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Author: Lyndsay Barr

The Never-Ending Journey of Learning

At Retire Successfully, we believe that lifelong learning is essential for a fulfilling retirement. Life is a tapestry of many threads; neglecting one can unravel the others. That’s why we’ve identified eight essential elements that weave together a balanced and meaningful retirement: work, give back, relationships, money, learning, health, purpose, and play. This month, we’re focusing on the “learn” element.

What is Lifelong Learning?

Lifelong learning is the continuous pursuit of knowledge and skills throughout one’s life. It is driven by a desire to grow and develop personally and professionally. Lifelong learning can take many forms, including formal education (such as attending college or university), non-formal education (such as taking online courses or workshops), and informal learning (such as reading books, watching documentaries, or engaging in conversations with experts).

The Benefits of Lifelong Learning

The benefits of lifelong learning are far-reaching – it keeps the mind active and engaged, which can help protect cognitive function and reduce the risk of dementia in later life. Learning new things can be an enriching experience, giving people a sense of accomplishment and purpose and helping them live more fulfilling lives. A wonderful added benefit is that continuous learning creates new opportunities for people to connect with others with the same interests.

Lifelong Learner: Meet Stephen Marcus Finn

Chartered client Stephen Marcus Finn is the epitome of a lifelong learner. Although Stephen, who’ll turn 75 next month, has a Master’s in English and a doctorate in Communication, he insists – and persists – in studying further – all the time.

In his mid-sixties, he returned to the piano to do his Grade 8 (the highest level) practical with the Royal Schools of Music, having to start from Grade 4. He did this in one year and, in the same period, went from Grade 1 to his Grade 8 theory exam, which he passed with distinction.

Six years ago, he completed his third year in Film at the Open Window and was also involved in acting at a private institution.

To celebrate his 70th birthday, Stephen gave a piano recital that included works by vegan composers, including the notoriously difficult Alexander Scriabin.

Three years ago, he obtained his Honours in Drama and Film Studies at the University of Pretoria, specialising in Research, Writing and Directing, and earned his degree with distinction. When he obtained his first Honours degree in English, he was the youngest student in his programme at the university; this time around, his fellow students were young enough to be his grandchildren.

Straight after a double-knee replacement, Stephen started writing an academic book on animal rights, Farmed Animals on Film: A Manifesto for a New Ethic, which took him a year to complete and was published by a major company in the USA. He has currently resumed his passion for writing novels, plays and poetry, but intends to continue (in the next year or two) with studies in … whatever he wants to do.

Stephen’s journey is proof of the endless opportunities for growth and fulfilment through lifelong learning. His story shows that it’s never too late to embark on a path of curiosity, discovery, and self-improvement.

Dare to Ask: Embracing Courage in Seeking Assistance and Discovering New Possibilities

The heart-warming friendship between Margaret Kearns and Brent Lindeque began with a simple question. Read about it in this month’s article by Kim Potgieter. Margaret’s daughters had the courage to invite Brent, a stranger, to their mom’s 70th birthday party, and a beautiful connection blossomed.

In the realm of creative pursuits, Steven Spielberg’s legendary career serves as a testament to the power of courageous asking. His journey took flight when he boldly approached Sid Sheinberg and asked for a chance to direct a feature film. The result? A ground-breaking career that has left an indelible mark on the world of cinema.

Similarly, The Beatles faced rejection from multiple record labels, but their unwavering determination led them to ask George Martin to sign them. This courageous ask launched their extraordinary journey as an iconic band and forever changed the landscape of music.

Reflecting on these examples, it is evident that the fear of hearing “no” shouldn’t hold us back from asking. In fact, some of the most impactful careers, fundraisers, ground-breaking initiatives, and life-changing connections have all begun with someone’s courageous question.

But what about the question of asking for help for ourselves when we need it? In a world where helping others comes naturally, it’s equally important to embrace the courage to ask for assistance when we need it. We often find it easier to extend a helping hand to others, readily offering our support and lending our strength. However, when the time comes for us to seek support ourselves, we may hesitate, held back by the fear of burdening others or the worry of appearing weak.

