Golden years done right. Meet our latest retiree twenty years into retirement

Carina JoosteLatest, Retire


Almost 20 years into his retirement, Golden Years* continues to reap the rewards of following personal finance best practices throughout his life.

“My wife and I are conservative in our spending, having both been brought up in financially restrained, but happy, families.” But this doesn’t mean they skimped on living life. They traveled overseas when younger, and continue to take two to three local holidays a year.

Today they live in a spacious cottage in a retirement village which they bought under life rights ownership for R1.6m.

So how did retiree Golden Years get to enjoy a retired lifestyle that ticks all the boxes?

Sticking to the basics in the long run

During his working years, he worked as an electrical engineer and technician for four different employers, while his wife’s career spanned 20 years. Every time he changed jobs, he invested his pension payout into a retirement annuity (RA).

He did a stock market course in the early nineties, but never traded daily. “Our portfolio was mainly from Old Mutual and Sanlam de-mutualisation, then Telkom privatisation, and a few minor companies.  We mainly bought unit trusts, and had a good financial advisor.”

On retirement, they invested R3.2 million in living annuities, had an endowment policy worth R1.5 million and unit trusts worth R3.5 million, with 23% in local equities and 37% in Rand-based foreign equity. Today, the value of their investments sits at just over R10 million.

“My calculations indicate that we will run out of funds when I’m 99.”

Considering the above, and without going into too much detail, the following personal finance brilliant basics shine through:

  • Reinvesting your pension when starting at a new employer
  • Being curious about money and learning more about it
  • Relying on a trusted financial advisor to guide your decisions
  • Spreading your eggs across multiple baskets

More tips from Golden Years for young and old

  • With your first salary, start saving for an emergency fund equal to 6 months’ salary.
  • Get a certified financial planner.
  • Always argue for lower fees.
  • Don’t over-invest in income funds.
  • Read the financial pages even if you are not a stock trader.
  • Plan to retire with no debt, including paying off your home bond before retirement.
  • Invest your annual bonus – take a cheaper holiday, and pay the balance into your bond.
  • Finance your car with your access bond, but pay it back at the rate you would’ve been paying if you took the finance scheme offered by the car dealer.
  • Any loans you give to family or friends, only lend what you can afford to lose. Do not expect to get it back, but do not damage the family relationships.

*Not his real name

Retire blog

Saving for retirement is the biggest investment most of us will ever make. Sadly, it can also be very complicated. In this monthly blog, Carina Jooste responds to common retirement questions, ranging from which products are best suited to different circumstances to efficient tax treatments.