Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

HELP - I need Retirement Savings Advice

Hi lovely people on the interwebz...

I know some of you out there are pretty clued up and on the ball in terms of retirement planning and the various options. So can any of you please help me? 

I am 39 now and have no, as in na-da, formal retirement savings at all. It's suddenly dawned on me that THIS IS A PROBLEM!

I neither want to be a burden on, nor expect or rely on my children to have to look after me, and nor do I want to work till I die. Well I don't want to HAVE to anyway. If I do I want it to be out of choice not necessity.

So while I have spent the last few years, since my divorce, getting on top of my sizable bond, paying school fees, getting Quinn's ears (and all the associated ops) and eyes sorted, and basically muddling through life as a single parent (with no maintenance or any other support) - including some job changes and retrenchments etc along the way - it now feels like I REALLY need to start focusing on some formal retirement focused savings.

The trouble I have no idea where to start, or who to trust. My instict tells me any financial advisor will advise me on whatever earns THEM the best commission and I am pretty inherently distrustful of the financial service industry as a whole.

I know I am already 'about R2M behind the curve' in terms of what I should have saved and invested already. But I can't panic about that, or be paralysed by it. I have to just start now and see how I go.

I have worked out/decided that I need a Retirement Annuity/Unit Trust investment and my main options seem to be:
- Old Mutual
- Alan Gray
- Coronation
- Investec Asset Management

So how do I assess the various options and decide which is best - in terms of fees and performance/ROI?
And once I have chosen the company, how do I decide which actual funds to invest in? Noting that I am willing to go med-high risk now since I have a bit of time before I need to secure the investments and feel a need to be a little aggressive (and not too conservative) about it for now.

While my very brief 'calculator'  exercise indicated I should be saving about R8k per month, there's no way I can manage that!

I also need a vehicle that allows me to top up as and when I can, and gives me the ability to pause payment in the event I am in between jobs, or sick or something for a month or 3 at any time.

Can anyone help me figure this out..? Or point me in the right direction as a starting point..?


  1. It is actually against the law to give any advice if you are not a registered financial advisor. Your best bet would a broker. Yes, you get those who will invest for their own benefit but the are monitored now, so mostly they do what is best for you (or you could sue them)

  2. Thanks Mel. I understand that, but similar to with medical advice I am asking for opinions so that I can make my own informed decision afterwards. I know others have more training, qualifications and experience with this than I do, and just want to tap into that to see if my thoughts and conclusions are heading in the right direction. The internet is a great way to get a range of advice and to be able to assess and filter that to make a better informed decision afterwards. I retain responsibility and accountability for what I decide. Explicitly. :)