Can’t wait to retire? No office, no meetings, no peak traffic … and obviously, no pay check! 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. Scary thought!

We get it, there are so many things competing for a piece of the salary pie that saving for retirement often falls off the priority list. Bonds, car payments, school fees and the skyrocketing cost of living often takes saving for retirement right down to the bottom of the list. Truth is that the needs and wants of our current selves take priority over our future selves.

So, consider yourself in the future: Older, but grateful that you’ve exercised regularly and drank plenty of water and thankful that you’ve used lotions and potions to slow down the ageing process. Imagine how grateful you’ll be if there’s enough cash in your bank account to allow you to maintain your current standard of living when you’re too old to work.

According to the Money Advice Service, most retirees underestimate how long their retirement years will last. Only planning for 20 years may mean running out of money – especially as men and women in South Africa have a 50% chance of living beyond ages 83 and 87, respectively. Remember, our later years may require more money because of end-of-life care, something which is not always factored in when saving for retirement. Fact is, with the current advances in technology and medicine you can expect to live much longer, and you need to make provision for that.

Financial experts agree that you’ll need about 70 - 80% of what you make at the peak of your career to maintain a good standard of living in retirement. The rule of thumb is that you should consistently save between 15 and 20% of your monthly salary from age 20 until you’re 60, to retire comfortably.

To reap the benefits of decades of hard work, you need to save while you’re young. The best time to start saving for your retirement is when you land your first permanent job. The second best time is to start now!

Fewer companies offer retirement funds these days. If they have one, a monthly contribution is taken off your salary. If your employer doesn’t offer a fund, you can start saving in a retirement annuity. Speak to a trusted financial advisor. He/she will be able to help you look for additional ways to save, advise you on an appropriate investment strategy, and help you to understand the tax implications of your financial decisions.

Retirement planning is not something most of us want to think about, let alone talk about. It may not be exciting or gratifying right now; it doesn’t give you the thrill of a new sportscar or provide you with great content for your Instagram feed. But what it will do is ensure that you will be able to live as a financially independent individual when you stop working.

The possibility that you could outlive your savings, is one of the greatest financial threats that you will ever face.

This is one early start that will offer great rewards.

Source: oldmutual.co.za, alexanderforbes.co.za, forbes.com, allangray.co.za, voya.com, Investopedia.com, businesstech.co.za, businesslive.co.za

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.