Skip to main content

Author: Lyndsay Barr

Saying Goodbye to the Familiar: A Daughter’s View

Moving is listed right up there as one of life’s most stressful events – and having been witness to my parents’ relocation, I wholeheartedly agree. None of us thought it would be a daunting experience. My parents weren’t hoarders and were simply moving to their already-furnished holiday home, so the planning seemed straightforward. Sounds simple, right? Wrong.

No matter how decluttered you believe your life to be, moving is never straightforward and demands detailed planning. While the larger items were accounted for, it was the little things that took the most time. Here is what I learned in the process:

The Challenge of Letting Go: Sentimental Treasures and a Lifetime of Memories

You’d be surprised at how much you can accumulate over the years, even when you think you’re living simply. My seemingly uncluttered parents had shelves overflowing with outdated medical textbooks, endless photo albums, and keepsakes like my dad’s graduation and wedding suits. Each item held a memory, a story from the past. My husband couldn’t fathom why, as a non-smoker, I insisted on bringing home the ashtrays that were scattered around the house in my youth. Eventually, he wisely let it go. However, he drew the line when I wanted to pack the enormous puncher I loved using during countless hours of playing school-school. Packing forces ruthless efficiency. Deciding what to keep and what to let go of is a challenging but necessary part of the process. That’s the reality of moving – sometimes, sentimentality, however painful, has to take a backseat.

The Myth of the Helpful Child

I naively thought I could jump in and make decisions, but that plan fell flat pretty quickly. As much as I wanted to help, it was really up to my mom to face each item, revisit their memories, and decide whether to keep, let go or rehome them. My job was to support her, not take control.

Planning is Key: A Lesson Learned (the Hard Way)

Hindsight is 20/20. Here’s what I wish we’d done differently: planned ahead. Discussing what to keep, donate, or sell well before the moving date would’ve saved a lot of stress. We ended up with limited time, leading to a whirlwind of last-minute decisions. “Donate to Hospice” piles grew rapidly, but we could have sold more with better planning and more time.

Saying Goodbye: Leaving Hometown Roots

Sure, my parents were moving to a beautiful seaside haven, but leaving the town they’d called home for decades was a wrenching experience. Vereeniging, or “VTown” as it’s affectionately known, had been their home for their entire married life. My father practised there as a GP and my mother as a psychologist. Their three daughters were born there, and it was even where I met and married my husband. Our roots run deep, and saying goodbye to the familiar was incredibly hard.

Perhaps the most emotional moment for my mom was when Lizzie, who had worked for our family for over 50 years, came to say goodbye to my parents. These goodbyes made the move seem that much more difficult.

Embrace the Help (Yes, Even When You Think You Don’t Need It)

In hindsight, getting professional help would’ve been a lifesaver. The emotional weight of going through a lifetime of belongings was overwhelming. We also realised the benefit of having experts who specialise in decluttering and facilitating the sale of items. The medical textbooks were a prime example. We thought about donating them to a medical library but fortunately, a doctor friend visited to say goodbye, saw the books, and showed interest. It was comforting to know that these symbols of my father’s love for his profession wouldn’t just end up in a landfill.

The Underestimated Physical Toll

Don’t underestimate the physical toll of moving, either. In the days leading up to the move, my mom’s fitness tracker clocked an average of 16,000 steps a day – and that’s not including the lifting, sorting, and manoeuvring.

On a more positive note, my parents have now settled into their home, surrounded only by physical things that really mattered. It’s a beautiful and inspiring new beginning.

Granting Ourselves the Grace of Self-Permission

Inspired by Kim’s blog on the power of permission slips, this month’s conversation starter revolves around conversations with ourselves, learning to silence the inner critic, and giving ourselves permission to honour our authentic selves.

The Permission Slip Exercise

We all harbour thoughts, ideas, or beliefs that hold us back. Ask yourself:

  • What are the qualities, thoughts, or inner voices you need to banish?
  • What new beliefs and qualities can you focus on to allow yourself to thrive?

Answer these questions and jot down the limiting beliefs to banish alongside the ones to embrace.

Examples of Self-Permission

Granting ourselves permission takes many shapes; here are a few examples to explore:

  • Permission to Say No: It’s okay to decline requests that don’t align with your values or current priorities. Permit yourself to prioritise your own needs.
  • Permission to Rest: Prioritise your well-being! Grant yourself permission to recharge without feeling guilty.
  • Permission to Celebrate: Celebrate moments and achievements, whether big or small.
  • Permission to Change Your Mind: We’re constantly evolving. Give yourself the flexibility to change your opinions or plans as you gain new insights or experiences. It’s okay to pivot when necessary.
  • Permission to Pursue Passion: Make time for activities that bring you joy, even if they don’t seem practical.
  • Permission to Disconnect: In our hyper-connected world, grant yourself permission to unplug from technology to reconnect with yourself and your surroundings.
  • Permission to Ask for Help: You don’t have to do everything alone. Allow yourself to seek support when you need it.
  • Permission to Prioritise Self-Care: Make your physical, mental, and emotional health a priority. Grant yourself permission to invest in self-care practices that nourish and rejuvenate you.
  • Permission to Set Boundaries: Give yourself permission to set boundaries that protect your time, energy, and emotional well-being.
  • Permission to Just Be: Sometimes, we just need permission to exist peacefully in the present moment without striving or needing to achieve anything. Give yourself space to breathe, be comfortable in your own skin, and simply “be.”

