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

Reinventing work and money in midlife

with Lynda


Details


Kim Potgieter

Kim Potgieter

August 14, 2023
If you could rewrite your life story at 50 – what would it look like? Is it possible to turn curveballs into a compelling new direction, especially when you’re halfway through the game? Meet Lynda, a remarkable woman who faced multiple challenges in midlife: transitioning to a rediscovered purpose, a new career, the silence of an empty nest and confronting the financial realities of retirement.

“A fulfilled life includes more than money.
Purpose, relationships, faith, and hope matter.”

– Lynda

Meet Lynda

Lynda experienced many unexpected curveballs during her first chapter. Divorced at 40, Lynda dedicated the next ten years to her children, working in various roles and industries. By 50, with her children married and settled overseas, she lost her National sales and marketing manager job after the company she worked for was sold. Lynda then realised that early retirement was not financially viable. “My whole life and dreams felt like they needed reshaping,” Lynda recalls. Over the next decade, Lynda reshaped her purpose, launched her business, and took control of her finances.

Lynda’s Insights on Money and Life

Question
What challenges did you face starting a new business at 50?

Answer
At first, I was not sure what I wanted to do. It took time, experimentation and many long conversations to start visualising my new direction. Through my consulting work with TomorrowToday, I knew people were living longer and needed to rethink the future of traditional retirement. I immersed myself in reading and learning as much as I could about the future of retirement and longevity.

Question
Tell us about your business – Refirement Network

Answer
My research and learning led to the establishment of my company, Refirement Network. It represents a positive, empowering phase after your first or primary career. Living healthier for longer presents a “gift season” – it’s about loving what you do, making a difference, earning, and learning. I love watching people I coach and workshop with build their own unique season – but it takes time, courage, and an open mindset.

Question
What inspired your next business, 50Plus-skills?

Answer
In 2009, at 52 years old, I enrolled to study Social Entrepreneurship to grapple with what Refirement could do to help bring about economic and social change in South Africa. I dreamt of a 50+ Skills Bank: a community where older South Africans could learn, serve, and earn. It took 9 years, but in 2018, with a dedicated team, we launched 50Plus-Skills. We work with individuals, companies, small businesses and civil society in building an eco-system where we can match skills, give back, remain relevant and build purpose.

Question
What’s your view on retirement today?

Answer
The term “retirement” feels obsolete given our extended lifespans – we need to shift from a vertical to a horizontal longevity strategy.

Question
Advice for midlifers seeking purpose?

Answer
I‘ve written a 6-part course with workbooks to guide people to navigate this journey. It’s important to embrace a fresh mindset and do the introspective work to live your best life. Balancing earning needs, learning, and growth brings a unique purpose.

Question
How did you financially prepare for this chapter?

Answer
At 50, my savings were limited. Although I am grateful for investing in myself, especially in my learning journey, it impacted me financially, depleted my savings and consequently increased my debt. The Chartered team, especially Kim, helped me take responsibility for my financial situation and created a holistic financial plan: working for longer, settling debt, living a simpler life and saving more. Now, 16 years later, I am debt-free and love my diverse work portfolio.

Question
Your biggest money lesson?

Answer
Many people overlook the power of compound interest and budgeting – a long, slow, disciplined process. Whilst I started this later in life, the earlier you start, the more powerful it becomes.

Question
Your proudest money habits today?

Answer
Refocussing my life goals and implementing a solid financial plan in midlife – and diligently sticking to my goals and plans.

Question
Advice to your younger self?

Answer
Understand the value of compound interest.
Save for the long-term.
Pay yourself first.
Work with a financial planner who understands longevity.

Lynda’s story reminds us that life’s second chapter can be just as vibrant and fulfilling as the first. Reinventing a new career with limited funds can be hugely challenging, but Lynda shows us that dreams are possible. 50Plus-Skills did not just happen – it took nine long years of thinking, planning, dreaming and visualising to get where she is today – all while still earning, working, paying off debt and boosting her savings.

Always remember, when it comes to your money, be inspired, be brave and be on purpose,

Kim

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