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In Hindsight – wise money lessons I wish I could tell my younger self

Celebrating a year of courageous stories and life lessons


Kim Potgieter

Kim Potgieter

November 21, 2023
This has been a wonderful year filled with stories of inspirational midlife transitions, lessons learnt and wisdom shared. I have learnt that behind every financial plan lies a story brimming with hopes and dreams, courage, and the desire to live life to the fullest … not only in retirement, but right now. I have seen so many clients determined to live fuller, happier lives and put plans in place to make it happen – regardless of their phase of life.

I have loved sharing, learning and growing with you this year as we journeyed through the midlife makeover stories of our clients. The clients who bravely shared their stories gave us valuable insights and taught us important lessons – not just about money, but about life itself.

But what really stood out for me is just how powerful the midlife phase can be. It reinforces that midlife is not a crisis – it’s a wonderful opportunity to design your life exactly as you want it to be. And it’s the perfect phase of life to structure your money to enable the life you deserve. This transformative nature of midlife was beautifully encapsulated in a TED Talk by Chip Conley, called “The alternative to the midlife crisis.” His comparison of midlife to the transformation phase of a butterfly resonated with my own experience and learning:

Just as a caterpillar eats incessantly, just before it’s about to spin its chrysalis,
so do we, as young adults, madly consume and produce.
And then, the caterpillar decides to take its midlife break
in its chrysalis,
which is dark and gooey and solitary,
but it’s also where the transformation happens.
On the other side of that, there’s a chrysalis that cracks open,
and this beautiful winged creature emerges
that delights us all: the butterfly.

And this is really what my book Midlife Money Makeover is about – preparing you for an intentional transition into elderhood. A guide to help you clarify what you want your life to look like, what you still want to achieve and how your money will enable the life you want.

Personally, I have loved my midlife transition, and I am grateful every day to live my passion in the work that I do. In fact, I always check in with myself to ensure that I live according to my values: to inspire and be inspired. One of the highlights of my year was to be recognised for exactly this! But winning the FPI “It Starts with Me” Award would not have been possible without my incredible team at Chartered and all the courageous clients who share their lives with us. Thank you to all the Courageous Currency readers for allowing me to inspire you, and clients for sharing your wisdom, experience and practical advice across generations. Bridging the gap between youth and experience is a testament to the power of shared knowledge, and I do believe that the best lessons come from the stories we share.

As we head into the holiday season and the frenzy of festive shopping, it’s the perfect time to reflect on our financial habits and choices we make. I am reminded of the most mentioned money lesson I’ve picked up from clients this year: only spend what you can afford. It’s a tough one this time of year, but a good lesson and one you may just be grateful for come January.

This blog also marks the last for the year as I take time out to replenish and recharge and spend a much-needed break with my family and close friends. I wish you all a restful end to the year and look forward to reconnecting with you in the coming new year.