PLANNING FOR RETIREMENT

In a previous post I shared how, we as women, can economically emancipate ourselves, despite the challenges we still face as women in corporate South Africa (e.g.: The gender pay gap.)

A recent report on retirement readiness in South Africa reveals that a majority of women do not have a retirement plan, suggesting that the gender inequality gap will continue to extend into retirement.

The report noted that women in South Africa earn around a quarter less than their male counterparts, a disparity that is exacerbated by the increased likelihood that their careers will be interrupted during pregnancy and child-rearing.

Please don’t believe anyone who tells you that retirement planning is too complex for you.  Modern technology, such as online calculators that work to help you understand where you are, where you need to be and how to bridge the gap. This brings retirement planning within anyone’s grasp.

THINGS TO AVOID

Women who assume ‘My man is my plan’ risk a nasty shock. Even for the happily married, it is important to have an understanding of your finances. We should have to plan for the worst (divorce and death), even if we hope for the best (a long and happy marriage). Failing to plan is tantamount to planning to fail, and women are urged to take charge of their future. Don’t just plan for retirement, plan for a long life.

BACK TO BASICS

To be confident in managing their finances and to enable them to narrow the gap with men, women need only to understand the basics.

By saving 15% of your salary from day one until you retire (i.e. a working life of around 40 years), invest your savings in a well-diversified high equity fund and keep fees low.

Investing is simple, your money grows by the gap between returns (what you earn) and fees (what you pay) so, simply put, you need to maximise growth and minimise fees.

DON’T JUST PLAN FOR RETIREMENT, PLAN FOR A LONG LIFE

In a recent assignment I completed for my qualification, I discussed the 3 factors that will have an impact on retirement planning:

  • Increased life expectancy
  • The effects of inflation
  • Medical cost after retirement
Factor Risk
Increased life expectancy The risk is that you could live longer than expected and potentially deplete you retirement savings. Due to modern medical technology, people are living longer than what we’ve seen in the past.
Effects of inflation At retirement, you will not be entitled to annual increases as you were during years in the workforce. These annual increases may have helped you fight inflation, after retirement however – pension income does not necessarily increase to fight inflation.
Medical costs after retirement The older we get, the more prone we are to ill-health. Medical costs have increased substantially over the years and in most instances, retirees lose their medical aid membership or employer’s contribution; which puts pressure on their retirement plan.

Those in the retirement industry bemoan the fact that South Africans are poor savers and are often one emergency away from trashing what savings they have.

There are a few immutable truths about retirement savings that are often overlooked:

  • Start early and put 15% into retirement savings as soon as you start working.
  • Worry less about which investment house is managing your money than the end goal of maintaining a decent standard of living when you retire.
  • Never touch your retirement savings for any reason, not even emergencies or change of employment.
  • Plan for a long life, well beyond the retirement age of 65.

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Parts of this piece were quoted from www.moneyweb.co.za.

Disclaimer: The article is provided for general information purposes only. Whilst care has been taken to ensure accuracy, the content provided is not intended to stand alone as financial advice. An expert should be consulted for advice based on the facts and circumstances of each transaction/case.

The contributor (Kim Nokwaza) shall not be liable for any loss or damages suffered by anyone who relies on or acts upon the information contained in this piece.

 

 

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