The 3rd annual Retirement Reality Report (RRR20) by 10X Investments was released in Q4 2020. This report looks at retirement readiness in South Africa, or rather, highlights how far from ready South Africans are for retirement.
RRR20 was never going to be a feel-good read – especially in 2020. COVID-19 and its devastating ripple effect on jobs and livelihoods placed saving for retirement on the back burner for many. Or, even more concerning, turned pension savings as a source for much-needed cash. In addition to the dire circumstances in which this happens, the series of unsavoury consequences that follows an early withdrawal last much longer: Besides being liable to pay tax on the withdrawal, the long-term consequences of capital losing out on compound growth is a hefty price to pay to mitigate a short-term emergency.
A key finding in this report that truly encapsulates the current retirement landscape, is that 49% of South Africans surveyed don’t have a retirement plan – that’s a 3% increase from 2019. At the opposite end of this profoundly unbalanced seesaw, sits only a handful of individuals (6%) who have a ‘thought-through’ plan that they are executing, and in the middle are 30% who feel relatively okay about their future as retirees.
Uncertainty is certain
What is clear throughout the report, is that uncertainty is rife amongst those surveyed. For individuals who benefit from a corporate retirement savings scheme, “more than 60% who had been (or still were) members of an employer’s retirement fund said they knew little or nothing about the fund, or were not interested.” (Top tip – The folks at 10X released a guide to corporate retirement funds to better employees’ understanding of these funds. It also takes a look at what to do with your savings when you leave your employer, amongst other valuable need-to-knows)
Uncertainty of how long one should save to retire comfortably is also prevalent, as well as the uncertainty of whether the savings in the retirement kitty will be enough. (Top tip: There’s a calculation for that!)
This key theme of uncertainty underscores the need for improving financial literacy in South Africa. And it can start right here and now. Share your knowledge, and the discovery thereof, and pay it forward. Over time this simple action can grow into something that might change someone else’s future for the better.
Saving for retirement is the biggest investment most of us will ever make. Sadly, it can also be very complicated. In this monthly blog, we try to answer some of the retirement questions we hear most often, ranging from which products are best suited to different circumstances to efficient tax treatments. Words by Carina Jooste.