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2023-11-14 10:53 AM

South Africans’ Ultimate Guide to Secure Retirement Savings

    • Critical Importance of Retirement Planning: The article emphasizes the urgency for South Africans to prioritize retirement planning due to concerning savings trends. Experts recommend saving at least ten times one's annual income for a secure retirement amidst a backdrop of low savings rates and a lack of concrete retirement plans among a significant portion of the population.
    • Guidelines for Financial Security: Fidelity Investments provides age-based savings milestones, suggesting specific amounts individuals should aim to save by certain ages. These milestones range from saving an equivalent of one's annual salary by age 30 to accumulating ten times one's income by age 65. The article underscores the significance of these milestones in ensuring financial stability post-retirement.
    • Proactive Approach and Financial Discipline: Early initiation of savings, disciplined financial habits, and adapting savings goals to individual circumstances are highlighted as crucial strategies for securing a comfortable retirement. The article emphasizes the importance of proactive financial planning, highlighting how starting early and maintaining disciplined savings habits significantly contribute to achieving a financially secure retirement in South Africa.
By Miriam Matoma

In South Africa, the need for proactive retirement planning has reached critical importance, given the nation’s concerning savings trends. Experts now emphasize the necessity of saving at least ten times one’s annual income to ensure a secure and self-sufficient retirement.

Recent findings from the Baseline survey on financial literacy in South Africa paint a worrying picture. A mere 46% of adults prioritize planning for the future over immediate gratification, with 44% admitting to a lack of active savings. Alarmingly, a third of South Africans have no concrete retirement plan in place.

Mmakgoshi Lekhethe, Deputy Director-General of the Tax and Financial Sector Policy Division, expressed concerns about the reliance on government pensions. “We do not want to end up with a society dependent on government handouts instead of saving for their own future,” Lekhethe cautioned, urging individuals to take charge of their financial destinies.

The urgency behind retirement savings amplifies as the population ages and life expectancies rise. Relying solely on state benefits amidst economic uncertainty may prove insufficient. To ensure a comfortable and independent future, individuals must proactively save for retirement.

Adriaan Pask, Chief Investment Officer at PSG Wealth, highlights the significance of retirement savings as a safety net, emphasizing its role in securing financial stability in later years.

Determining Your Retirement Savings Goal

According to Fidelity Investments, a general guideline in 2023 is to save ten times your income by age 65 to maintain your existing lifestyle post-retirement. However, this benchmark can be adjusted based on your intended retirement age.

For those planning to retire earlier, say at 60, additional savings are imperative to cover the extra years without a regular income. Conversely, individuals retiring later, at say 70, might require less than the recommended tenfold income, factoring in an extended working period and fewer years to utilize savings.

While the target set by Fidelity may appear daunting, starting early and having more years to save can significantly ease achieving this goal.

Fidelity’s Age-Based Savings Milestones for South Africans

To guide your financial planning, Fidelity proposes specific savings milestones based on age, ensuring a financially secure retirement without compromising your lifestyle:

By age 30: Aim to have the equivalent of your annual salary saved. For instance, if your yearly income is R240,000, strive to save R240,000 by your 30th birthday. By age 40: Target three times your income (R720,000). By age 50: Aim for six times your income (R1.44 million). By age 60: Target eight times your income (R1.92 million). By age 65: Strive for ten times your income (R2.4 million). It’s crucial to note that these savings guidelines encompass retirement account contributions and investments like index funds. However, the final savings amount required may vary based on individual lifestyle and income factors.

Fidelity emphasizes that while personal savings goals differ, these milestones serve as pivotal markers to track progress or prompt a more vigorous savings strategy if falling short.


The landscape of retirement planning in South Africa calls for a proactive approach. Establishing a robust savings plan aligns with securing a financially stable and independent future. As individuals adapt these guidelines to their circumstances, early planning and disciplined savings habits are pivotal in ensuring a comfortable retirement.

By adopting prudent financial strategies and committing to regular savings, South Africans can safeguard their future and embrace retirement with confidence and financial security.

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Miriam Matoma

Miriam is a freelance writer, she covers economics and government news for Rateweb. You can contact her on: Email: Twitter: @MatomaMiriam