Fear, pride, and societal expectations can create formidable barriers that make asking for help feel daunting. We fear judgment and the potential rejection that may come with revealing our vulnerabilities. We worry about being seen as incapable or dependent. Yet, it’s crucial to recognise that vulnerability is not a sign of weakness but a strength that allows for personal growth and deeper connections. When we open ourselves up and ask for help, we demonstrate the courage to confront our challenges head-on.

Asking for help is an act of self-care and self-empowerment. It’s a recognition that we all have limits and that it’s perfectly okay to lean on others for support. In fact, we create opportunities for personal growth and foster stronger connections with those around us through our vulnerability and willingness to seek assistance. It takes courage to acknowledge our needs and reach out to others, trusting in their willingness to help.

The power of courageous asking cannot be underestimated. So go on, ask that stranger to a party, ask those seemingly impossible questions, and most importantly, ask for help if you need it!

Preserving Our Legacy: The importance of recording memories

As we grow older, we often reflect on the memories we have created throughout our lives. These memories are an integral part of who we are, and they have shaped us into the person we are today. For many of us, the idea of writing down our memories can seem overwhelming, but it is essential to recognise the value of documenting our life experiences for future generations.

Recording our memories allows us to preserve a piece of our personal history for future generations. Our experiences, both good and bad, can provide valuable lessons for our children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. Our stories can help future generations understand where they came from, the struggles their ancestors faced, and the legacy they have inherited. Our memories are a gift we can pass down to future generations to ensure our legacy is not forgotten.

Writing down our memories can also be therapeutic. Recalling our life experiences can bring back long-forgotten emotions and feelings. By documenting our memories, we can process and make sense of the events that have shaped us. This process can be incredibly healing and help us find closure on past experiences.

Everyone has a story to tell. No matter how ordinary our lives may seem, we all have unique experiences. We often underestimate the value of our memories and assume that they are not worth documenting, but our stories are essential to understanding the human experience. We can all learn from each other’s experiences and find comfort in knowing we are not alone in our struggles.

Understandably, the idea of writing down our memories can seem overwhelming, but many resources are available to help make the process more manageable. Some people may use technology to document their experiences, such as recording audio or video diaries. Many books and online resources are available that guide how to write down our memories. Jackie Lee-Son created a beautiful framework called A Place for Stories to help guide people through the writing process. Short chapters cover general themes (e.g., Education & Teachers, Careers & Work) to help you organise your memories. Click here to access her guide, which she generously shared with us. Print it out, bind it and start recording those memories. Future generations will treasure them.

Retirement Villages – Spotlight on Waterfall Valley Mature Lifestyle Estate

We will be interviewing clients who have chosen to live in various retirement estates around the country to learn more about their experiences. Please note that Chartered Wealth Solutions is not affiliated with, or sponsored by, any of the featured retirement villages, and the opinions expressed are that of the clients who live in these retirement villages.

About Waterfall Valley Mature Lifestyle Estate

Waterfall Valley has 241 free-standing houses within the gated estate. Waterfall Valley enjoys full reciprocity with Waterfall Hills, so residents have access to their frail care centre and a wide variety of lifestyle facilities just around the corner, including scenic walking trails along the Jukskei River, which link Waterfall Valley with over 35km of hiking and biking trails on the rest of the Waterfall City estates.

Click here to read more about the estate.

Meet Waterfall Valley Mature Lifestyle Estate residents Ronelle and Brian Baker

In around 2012, Ronelle wrote an article for Inflight explaining her and her husband Brian’s view on why they did not want to live in a retirement village. At that time, they believed they were young and strong enough to check into any facility they wanted when they felt the need. However, they soon realised that it was not as simple as it seemed.

Their decision to move from their home in Lonehill to a retirement village in Waterfall was triggered by Brian’s only sibling requiring immediate and life-threatening surgery in 2014, which resulted in her needing significant care. As a result, they realised they would be in trouble if either of them experienced something similar. They decided to live in an area close to where they had lived for the last 34 years, close to friends and their church, which brought them to the Waterfall/Kyalami area.

