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How much you need to save to retire comfortably?



Thinking of retiring?

Just how much do you need to retire? One of the biggest concerns facing South African households today is saving up enough money for retirement.

While we tend to contribute towards a retirement annuity and/or pension plan every month, it can often fall to the back of our minds before becoming a serious factor as we near retirement age.

With South Africans now living longer, it has also become harder to determine “how much is enough” to retire.

With that in mind, BusinessTech approached several prominent financial analysts to determine how much we would need to save – at various ages – to retire a millionaire at 65 in South Africa.

The calculations specifically focus on savings, as it can be an immensely difficult task to calculate RAs and pension plans due to their personalised and complex nature.

The calculations are also not intended to act as financial advice, but rather to illustrate the importance of saving as soon as possible.

As noted by Jaco van Tonder, director of Advisory Services at Investec Asset Management, the rudimentary calculation is based on the monthly contribution needed to arrive at a capital lump sum of R1 million (in today’s money terms) at age 65.

Key assumptions: 

  • General Inflation: 6%.
  • Effective capital gains tax (CGT) rate: We used the current effective CGT rate for an individual in the top income tax bracket – 16.4%. Since this is a long-term investment it is assumed that the part of the investment return that would attract income tax (interest and property rental income) would be negligible. So the entire investment return was taxed at the effective CGT rate only.
  • Investment return: We assumed a long-term investment return of 11% pa – if you deduct the 6% inflation assumption, this comes to a real investment return of 5% pa, which is what one can expect from an investment portfolio with at least 80% or more in equities.
  • Investment term: We looked at people starting to save at various age brackets from age 25 to age 50, assuming that they continue to pay the required premium until they are age 65.
  • Regular contribution/premium: We assumed that the investor would be increasing the size of their regular contribution every 12 months in line with the inflation assumption above. This is important, and probably the most realistic assumption, as most people experience a steady inflation increasing salary, enabling them to increase the size of their monthly contribution to the investment annually.

Retirement couple

Age at which investor starts saving Required starting monthly contribution 
20 R921
25 R1 131
30 R1 408
35 R1 786
40 R2 326
45 R3 152
50 R4 546

Is R1 million enough to retire on?

While R1 million is a nice round number to work with, it is unlikely to be anywhere near enough to retire on, said Lucienne Fild, an independent communications consultant for both the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA) and the Actuarial Society of South Africa.

He cited Peter Doyle, former president of the Actuarial Society of South Africa, who followed actuarial models to show that a good rule of thumb is that 12 times your annual salary is likely to buy you a financially comfortable retirement.

This is assuming that you are debt free by the time you retire.

However, Doyle also noted that if you need to financially support your spouse in retirement, you need to work on a multiple of at least 15.

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5 ways you can legally avoid paying more tax than you need to



Tax filing season kicked off in July, so it is too late now to better this year’s return, but there is a way to make next year’s filing that much sweeter while also taking care of your future self, says Mica Townsend, business development manager at 10X Investments.

The bottom line is: You can build a nest egg and get the taxman to partially fund it, said Townsend.

“Tax evasion, where individuals or businesses evade the payment of taxes by illegal means, is a serious crime and carries heavy legal penalties. Tax avoidance, on the other hand, where taxpayers use legal means to reduce the taxes they pay, is perfectly legal, recommended behaviour even.”

“In the case of evasion, information is deliberately misrepresented or concealed, income is not declared, profits are understated, expenses are overstated, and so on – all with the intention of not paying what is due.

“In the case of avoidance, the canny taxpayer makes the most of incentives which are openly available to them and legally utilises the tax regime to their advantage in an attempt to reduce the amount of tax that is payable by means that are within the law.”

Tax evasion is a crime; tax avoidance is simply a way of avoiding paying more than is necessary in tax given your set of circumstances, 10X said.

The Receiver of Revenue’s retirement savings incentives are designed to encourage you to save for retirement to ensure that in your later stages of life you are not a burden on the state, or indeed family and friends; and will reward you for doing so, it said.

