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What Life Stage Are You In?

13 July 2020

Throughout our lives we go through four distinct stages of development. Some people will transition between these stages effortlessly, while others may take a little longer.

These stages are the natural progression of life, but we can only go on to the next stage once we are ready. Being able to recognise the patterns inherent within ourselves and each stage can help with personal development, the way we manage our money, and our growth between milestones.


Some animals are born onto their feet, ready to evade predators from their very first breath. Humans need time to mature, and this time is different for all of us. The first stage is focused on building fundamentals for your life ahead. We have a complex language to learn and social skills to develop. This is achieved by imitating the people around us. Whilst it’s easy to see this in our day-to-day lives, it’s often harder to see it in our finances, but the way we initially make financial decisions is hinged on what we learn from those around us.

The ultimate goal of the first stage is to acclimatise ourselves into society. To teach ourselves how to function as self-sufficient adults. This stage can be considered naive in that it teaches us to constantly seek validation from others – but this is how we know that we’re on the right track. We enter the next stage when we are able to act on personal values that contradict our need for approval.


Stage two is about learning what makes us different. It is a journey of self-discovery, trial and error, and making decisions for yourself. This stage can be exhilarating and, as such, many people will choose to continue life on this level.

However, all that glitters is not gold and this stage often bestows diminishing returns if we are entrenched in it for too long. We may begin this stage feeling as though anything is possible, but in order to enter the third stage we must become aware of our limitations. This can be a difficult conversation to have when it comes to our money; accepting that we have limited means feels like the complete opposite of what we’re exploring in our journey of self-discovery, which is why it’s beneficial to have the help of an adviser, mentor or coach for the third stage.


Stage three is about consolidating priorities. It’s about evaluating what you are good at and what is good for you, and offloading the things that are holding you back. This can be people, unhealthy activities, financial blind spots or material attachments. Our time and wealth is limited and we shouldn’t be spending it on things that are not in our best interest.

During this stage we are able to channel our focus into our potential, which includes our family, relationships, career and legacy.


People enter stage four after investing their lives in what they chose to be meaningful and important. Your legacy will already be established through your years of dedication. This final stage is more about protecting and passing on your legacy and wisdom. It is our chance to make sure something of ours continues to live on in this world, even when we are no longer in it.

We can only move between life stages when we are ready – it’s not about age. But the sooner we plan ahead, the easier the transition will be. Whatever stage you may feel you’re in, chat to one of our advisers today and ensure that you can identify, value and protect your legacy for generations to come.

Sanlam Life Insurance is a licensed financial service provider.
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