They have been living at Waterfall Valley Mature Lifestyle Estate since August 2015, and it has been a rewarding and life-changing decision. It is important to note that their Estate is not officially considered a retirement village, as they do not have the required services, such as frail care and assisted living, available to residents. Instead, their estate encourages residents to live in their homes and recommends making use of carers in case of incapacity or illness. However, Waterfall Valley Mature Lifestyle Estate does enjoy full reciprocity with Waterfall Hills, so residents can access their frail care centre if need be.

Purchasing property in their estate is on a lease basis, with the land owned by a landowner, and they have a “99-year lease” on the property. They do not have life rights or other retirement purchase mechanisms in place. The estate has levies, City of Joburg rates and taxes, and Eskom bills, but living on this estate is still cheaper than living in a suburban home. Many homes have installed solar panels to ward off the never-ending load shedding.

Homes in their estate have the same architectural look and feel, but each home and garden has its individual characteristics. The estate has a committed and enthusiastic Residents Association with volunteers covering areas of finance, security, leisure, healthcare, infrastructure, and maintenance, among others. The estate management team is closely monitored and assisted by the association and a board of directors, who ensure everything is managed correctly and financially appropriately. The gardens are managed and maintained by a gardening service, the security systems are exemplary (soon to be facial recognition), and residents have access to a fully equipped gym with a steam room, sauna, Zumba, ballroom, line dancing and aerobic classes, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, ballroom, auditorium, a well-equipped library, and a partially subsidised restaurant on the premises.

Numerous activities are available to residents who wish to participate, such as social bridge, pool, table tennis, Kaluki, wine club, bird club, U3A, Mah Jong, French conversational sessions, cycling, hiking, craft and sewing/knitting mornings, and many more.

Retirement Villages Spotlight – Woodside Village

One of the major decisions people face when retiring is where they will live. The decision to move is an emotional one. Once the decision is made, many of our clients opt to move to retirement villages or estates. The traditional concept of retirement villages and estates has changed dramatically over the years, and the range of lifestyle activities and easy access to medical care and security now makes them an attractive option.

We will be interviewing clients who have chosen to live in various retirement estates around the country to learn more about their experiences.

Please note that Chartered Wealth Solutions is not affiliated with, or sponsored by, any of the featured retirement villages, and the opinions expressed are that of the clients who live in these retirement villages.

About Woodside Village

Woodside Village is situated on nine hectares in the sought-after Cape Town suburb of Rondebosch. This complex offers residents a peaceful and secure lifestyle, surrounded by natural beauty and modern conveniences.

Woodside comprises of 155 independent living garden villas and 52 apartments, as well as an assisted living facility. To the extent possible, they are able to deliver most care and support services in residents’ homes. The 1-bedroom or 2-bedroom garden villas range from 85m2 to 190m2 in size and come with attached garages and patios leading onto the garden. The apartments range from 75m2 to 120m2 and have a single garage alongside the apartment block. The complex is pet-friendly, so residents can enjoy the company of their furry friends.

The village is designed with residents’ needs in mind, and a range of amenities and services are available to make life easier and more enjoyable. These include a swimming pool, a clubhouse, a laundry, a gym, a cinema and a library.

One of the most significant advantages of living in Woodside Village is its location. The complex is located close to a range of shops, restaurants, and other amenities, as well as some of Cape Town’s most beautiful natural areas. Click here to read more on their website.

Meet Woodside Village Resident Barbara Gillman

Barbara and her late husband, Jon, moved into Woodside Village in 2019. They had already downscaled and were living in a lock-up and go near Cavendish, but when the opportunity arose to purchase a Life Right at Woodside Village, they jumped at the chance and moved into their two-bedroomed cottage with a beautiful garden.

One of the major drawcards was the security offered by the estate. Barbara loves the fact that she feels safe and that she can lock up and go and visit two of her sons who live overseas.

