We all envisage what life will be after retirement: sleeping late every morning, no more being stuck in traffic, going shopping during the day, play golf in the afternoon, go for a brisk walk before sunset, go on holiday whenever you want, travel the world, eating out, going to the theatre, pursue those hobbies you never had time for…

As we get closer to retirement age, we often start to panic because we realize our retirement savings is not nearly enough for this dream picture to realize. Looking at other retirees we often see that they are struggling: they cannot afford to live in retirement villages, they cannot afford proper health care and they no longer keep up with the standard of living they were used to before retirement. Suddenly the sad reality about retirement kicks in.

A few reality checks about retirement:
• Less than 3% of South Africans can retire comfortably without having to significantly drop their standard of living.
• Women tend to have 82% less retirement savings than men even though they live on average 7 years longer than men.
• If you study after school and start working at age 23, retire at age 65 and die at age 95; it means theoretically you have 42 years to build up sufficient savings that need to last for 30 years.
• Business owners often don’t have retirement savings.
• Retrenchments, employment equity and divorce rates have a direct impact on retirement savings.
• People going on early retirement have even less time to build up retirement savings.
• People leaving their jobs often cash their retirement savings in instead of preserving it in a preservation fund.
• Some people use their retirement savings to start a new business venture and often losing the money they had.
• There are plenty of scammers out there defrauding people from their retirement savings.
• Majority of people don’t know how much retirement savings they actually need and how much they currently have.
• People seldom worry about retirement until they get close to retirement age just to realize they don’t have sufficient savings and their time to do something about it has become limited.

These are a few sad realities about retirement. The best thing you can do for yourself is to take retirement seriously, even at a young age. Understand how much do you need to retire comfortably, how much you have saved until now and how you can bridge any gaps to ensure you have sufficient retirement savings when you get to retirement. You have worked hard over the years and you deserve long holidays, golf trips and a comfortable lifestyle during your golden years.

Written by Ronel Jooste
CA(SA), Financial Consultant and Coach, Blogger and Speaker
Contact Ronel: ronel@financiallyfitlife.co.za
For more information about my financial wellness programmes visit the website