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A Daft Scots Lass

Wish I had a great story to tell, but unfortunately I don't.

Jenn

We have two investments outside our RA policies (a money market that we throw extra cash into, and shares in the top 40 that we purchase every month and forget about) and my husbands pension. The aim is to have the exact same earnings we have now (inflation increases included) from several different avenues when we retire, so that lifestyle isn't affected. Especially since we want to do a bit of travelling and open our own 'work from home' businesses. We will need capital for the businesses, and income while they get off the ground.

Planning for retirement isn't about planning for a 'holiday' it's about doing what you really want to do, and being able to do so. Your working life is there to support your dreams; provide the launchpad, so to speak. In today's world retirement is only the beginning! Looking at it as 'the end' is only going to make your years tight and uncomfortable.

Liberty Replies:

Well structured plan with careful consideration for what might happen in the future. It sounds like you have given the savings element of your retirement some thought but are all the risks mitigated? Risks relating to death, disability and illness. You mention some savings outside of a RA and also the intention to start your own business. The one benefit of a RA is that the savings are protected from creditors. When you embark on a new business venture there is always some risk of failure, should this happen your RA will protect all your savings from creditors that could make a claim on your other savings.
I’m not sure how you access the Top40 shares that you mention but if the amounts are relatively small it is generally not feasible to do this via an online share trading platform due to certain minimum fee requirements. Unit trusts and certain life insurance companies can offer a similar service at a reduced fee. Discuss this with your financial adviser as there are many options out there all with their own merits.
Finally, I recommend that you draw up a “retirement budget”. This budget should capture all of your expected expenses in retirement, allowing for specific inflation:
• Medical inflation
• Consumer price inflation (CPI)
• Transport inflation (you mention travelling)
• Accommodation inflation
• Comfort item inflation (DSTV, movies, holidays, etc)
• Any other type of price increase that is relevant to the lifestyle that you intend to have in retirement

Working off this budget, your financial adviser will be able to calculate the amount of savings required to reach the level of income required.

JaneF

Gosh, our story is rather long and personal... but after a really good investment start, where we were doing reasonably well, I had to start completely from scratch again and currently have NO annuities or retirement fund for myself, nor investments for my children at all (apart from life insurance tied to my rather hefty bond).

We were a 'married with 2 kids' dual-income professional couple doing pretty well. I was even considering quitting my day job to pursue my passion of pregnancy & birth to start a doula birthing business, when my entire life unraveled when I found out my husband was a psychologically disturbed serious drug addict.

By the time we were divorced I discovered he'd emptied his bank accounts, the children's bank accounts, all the policies we had and several hundred thousand rands out of our bond too.Our medical aid had lapsed and our phone was months in arrears etc.

Despite a fair maintenance agreement in our divorce papers, I never saw a cent from him after our divorce as he lost his job and then disappeared (after months of causing chaos and stealing things from our home and demanding more money from me). We have not seen or heard from him for close to 2 years now.

I ended up having to single-handedly pick up the pieces, manage the entire bond on my own as well as support the children and myself. (Including lots of therapy for them).

Today nearly 3 years down the line, and after facing a job redundancy last year. I have a new job, and am managing. I still have no investments, but we are coping on a month to month basis on our own. We are hoping to tackle the next step which is looking at ways to secure my retirement future (I don't ever want to be a burden for my boys who have been through FAR too much already) and investments to cover the tertiary education needs of my boys.

I love that I have been able to instill the value of money in my boys and that when they see their friends taking R100 to school for the tuck-shop they know that that R100 would be better saved for something meaningful and worthwhile. They would rather save to buy a bicycle or go camping, than get take-aways, or rent a movie.

It's been tough, but we're getting there! Together and happy and investing in each other! :)

Liberty Replies:

Stories like these emphasise how important financial planning really is. Insurance products have been developed to cope with most of the events above. A financial adviser will be able to talk you through the various options available to cover yourself from unforeseen events, these include:
• Death
• Disability
• Critical illness
• Retrenchment
• Maternity
Insurance companies also help you manage the certainties in life by giving you a platform to invest in. A range of professionally managed portfolios, including well known unit trusts, are available to invest in and the insurance company will take care of all the admin involved as well as paying any tax due. This simply means that when you withdraw money saved through a life insurance company you don’t have to pay any additional tax or make any declarations. I am really impressed with the savings culture that you instil in your kids. If they want to have a dedicated savings vehicle then a unit trust offers great value for money and it is also easy to track the growth of these investments online, making it very interactive and adds some instant gratification to the investment space. Liberty offers you this functionality on all our portfolios as well as unit trusts that we offer.

MB

I have had a RA since I was 21 years old. It has a 10% escalation on it and it is going strong. This year I am going to increase it a bit.

My husband just took out his RA and we also have pensions from our respective jobs to which we contribute to.

We are paying our bond off as fast as we can and God willing should be bond free within the next 5 years.

We have just discussed opening a unit trust with our broker so we can go to Europe in 3 years for our 10 year wedding anniversary.