Sticky Note Reminders

Writing your permission slips on sticky notes and placing them on your mirror, fridge, or above your desk serves as potent reminders and often helps silence the inner critic.

Your Turn

So, what are you going to give yourself permission to do this year? Share your permission slip ideas in the comments below.

Conversation Starters: Are You Avoiding ‘The Talk’ About End-of-Life Plans?

For many families, the mere thought of discussing end-of-life plans sends shivers down their spines. Laden with anxieties and unspoken worries, these conversations often get pushed aside, creating an even heavier burden down the line. Parents might grapple with a mix of emotions – fear, anxiety, even guilt at needing support or burdening their children. Children, in turn, may worry about upsetting their parents by raising the topic. But here’s the truth: discussing end-of-life plans isn’t a morbid exercise; it’s a gift of clarity and peace of mind for everyone involved.

Let’s explore the contrasting stories of two clients and the valuable lessons they offer.

Client A: Open Dialogue

Sarah and her parents have had open conversations about their wishes for the future. Legal documents are in order, care preferences shared, and even funeral plans discussed. This transparency eliminates last-minute scrambling, eases anxieties, and, most importantly, allows Sarah to cherish each present moment with her parents, free from the weight of unknowns.

Client B: Uncertainty Across Continents

Now, consider Emily’s situation. Her attempts to initiate similar conversations with her parents, living miles away, have felt like pushing against a wall. Despite numerous efforts, the discussions haven’t led to concrete plans or answers to her pressing questions. Unanswered questions linger: Who makes decisions if one parent passes? What are their preferences for care and final wishes? Though named executor, Emily grapples with future logistical hurdles: time zones, legal complexities, and unfamiliar systems. These uncertainties amplify her worries.

While Sarah and Emily’s situations differ, they both highlight the critical role of open communication. Talking now, not later, is the key to avoiding future stress and confusion. Having conversations now provides clarity and reduces future anxieties. Open communication ensures your loved ones’ desires are understood and respected.

Starting the Conversation

Remember, this doesn’t have to be a single, daunting discussion. Take it one step at a time:

  • Begin with shared values: Start with broader questions about their priorities and future aspirations. What matters most to them? What legacy do they wish to leave?
  • Focus on present concerns: Talk about their current preferences for healthcare and living arrangements. This establishes a foundation for future discussions.
  • Listen actively and validate feelings: This is a collaborative effort, not an interrogation. Acknowledge their emotions without judgment.
  • Respect their pace: Understand that these conversations may take time and emotional processing. Be patient and supportive, creating a safe space for open dialogue.
  • Frame it positively: View the conversation as an act of love and preparation, ensuring a smoother transition for everyone.

Talking about mortality isn’t easy, but avoiding it carries a heavier cost. Remember, a little courage and open communication goes a long way. As Brene Brown reminds us, courage is not about daring to jump off a cliff. It’s about having tough conversations about our lives and relationships, showing up when we’re afraid, and doing hard things that matter.

Additional reading: The Importance of a Legacy Folder

Chartered’s Year in Review: Making a Difference Through Give Back Initiatives

Give back is one of the key components of the Wheel of Balance. It’s important to note that giving back goes beyond charity work; it’s about making a positive impact and establishing a lasting legacy. This can take various forms, including volunteering, mentoring, or supporting causes that align with your values. At Chartered, we strongly believe in giving back, not just during retirement but throughout our lives. That’s why we promote integrating giving back into the lives of our clients and staff. We provide numerous opportunities throughout the year for staff members to participate in give back activities.

This year, we partnered with the Sunshine Association, an organisation dedicated to supporting children with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities, as well as their families and communities. The organisation offers a wide range of services, including early intervention, therapy, training, and support groups.

Our initial project involved establishing a thriving vegetable garden that helps provide food for the children and their families. Following this, we designed and constructed a sensory garden for the children. Sensory gardens offer many benefits for children with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities, including sensory stimulation, motor development, cognitive enhancement, social and emotional growth, relaxation, and stress reduction. The sensory garden has been a tremendous success, and the children thoroughly enjoy exploring it. Finally, we sanded and painted the jungle gym in the playground.

Some of our staff members spent a wonderful afternoon at the Johannesburg Children’s Home, where they painted the pool fence. The Johannesburg Children’s Home provides a safe haven for up to 64 children who have been deemed in need of care by the Children’s Court. JCH cares for Orphans and Vulnerable Children who have been identified as disadvantaged due to physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, severe neglect, or abandonment.

In our Cape Town office, the giving-back initiative took the form of creating Santa Shoe Boxes. The Santa Shoebox Project is an organisation that collects and distributes personalised gifts consisting of essential items and treats for underprivileged children across South Africa and Namibia. Each year, the project aims to bring joy to over 150,000 children in need.

Meanwhile, staff from our Eastern Cape office assembled care packs for Vistarus Mission Station, an organisation that provides a safe haven for impoverished, homeless, and addicted individuals, with the goal of reintegrating them into society.

These give back initiatives served as a reminder of the profound difference we can make in the lives of others, demonstrating that even the smallest acts of kindness can have a ripple effect, creating a more compassionate and connected community.

Are you involved in any give back initiatives? If so, please get in touch, as we would love to share your story.

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 Lyndsay@charteredwealth.co.za.

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 Lyndsay@charteredwealth.co.za.