Here are some tips about the ways in which you can legally avoid paying more than is necessary:

  1. Simply contribute to a retirement fund and Sars will reward you by charging you less income tax, effectively paying you back a portion of any money you save towards retirement. You can deduct total contributions to a pension, provident or retirement annuity fund up to 27.5% of your taxable income. The overall limit is R350,000 per annum. The next tax year, 2019/2020, ends on 29 February next year so there are still eight months to go. If you get started now, by the time tax season comes around in a year’s time you will have a decent claim to make.

  2. If you are already contributing to a retirement fund perhaps consider raising your contributions a little. This will increase the amount of money you are diverting from the Receiver into your pension pot. If it is a company pension or provident fund ask your HR representative to increase your contribution rate. They will most likely do the calculations for you and you won’t get a refund next year but will rather start paying less tax every month. If you don’t feel able to commit to a higher monthly contribution most funds will allow you to make occasional contributions, known as Additional Voluntary Contributions, when you can. Your HR department will assist you with this.

  3. Many people put a proportion of year-end and other bonuses into their retirement savings, either a retirement annuity or pension fund. Think of it as putting a little of your bonus aside for the years when you will no longer get one and claim some of it back from the taxman.

  4. If you don’t belong to a workplace retirement fund, or the fund’s rules don’t allow you to increase your contributions, you can start a Retirement Annuity (RA) instead. There are plenty of providers, such as 10X Investments, that allow you to sign up online without paying an advisor. Then simply claim the contributions made to your RA when you submit your annual tax return, using the IT3(f) tax certificate from your provider as evidence.

  5. Another way to increase your RA contribution rate without reducing your take-home pay is to re-invest the annual tax refund as a lump sum. That way, your refund will increase every year, and within a few years you will have significantly increased your rate of saving.

This is article was adapted for Money 101 and was taken from:

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Early retirement is tempting – but can you afford it?




The temptation to retire early and adopt a life of leisure can be particularly seductive as you enter your fifties and sixties, especially after many years spent with your nose to the grindstone. But can you afford it?

There are two main drivers which determine if early retirement is even an option for you. They are:

How much capital you have, and
How much you need to draw to sustain your standard of living.
Clients often ask “How much capital will I need to retire”? However, the answer is directly related to how much you require on a monthly basis to sustain your current standard of living.

One of the very basic calculations I give my clients is to take their current monthly expenditure, divide this number by four and multiply it by R1 million. This calculation works when you are still trying to accumulate your capital and need to set a retirement savings target.

If you are already at retirement age, however, ensuring that your capital will last your entire lifetime, which is generally unknown, becomes more important. To be conservative, I would suggest that you draw no more than 4% of your retirement capital on an annual basis.

To demonstrate the significance of this, the graph below shows how withdrawal rates affect how long your capital will last.

The graph is based on the example of an individual who retires at 55 years with capital of R10 million, and further assumes that inflation rises by 6.0% per annum and that their investment achieves annual growth of 8.5%:

By keeping their withdrawal rate to 4%, their retirement capital would sustain them until the age of 95 years. However, by increasing their withdrawal rate to 4.5%, their capital would be depleted by the age of 87 years. A 6% withdrawal rate would mean that their capital would run out at the age of 77 years – nearly twenty years earlier than had they stuck to 4%.

The exponential benefits of delaying retirement on savings

If a 4% withdrawal rate will not provide you with sufficient income, it may be worth giving serious consideration to delay your retirement.

Remember, your salary and therefore retirement contributions are usually at their peak in the years just before your retirement, and when combined with the added effect of delaying dipping into your capital, these last few years can make a huge difference to your portfolio through the power of compounding.

To demonstrate the enormous impact of an extra few years on your savings, the graph below compares three scenarios involving the same investor who has accumulated R10 million capital lump sum at age 55 years.

