, if you are going to stand in front of the mirror and criticise your laugh lines, or the extra weight around your midriff; if you are going to choose to be negative and grumpy – then that’s exactly what might happen. But if you choose gratitude and attitude – then that’s what will bring you pure joy!

I have met so many incredible Retiremeant™ clients who are doing wonderful things in this phase of life – because they choose to make a difference. It’s about standing in front of the mirror and asking: What can I bring to the world? What have I learnt that will truly make a difference?

So, let’s re-visit packing our suitcase into Retiremeant™. What will you bring with you? Be sure to pack everything that works for you first, whether it’s your hobby, your relationships or your favourite music. Here’s what you don’t pack: anything that diminishes your self-love, your values and your sense of gratitude. These may be worries or fears that don’t serve you, habits and beliefs that don’t nurture you, or relationships that don’t bring you joy.

Now that you’ve got extra space in your suitcase, we get to the exciting part – packing something new. Ideally, you’ll be packing in your optimism, your positive attitude and your sense of adventure. Why not also pack something fun for every month of the year? An umbrella for walking in the rain in January; a beach hat for a sunset walk in February; a pen and notebook for writing your wisdom memoirs or a big tub of ice-cream for a midnight snack in June.

“None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an after- thought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There’s no time for anything else.” – Nanea Hoffman, blogger and founder of Sweatpants & Coffee.

Wishing you all joy in your Spring packing and unpacking!

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