I spent the past weekend in Elgin in the Western Cape. It was the 17th annual Elgin Open Gardens event where many country gardens were opened to the public for viewing. This gives avid gardeners and enthusiasts an opportunity to enjoy the expansive and colourful country gardens and a chance to buy plants/flowers on offer. It was a slow paced, inspiring treat which got me thinking – this would really be an ideal way to spend most of my retirement days, walking around in the fields at a leisurely pace and tending to my fuchsia’s and azalea’s (I discovered over the weekend that these were my favourite flowers!).
What does that picture look like for you? Consider this -it’s a Monday morning. Half past ten, to be precise. You are 69 years. What does the day look like? How is the rest of the month? And the rest of your life?
How you answer this question is dependent on your financial habits, financial planning (or lack thereof), saving and investment behaviour. How you’ve lived and how you’ve treated your body over the years will also catch up with you during this time, if not sooner. Both financial and health habits should be planned for consciously and deliberately. Saving and planning for retirement is not optional. It is a requirement if you hope to spend your retirement days with limited or no financial constraints. Unfortunately, many people get to this gloomy realization when it’s too late.
A scary 94% of South Africans retire with insufficient retirement savings. This is largely due to the fact that a bulk of the population (approximately 85%) earn income below the 2018 living wage of R6,460. Only two percent of population earns income above R19,000 per month. If you are a part of the two percent, you are an anomaly in this country and you should use this opportunity to plan carefully for your future, regardless of the age bracket you’re in.
Start working on changing your habits now which will have a great impact on your financial future.
A few tips to get you moving
Any amount saved during your working life is better than none. As soon as you get income (of any amount) save a portion of it. A general rule of thumb is that you should be saving a minimum of 10% of your monthly gross income.
Cash rates may be attractive in the short-term but you need to be invested more aggressively if you have any hopes of retiring comfortably. Your investments should always have a bias towards growth assets such as equities. This strategy has generated better returns historically and is expected to continue doing so in the future. Also, never put all your eggs in one basket – diversify your investments to maximise your returns in the long run.
Stay the course
Get invested and stay invested. This will serve you well in the long run. John C. Maxwell said it best when he said ’you will never change your life until you change what you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine’.