1. Retires at 55 years

In the first scenario, the individual retires at the age of 55 years and chooses to adopt a 5% annual withdrawal rate. Assuming that inflation rises by 6% every year and that their investment achieves growth of 8.5% every year (or 2.5% real growth), their capital would be depleted at the age of 83 years.

2. Delaying retirement until age 60 – does not add to capital

In the second scenario, the individual chooses to delay their retirement for five years, or until the age of 60. However, instead of working full time, they choose to slow down and cut back on their hours, meaning that they only earn sufficient income to cover their monthly costs. They do not add or withdraw any amounts from their retirement pot during this time, but their capital continues to achieve real growth of 2.5% after inflation.

Even without making any additional contributions, by choosing to delay their retirement and simply allowing their capital to grow for an additional five years without eating into it, their retirement savings would then comfortably last until the age of 94 – even assuming the same 5% withdrawal rate, but at a later date, as the first scenario.

3. Delaying retirement until age 65 – continues to save

In the third scenario, the individual continues to work until the age of 65, and also chooses to keep contributing towards their retirement savings in order to increase their capital base to a greater degree.

Assume that this individual adds just R5,000 per month to their investments while still working, and that the capital also sees real growth of 2.5% a year, their capital base would grow to over R11.5 million by the time they retire ay 65 years – a R1.5 million increase in real terms from the R10 million they would have retired with had they retired early at the age of 55 years.

Given the increase in their retirement capital, the individual then chooses to draw down only 2.5% a year on their capital for their income, increasing this amount by 5% each year to keep up with inflation.

This means that their capital would last until they are 105 – in today’s era, a more likely age for the individual to reach than the 83 years outlined in the first scenario.

It’s therefore vital to make sure that you’ve done all the proper planning and calculations before you take the big step, not forgetting to add a buffer for any emergencies or unexpected expenses. It’s important that you don’t rush such a big decision, and rather take the time to consider all the implications before you opt to retire early.

For instance, you are most employable when you are already employed, so it could be difficult to re-enter the job market in ten years if you realise that your money may be running out. Also remember that advancements in medical technology and healthier lifestyles mean that people are increasingly living to 90 and even 100 years old.

However, if you are desperate to escape the daily grind, rather consider cutting down your working hours or look for a less strenuous position, even at a lower salary, simply to cover your current living expenses and avoid falling back on your savings.

What else do you need to consider?


Inflation is a key risk that needs to be factored in when examining whether you have enough to retire. With future inflation an unknown – and impacted by variables beyond our control, such as the rand exchange rate – having a buffer is absolutely key.

Many people allow for a 4% increase in spending per year to account for inflation, but for many of our wealthy clients, their inflation rate is actually closer to 10%, meaning that they’ve had to dip into their savings more than they had originally anticipated.

Is your pension/ provident fund appropriately diversified

There are many companies that use life-staging analysis when performing retirement planning for employees and, as employees approach their retirement, an increasing portion of their pension or provident fund is moved into cash. However, cash investments do not offer inflation-beating returns over the long term.

Engage the services of a professional financial advisor sooner rather than later to check on your behalf that your retirement savings are appropriately diversified, and that your capital should continue to achieve real returns and growth above inflation.

Outstanding debts

Another important point to consider is whether you have any outstanding debt that still need to be paid. Monthly vehicle repayments, for instance, could eat into your capital very quickly. Concentrating your focus on repaying any debt before you retire could therefore make a huge difference to your monthly expenses and thus your draw from your pension fund.

Future cash flow

While no one can predict how long they may live or how markets may change, a professional financial advisor should be able to identify whether you may be running out of money 10 or 15 years ahead of time, while you still have time to adjust your lifestyle and spending.

It can be extremely difficult to identify potential problems with your future cash flow yourself, and the chances are that you might realise you have a problem too late. That’s why it’s absolutely crucial to engage the services of a professional to do the calculations and necessary planning on your behalf, both before and during your retirement.

Kerry King is advisory partner at Citadel.

