“What lies before us and what lies behind us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
American physician and poet, Oliver Wendell Holmes
Retirement is a merging point like no other. It is where the horizontal equator of personal means crosses the vertical axis of personal meaning. The difficulty and impact of this crossing are difficult to exaggerate. I view this crossroad as one of three existential crossroads in life: the first is graduating from school and wondering what to do; the second is questioning one’s career choice in mid-life; and the third is when we come to “graduating” from a career in general – this idea called retirement.
In the traditional retirement discussion, much more consideration has been given to your place on the horizontal line of material means and not nearly enough to the vertical axis of discovering. But that is changing. There are many forms of capital to consider in the retirement equation and only one of them is material in nature. There is your intellectual capital, your experiential capital, your relational capital and your spiritual capital. “How will you invest who you are?” is the most important question you can answer in regards to retirement. I often tell people that the right time to “retire” is on the expiration date of their intellectual and experiential capital. When you no longer desire to keep it current, it’s time to move on to the next act.
People struggle with this transition and for good reason. It is an unnatural transition in the course of life. It is not an organic transition like growing up, getting educated, having a family, etc. It is a manmade, institutionalised construct imposed upon our working cultures for the past 130 years and, in my opinion, has run its course. Retirement today at 62 or 65 is nothing more than an artificial finish line that we have every right to run right past or to jog completely around, if we so desire. Those age-markers – invented in times when people retired at 62 and died at 64 – have no significant relevance for the age we live in today.
Today the most pressing question as one approaches the retirement stage of life is not how much life you have left but how much life you have left in you. The answer to that question is complex. To answer the question requires a thorough inventory of what is in you. This process may require an MRI of your soul: illuminating your wiring, your experience, your lessons gathered, your aspirations, and ultimately, your purpose for the time ahead. This book, for you, can be that MRI.
There are plenty of thinkers on this planet and there are plenty of doers. I know my fair share of both. I know very few, however, who have successfully amalgamated the two. I know very few people like Kim Potgieter. On second thought, I don’t know anyone quite like Kim. She’s an inimitable persona with an indefatigable level of curiosity regarding what makes life work. Kim is a thinker and a doer.
Kim and her business partners came to the US and spent an unforgettable week with me exploring and discussing Financial Life Planning, The New Retirementality, Return on Life, and other ideas that have been a big part of my life’s work. A year later she arranged for me to come to South Africa to introduce these concepts. In the years since, Kim has continued to study, refine and facilitate money/life discussions and has become one of, if not the best, retirement coaches on this planet. I’m continually amazed and thrilled at the work she has been doing.
I’ve never met anyone who cares as much about the money/life dialogue as Kim does. She has literally travelled the world to glean every bit of insight and wisdom she can gather on the topic. She is relentless in her quest to make the discussion better, more meaningful, more lasting – and more impactful. This book is evidence of her quest. I love Kim’s insatiable appetite for what is meaningful. And I love what she is bringing to you the reader. She’s not talking at you, she’s living it and sharing it with you.
If you want the optimum life dividend out of your retirement years, I would suggest becoming Kim’s client. If that’s not possible, then my next best suggestion is to read this book, which you are doing. And I assume that you’re reading this book because you know there’s an awful lot of life left in you.
Author, Speaker, Financial services advisor