So, are you in your mid 30’s or early 40’s with a sprinkle of savings, a tablespoon of debt and a pot full of anxiety? A recipe for retirement disaster, right?

According to National Treasury only 6% of South Africa’s population will be able to retire comfortably, the rest will depend on family or the state pension. In fact, statistics show that 2 out of 3 people do not start putting financial plans in place for their retirement until their 50th birthday.

Sure, we all dream of the day when we can bid the ho-hum routine of our 9-to-5 jobs farewell, think about it … a life of adventure and travelling. Can’t wait! However, what if there’s not enough time to save for all of that? Yes it’s best to plan for retirement long before you have to, but if life happened and you haven’t, don’t fret. It’s not all doom and gloom. Even if you’re a late bloomer in the savings department, there are still ways that you can salvage your retirement in order to live comfortably in your later years.

You can make moves now that will substantially improve your life in retirement.

Here’s how:

  • Stop with the regrets. Commit to yourself. Every amount you save today is more than you had yesterday.
  • Figure out your financial freedom number. Do simple math. Calculate how much your annual expenses would amount to in retirement. Take that number and multiply by 4% (or, in other words divide that amount by 0.04) Voila, your financial freedom number! So, let’s say you’ll need R400,000 per year (or just over R33 000 per month) to cover all your expenses in retirement. R400,000/0.04 =R10 million. This means you’ll need to have R10 million saved up in order for you to withdraw an inflation-adjusted 4% each year to last you 30 years. Okay, so that’s some pretty rad graphics!
  • Create a budget and track your spending. Cut on unnecessary luxury expenses such as DSTV, eating out and beauty treatments.
  • Reduce or consolidate debt. High interest rates drain money that you could put into savings instead.
  • Invest in assets that grow. Real estate or high-return equities which can provide above-inflation compounding returns.
  • Downsize your home. It might make sense to put your house in the market and funnel the capital gains into your retirement portfolio. Purchase a smaller house in a cheaper neighbourhood.
  • Make the most of tax relief. Maximize your retirement contribution. Not only will you put this money out of reach for spending, but you’ll receive a great tax refund that can further boost your retirement portfolio. In South Africa, when you contribute any money towards your retirement annuity or pension fund, that money is tax-deductible.
  • Delay retirement by 5 years if at all possible. Or, consider a phased retirement by simply reducing the number of hours you work instead of retiring altogether. Apply for part-time positions or start a side-hustle.

“The question isn’t at what age I want to retire, it’s at what income” – George Foreman


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.