The views and opinions shared in this article belong to their author, cannot be construed as financial advice, and do not necessarily mirror the views and opinions of Smart Money

Article take and adapted for Smart Wellness From from:

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Debt Management

Debt is a Cancer




Cancer begins with the change in the gene of a cell. Debt is a cancer. It’ll change your financial DNA. It grows while you work, while you play and while you sleep. It becomes immortal.

Debt has a place in the corporate capital mix. The tax and leverage advantages of debt within a predictable income structure can significantly enhance early growth and dramatically improve the overall return on capital.

That’s all very well in a limited liability structure where the damage is restricted to the encumbered asset only, where contamination is contained. The very purpose of the limited liability construct is to enable specific risk-taking in a contained way.

Debt is a cancer. It’ll change your financial DNA. It grows while you work, while you play and while you sleep.

Personal debt is a different animal altogether. Even in a mortgage bond, there is a disconnection between the yield of the asset (nothing but a lifestyle) and the income stream which is required to service the debt (your salary), but at most they can only take away the house.

Unsecured, consumption-driven, personal debt is the real cancer of finance. It’s not logical or defensible, but we do it anyway. We want things, and we must have them, now.

Personal over-indebtedness is now a worldwide phenomenon, and it will precipitate another global financial crisis, if not a series of revolutions. Everyone has borrowed a lifestyle beyond their means. Living in advance is the new way, and, ironically, most of us are going to live for longer.

Nobody is left out. In the US, personal debt has been growing practically exponentially for the past five years. In China, personal lifestyle finance debt has grown by over 40% in the past year. Argentina is in trouble. Greece is not out of trouble, and nor is the EU, for that matter. Capital is being withdrawn from emerging markets at an alarming rate. South African consumers haven’t escaped this mess.

There are new influences that will make matters worse than even the current statistics depict. Credit access is available to increasingly younger consumers. There are practically no barriers to entry. Sources of credit have multiplied. Unemployment is rising. Financial services now provide a significant proportion of retail revenue as stores are happy to finance their customers to drive up sales. The store figures look good in the short term

when you combine margin and finance revenue, but eventually, their customers suffocate and sales fall. Credit is everywhere – peer-to-peer is growing, and it’s here to stay.

Easy money was available for everyone in the post-2008 financial crisis stimulus years – happy hour in financial markets. Money was practically free. Of that base, though, a small percentage increase in interest rates had a massive impact on the cost of financing debt.

If interest rates move from 2% to 3% the cost of debt servicing goes up by 50%. At some point, this just becomes too large a slice of your take-home pay. Given that the unsecured debt interest rate is higher than the salary increases you’re likely to get, the prognosis becomes obvious. Lifestyle assets depreciate almost immediately you leave the store and they become worthless and out of fashion long before the loan is repaid. You simply must have the next gadget. You’ll need another loan.

As consumers default, the cost of funding for their financiers goes up. Before you know it, the acceptable ratio of household debt to national GDP (roughly 60%) has been breached, affecting the cost of sovereign funding.

Contagion is inevitable. Once the consumers start failing, a classic death spiral starts for business. As business starts cutting costs (people costs in particular) so the problem becomes exacerbated.

Eventually, the burden falls on governments, which by now also face borrowing limits, increasing required yields on debt and weakening currencies. More cost-cutting, more job losses, even in the public sector, are the last refuge. After that, there is no place to hide.

We will have to go outside the country to get capital. Foreign direct investment is the only way out, even if it means selling stakes in things we’d rather not. External confidence will determine the cost. Confidence founded on a credible growth plan and some quite extraordinary discipline.

The discipline will necessarily have to come from the top, initially, but the cure will only come from the bottom. From us, the parents, convincing our children of the virtue of deferred gratification, ourselves living within an earned lifestyle, not living in advance. We’ll have to ignore the Joneses for a while, who we may find are actually far less wealthy than their watches suggest.

Mark Barnes is CEO of the Post Office.


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