Why saving for retirement is a necessity not a luxury

It was the polymath and American founding father Benjamin Franklin who observed in a letter, written in French to a friend, that “nothing is certain except death and taxes”. An endlessly quotable quote it may be, but it was really a throwaway line in a letter on the implementation of the US constitution.

Of course it’s not untrue, but there are other things about which you can be reasonably certain, so certain in fact that it makes good sense to plan for them.

For example if you have children, they will likely need to attend school and even university. It’s worth planning for that. Equally, there is a reasonably good chance that if you are a salaried employee, or perhaps run your own business, there will come a time that you will want to retire, and that if you plan for this properly, it is possible to have a fulfilling and comfortable retirement.

Retirement planning is often considered to be a luxury for a selected few, and even a grudge purchase among those who have to contribute to a retirement fund via their group benefits with their employers, but it’s probably worth just considering what the alternatives to retirement planning actually are.

And it’s not a particularly pleasant scenario. If you haven’t saved enough for retirement through one of the various savings vehicles such as a retirement annuity, a retirement fund or through unit trust – you’re likely to find yourself short of money at a time in your life when you are no longer able to earn it. This could possibly force you to turn to your family for help – often your children, when they themselves are busy trying to put their own children through school and university.

Additionally, elderly people often require more medical attention, and it can be devastatingly costly if you’re not covered by a medical aid or if you have not made provision for sufficient post-retirement income. It’s either that, or you will be forced to turn to the state for medical care, a scenario that is well worth avoiding.

Given the fairly severe downside of not savings enough for retirement, it’s arguably time for South Africans to look at such monthly costs as being as critical as bond, rent or car repayments.

Financial services providers such as Momentum are able to help people with varying levels of income and expectations after retirement, as well as with other post-retirement realities such as medical aid cover. It’s never too late or too early to start thinking about what happens when you stop work, especially when the consequences down the road can have such wide implications not just for you, but for those around you too.

Momentum FundsAtWork developed a new solution that addresses the urgent need for affordable employee benefits packages for employers, even if their employees are low income earners. FundsAtWork Core allows employers to craft a solution that would best suit the specific needs of their employees – from retirement, to funeral and insurance benefits. Over and above the retirement and insurance benefits it offers, the features also include no high fees, an answer to poor financial literacy, the ability to build on the benefits once a solid foundation is in place and free access to health expertise and rewards.