Barbara still has an active social life outside the estate; she plays bridge regularly and belongs to a book club. While she hasn’t chosen to get too actively involved in activities within the estate, she says there are ample options to do so. Friday night happy hours, Sunday teas, mid-week pub nights, air-conditioned cinemas, fascinating talks, inspiring cultural and social events and entertainment, to name a few.

Another plus for Barbara is the comfort of knowing that should she ever need it, Woodside Village has a step-down facility and assisted living should she require it.

When asked, Barbara says she has absolutely no regrets about moving to Woodside Estate. It suits her lifestyle perfectly. She advises anyone considering moving to Woodside to put their name down early on the waiting list.

If you live in a retirement estate and would like it to be featured in Inflight, please get in touch with

Click here to read the brochure.

2023 – the year of trying new things

Fancy a game of padel, anyone?

This year we are focussing on trying new things and having different experiences because if we have learnt anything these past few years, it’s that life is too short not to live it fully.

Have you heard people obsessing over their newfound passion for padel and noticing padel courts popping up all over the place? So did we, so we decided to try it and can confirm that it’s devilishly fun.

Padel is a mix between tennis and squash. It’s usually played in doubles on an enclosed court surrounded by walls of glass and metallic mash. The court is one-third of the size of a tennis court.

Padel is a sport which combines action with fun and social interaction. It’s a great sport for players of all ages and skills, as it is both quick and easy to pick up.

Padel is not as dominated by strength, technique and serve as it happens in tennis and therefore is an ideal game for men, women and people of all ages to play together.

The game is quick and easy to learn, making it a fun and addictive sport to play. The service is made underarm using a short, stringless racquet with an elastic surface with holes and a low-compression tennis ball.

Shots are played either before or after the ball bounces off the surrounding glass walls, adding a unique dimension to the sport over conventional tennis. The scoring and rules are very similar to tennis, with the biggest difference being that the serve in padel is underarm and that balls can be played off the glass walls, similarly to squash. The rules allow for the use of the back and sidewalls, which results in longer rallies than in a conventional tennis match. Points are won rather by strategy than by strength and power.

Not many sports allow people of all ages to play together, but the good news is that padel is one of them! It is truly a cross-generational game.

If you would like to explore padel further, we suggest identifying padel courts in your area and finding out how to book a court and rent a racquet.

Do you play padel? Or is there another sport or physical activity you have discovered? If so, we would love to hear your story so that we can share it with other clients. Please get in touch with

Retirement Villages – Spotlight on Randjes Estate

One of the major decisions people face when retiring is where they will live. The decision to move is an emotional one. Once the decision is made, many of our clients opt to move to retirement villages or estates. The traditional concept of retirement villages and estates has changed dramatically over the years, and the range of lifestyle activities and easy access to medical care and security now makes them an attractive option.

We will be interviewing clients who have chosen to live in various retirement estates around the country to learn more about their experiences. Please note that Chartered Wealth Solutions is not affiliated with, or sponsored by, any of the featured retirement villages, and the opinions expressed are that of the clients who live in these retirement villages.

About Randjes Estate

Randjes Estate in Highlands North, Johannesburg, offers a variety of independent and assisted living accommodation in their beautiful well established 42-acre estate. There are 204 Life Rights units on the property and 70 rental studio apartments. Their Mid Care (assisted living) accommodation can house up to 42 residents, and their Frail Care facility can accommodate 43 residents who require 24- hour nursing care.

Their Estate provides residents with a secure, vibrant, stress-free way of life amongst other like-minded people.

Their homes offer a lock-up-and-go lifestyle for independent residents while also providing the convenience of a range of support services. Click here to read more on their website.

Meet Randjes Estate residents Barbara and John Hyde

When Barbara and John put their names down for Randjes Estate, they were told to expect to be on the waiting list for anywhere between six and 10 years. However, 18 months later, they received a call to say that new apartments were being built, and the wheels were set in motion. Despite it being during the height of Covid in 2020, everything fell into place, and they managed to sell their house that they had lived in for 31 years and moved to Randjes Estate in July 2020.