SheBee

In 2003 I was 18 and all set and ready to hit the big wide world overseas. But I fell pregnant. And whilst travelling with a huge baby bump would've gotten me loads of attention, it would've been for all the wrong reasons and so I postponed my trip.

My daughter was born 7 months later, 2 months earlier than expected, with a severe lung disease and battling the ills of being prematurely born. She was in NICU for 4 months and eventually brought home on permanent oxygen treatment. A further 3 months later Kiera passed away. I was devastated beyond words.

It took me 3 years to finally wake up from my depression and realise that I was 21 years old and going absolutely NOWHERE in life. Overnight I made the decision to move across country and start over. With hugs, tears and loads of baggage I said goodbye to my loved ones and hopped on a plane to retreat to an inland farm reserve just outside Johannesburg. There I surrounded myself with animals and wildlife and spent my days in front of my computer blogging my heart out. Eventually someone approached me about writing a book. Fast forward a further 3 years down the line and I now head up a department at SA's largest digital agency supporting bloggers and writers all over the world.

My life has done a full 360, and I'm now ready to really knuckle down and start looking at things like investments and life insurance because up until this point I'd never been financially secure enough.

Pick me, I'd love to be a weena, wena!

Liberty Replies:
Best advice would be to see a financial adviser to help you plan for your future. Planning involves covering yourself against unfortunate events as well as saving for the events that you “know will happen”, i.e. buying your first house, buying a car, going on holiday and eventually retiring. You have firsthand experience of the unfortunate events that life can throw at you so the idea of purchasing risk cover should be easy to understand. The myriad of investment decisions out there can be daunting and this is where a financial adviser will add lots of value, especially to explain the pros and cons of each option. Before contacting a financial adviser make a list of things that you would like to save for and also when you ideally want these things. Your adviser will then help you structure a budget that enables you to realise these dreams. Our financial advisers understand that time is a scarce commodity so they are more than willing to contact you on your terms and when it suits you. Simply visit the following link to schedule such an appointment: http://www.libertyfinancials.co.za/lib/content/needfinancialadvice/leads/leads.asp

Denelle

We are so fortunate to have met one of Liberty Life's finacial advisors about 4 years ago. Prior to that we had made attemps at sound financial decisions but that had proven difficult without professional guidance.

We probably had contacted about 4 advisors before meeting Andrew Botha in 2007 and all them them would set up one appointment with us to discuss our investments, and there would never be a single follow up appointment made. The first time Andrew came to see us I commented that it was nice to meet him but that I am sure I'll never see him again. He laughed at me and assured me that it would not be the case and that he would see us at least annually, even if it killed him. I still replied that I would only believe it when I see it, and I have really seen it since.

He organised sufficient life insurance, set both my husband and I up with an RA and also recommended we invest in the Fundisa Fund, that would serve as savings for my daughter's tertiary education. When my husband resigned from his previous place of employment, Andrew invested the money from his provident fund in a preservation fund that has shown growth beyond what we could have imagined in these tough economic times.

We get annual visits from Andrew and regular correspondence via e-mail. I feel so secure knowing that we are saving for our future and my daughter's future and that we are constantly reviewing our investments to make sure that we are optimising our savings.

We work hard for our money, it is so wonderful to know that there is somebody making our money work for us also.

Liberty Replies:
It is very hard to fault any plan that involves proper financial planning with a registered financial adviser. It sounds like your risk cover (life insurance) is taken care of. Consider asking Johan about disability cover as well as critical illness protection. This is very important, especially in the world we live in today where doctors can work wonders but this comes at a very high price. The Fundisa Fund is an excellent choice and a great initiative from government to promote a savings culture. Ensure that your daughter’s education is taken care of even when you cannot contribute to this anymore – risk cover or an education policy is very useful in this instance.
Having the support of a financial adviser is very valuable so try to learn from the engagements with Johan in order to become more independent in your financial decision making. This will enable you to get to a point where you simply test ideas with your adviser rather than going through a structured and formal process.

Sandy

Retirement is a big financial focus for me, since I've seen firsthand from my parents how a lack of saving can affect the entire family later. My father is long past retirement age and has to keep on working since he does not have enough money to live off. My sisters and I help my parents with their medical and day-to-day living expenses.

My husband and I both save for our retirement through provident fund contributions at work, and we contribute to RA's monthly -mine is with Liberty:)

Liberty Replies:
Having dealt with parents who were victims of not having saved enough for retirement is a blessing in disguise since it primes you to be more open in having this conversation with a financial adviser. I’m very glad to see that you contribute to a RA in addition to other savings via bank accounts and online share trading (I assume you utilise a portal provided by one of the large retail banks). Please don’t forget the advantages inherent in a RA:
• You get a tax deduction on the contributions that you make. Assuming you pay tax at 30% and you contribute R100 per month, you will get R360 back from the taxman at the end of each year in which you contribute.
• Your savings are protected from creditors. No matter what happens, no creditor can make a claim on your savings in a RA. This is not the case with other savings.
A RA is also a structured investment plan with dedicated investment portfolios. This is often forgotten when people save via other avenues: If you have a savings plan in mind to invest in blue chip companies with some allocation to smaller companies (small caps) and a residual investment in investment grade corporate bonds; this is all very well provided that your partner or beneficiary is aware of the plan and how to execute this when you are not around. Imagine the scenario where you are not capable to make trades for an extended period of time (a year plus, say), this can be detrimental to the small cap portion of your portfolio since these shares are often volatile and require trading on a regular basis. Next, imagine if an unforeseen events renders you incapable to execute any trades for the rest of your life (disability) or the life of your beneficiaries (death). In these scenarios your supplementary savings will ultimately perform at a lower rate and because there is no mechanism to continue receiving contributions, the real value will also decrease over time.