They always knew that they wanted to live in a retirement estate. They never wanted to burden their children, and after suddenly looking for a place for John’s parents to stay years prior, they felt strongly that they wanted to choose where to spend their retirement years. They have two sons and two young grandsons, so moving to an estate close to their family was a deciding factor in choosing Randjes Estate.

Despite moving during the height of lockdown and not knowing anyone in the estate, as restrictions eased, they started getting involved in activities and have subsequently formed a tight-knit social circle. John always worried that when he retired, he would be bored, but their days are filled with activities that include long walks around the estate, playing bridge, and attending lunches and lectures. Their young grandchildren love visiting and riding their bikes around the estate.

Barbara and John have no regrets about moving to Randjes Estate. For them, it wasn’t an investment decision but rather a lifestyle one. Randjes Estate meets all of their needs and more. They couldn’t be happier.

If you live in a retirement estate and would like it to be featured in Inflight, please get in touch with

Mindfulness – a way of perceiving, thinking, and behaving

Life can feel overwhelming, frantic and exhausting at times. Just think of everything going on right now, our unstable economy, load-shedding, and interrupted water supply, to name a few. And it’s impacting our happiness and health.

As our minds fill with chatter, our worldview becomes tainted and distorted, and our ability to be present is lost. Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the present moment. You would be forgiven for thinking that mindfulness is just an activity; in fact, mindfulness is a way of perceiving and observing, and it can be developed using various tools. Some of these tools include meditation, exercises, and breathing.

Mindfulness takes us beyond coping and making do. To be mindful means paying attention to what is happening in the mind, body, and immediate environment and remaining present. It improves in response to a straightforward meditation practice that increases awareness of thoughts, sensations, and feelings.

Moreover, mindfulness is not complicated. The practice can be as simple as an awareness of a simple daily task, and it doesn’t have to take long. Feeling unsure how to start, try these simple one-minute mindfulness exercises.

Mindful breathing

This is a chance for you to step out of the daily grind and allow time to be present with yourself; that is, being present with yourself and whatever arises in your mind and body. Take a minute to observe your breathing. Breathe in and out as you usually would: notice the time between each inhalation and exhalation; notice your lungs expanding. When your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to your breath.

Mindful walking

You can practice mindful walking any time as you go about your day. It’s good to try it slowly at first, but once you’re used to it, you can practise it at any pace – even when rushing. Walk slowly: become aware of the sensations in the soles of your feet as they make contact with the floor and any sensations in the muscles of the legs. You don’t have to look down at your feet. When your mind wanders, use the contact of the feet on the floor as an anchor to bring you back into the present moment. Just take a minute to focus on the sensations generated by walking.

Mindful eating

Eating mindfully can take us out of autopilot, helping us appreciate and enjoy the experience more. The next time you eat, stop to observe your food. Give it your full attention. Notice the texture: really see it, feel it, smell it, take a bite into it – noticing the taste and texture in the mouth – continue to chew, bringing your full attention to the taste of it.

Mindful listening

Taking this time out to tune in to your environment and listen to what it tells you will help you bring mindfulness into the rest of your life – bringing your awareness as you move through the day. Take a minute to listen to the sounds in your environment. You don’t need to try and determine the origin or type of sounds you hear; just listen and absorb the experience of their quality and how it resonates with you. If you recognise a sound, label it and move on, allowing your ears to catch new sounds.

As Thich Nhat Hanh said, “With mindfulness, you can establish yourself in the present in order to touch the wonders of life that are available in that moment.”

The gift of preparation

Growing up, my mother was always organised. She filed everything, never kept things she no longer needed, or thought we no longer needed (my childhood cuddle bunny being one of them) and generally has a practical outlook on life. Her name is Patricia, and she is often appropriately called Practical Pat. None of her daughters have inherited this trait, and she often despairs when she visits me, and there are only two toilet rolls in the cupboard, no long-life milk as a backup, and three lonesome teabags in the tin. We often laugh at her extreme practicality, but in truth, it’s one of the greatest gifts she gives our family.

Her practicality means that she is organised and prepared for most eventualities, including her and my father’s eventual death. Just writing those words sends shivers down my spine and makes me want to close my computer and walk away from my desk, but it’s inevitable, and I could not be more grateful that she is prepared. Being prepared has taken an enormous strain off my and my siblings’ shoulders. When the time comes, we know that she has done everything she can to make the transition to life without them as easy as possible by allowing us to focus on our grief and healing.

My parents became Chartered clients just after I started working there in 2020. My mother spent a lot of time collecting all the relevant documents and putting everything together in the Legacy File that Chartered gave her. Her preparedness means that no matter what happens in their old age, when the time comes, we will not have to worry about where important papers are kept or what they want us to do regarding their care and even their wishes for when they die. This allows us to be fully emotionally present with them now and in the future. This is such a blessing because there are no uncomfortable conversations to be had, only memories to be made.

On the other hand, I have a friend who lives overseas, and her parents live in South Africa. Her parents aren’t well, so she visited them recently. While we were having lunch, the topic turned to their death and what happens when they die. Her answers broke my heart. She has no idea. She has no idea what would happen to the surviving parent, no idea what money is set aside (if any ) for their care, no idea where they keep any important documents, no idea who the executor of the estate is, no idea if they want to be cremated or buried and no idea what the financial implication on her would be should they need care.

They are the most loving and kind family who have always communicated openly except about the uncomfortable topic of death. This is the time when my friend should be soaking up spending time with her parents and making memories; instead, it’s an anxious time filled with uncertainty and fear.

Please have these uncomfortable conversations and give your children the gift of being prepared; they will be forever grateful.

Finding your ikigai in retirement

As we face life transitions such as retirement, we often grapple with our purpose; we often equate not having a purpose to not having a personality or reason for living. There is a Japanese concept called Ikigai. In English, it roughly translates to “the meaning of your life.”

Finding your ikigai is a life-long process because it will change as you enter and exit the different stages of your life. As a child, your ikigai is to play and explore; during your school years, it is learning. Once you have finished your formal education, your ikigai is your career and family. But it is often in retirement that one’s ikigai isn’t clear.

A person’s ikigai can be anything: a passion, a dream, a mission, among others. It is something that gives you the reason to get up every morning. It’s what motivates you to keep going and gives you the drive to do something for the pursuit of that ikigai.

Ikigai focuses on four main ideas:

  • What you love (passion)
  • What you are good at (vocation)
  • What you can get paid for (profession)
  • What the world needs (mission)

The overlap between what you are good at and what you are paid for is your profession. On the other hand, what you are paid for and what the world needs is your vocation or calling. The point where what you love overlaps with what the world needs constitute your mission. Then lastly, the combination of what you are good at and what you love is your passion.

Where all four circles intersect is where you will find your ikigai.

The task of finding your ikigai can seem overwhelming, but there are a few tips to help you ignite your purpose.

Pay attention to what you do or think about

Many of the things we dwell on are usually the things we love. If you find that you lose track of time with something you’re thinking about, you’re interested and engaged, and that makes it a passion.

Think like a child

Believe it or not, many life coaches recommend this technique. Think back to the things you enjoyed doing as a child. For example, if you loved to listen to music, try taking it up a level by studying music or learning to play an instrument; if you liked colouring or drawing, try an art class.

Discover recurring themes

Take an inventory of things you tend to accumulate, such as books, films, etc. If you’re watching TV or reading, what do you watch or read about? If you go to a bookstore, what section do you go to? You might notice there are certain themes that attract you.

And if you are still struggling, answer the questions below to help you get started.

  1. When was the last time I was so involved in an activity that I lost all track of time, and what was I doing?
  2. What would I do if I didn’t care what others thought of me?
  3. When am I the happiest with who I am?
  4. If I were to die tomorrow, what would I regret NOT doing?

Remember that ikigai is not a destination but rather a journey of self-discovery so remember to enjoy the ride! Have you found your ikigai in retirement? If so, please let us know so we can share your story.