Discussing your plans with your partner and financial adviser is paramount. A financial adviser will be able to assist with any transition arrangements, should there be a need for these in the future. Proper transition management (phasing out of your share portfolio into a collective investment such a unit trust) can save you many Rands in fees and unintended market movements.

I have taken a few share-investing courses, and at the beginning of this year started investing roughly 15% of my take-home income every month in companies that I have researched. I monitor the companies whose shares I own, and besides saving money this has become a new passion of mine.

We have also opened a bank account for my 2 year-old son, where we deposit any cash gifts he receives for birthdays, etc. So far we have invested his savings to buy 100 shares in a BEE transaction. I want him to learn the value of compound interest, starting early, and being responsible for your own future.

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I have had a RA since I was 21 years old. It has a 10% escalation on it and it is going strong. This year I am going to increase it a bit.

My husband just took out his RA and we also have pensions from our respective jobs to which we contribute to.

We are paying our bond off as fast as we can and God willing should be bond free within the next 5 years.

Liberty Replies:
Maintaining a good level of contributions to your RA is very important to keep up with inflation as well as your salary increases. We all know that inflation erodes our savings if these don’t perform in line with CPI and if we don’t escalate our contributions by at least CPI. Having said that, very few people realise that there is also another, more indirect, factor that erodes savings. This relates to your salary and accompanying salary increases. For example, contributing R100 per month to a RA when you are a student is quite a challenge and if your “salary” remains at the level of a student for life this R100 contribution could be enough to ensure a retirement in line with your lifestyle (pizza and beer in the case of a student). However, when you start working and you draw a salary your needs change in line with your salary increases. Later on you have additional responsibilities such as maintenance to your car and house and a more healthy lifestyle – possibly a gym membership and some healthy foods. This means that the R100 that was sufficient for the student lifestyle is no longer enough for your enhanced salary and lifestyle and you’ll have to adjust your contributions towards the RA accordingly. A 10% escalation should be sufficient to cover the general increases in CPI – these are targeted between 3 and 6%, so 10% leaves some room for error. Remember that there were years in the past when we had inflation in excess of 10% so it is best to relook at your entire retirement planning portfolio when you intend to increase your contributions. This needs to be looked at on an annual basis to ensure that the increases are actually sufficient to cover inflationary increases (at least) and then secondly your salary escalation.

Lastly, saving in your bond is very efficient and also “risk free”. This means that if you put R100 into your bond you are guaranteed that it will still be there 5 years from now. Weigh up your different options:
When you invest in a unit trust you need to earn a return of at least the interest rate on your bond plus all the unit trust fees in order to break even. If you are saving for a short period of time it may not be feasible to do this so it is best to discuss this with your financial adviser (broker). Unit trusts offer you easy access to professionally managed funds so they are definitely worthwhile to look at.


We have just discussed opening a unit trust with our broker so we can go to Europe in 3 years for our 10 year wedding anniversary.

Read more: http://www.tertia.org/reviews/2011/06/are-you-saving-for-retirement-or-your-childrens-future.html#ixzz1PbzDdYFD
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Candice

My husband and I are anal regarding saving and putting money away for the future, should anything.....god forbid, ever happen to us......leaving my daughter alone. We also want to live reasonable well when we retire, so almost half our income (I kid you not) goes on RA's, pension funds, life insurance and disability insurance. As I am not able to qualify for life insurance (a minor heart defect put pay to that)I put my little contributions into a unit trust account every month (I do not work.....so needless to say MY contribution is very small)......but it is there, non-the-less! We are so blessed to be able to afford all this cover, ensuring that our retirement is relatively financially secure and that our angel will be taken care of, should anything ever happen to us.

Liberty Replies:
It is unfortunate that you cannot get the cover you require. Have you spoken to a financial adviser re special life insurance that takes into account your condition? This sometimes come with exclusions or premium loadings but it is definitely worth considering. Saving 50% of your income is really great and very few people, worldwide, can say that. Ensure that the avenue of investment is efficient – there are a couple of ways to invest and you need to make sure that your current savings are optimised for tax, fees, diversification, liquidity (accessibility), etc. Make sure that your investments are accessible for big ticket items such as holidays and your daughter’s education. Remember that retirement as we know it (at 55) is something that humans implemented and there is nothing stopping you from working to age 70, say but simply working less, maybe half days. This means that you can save for longer because you continue to contribute while you work and you draw less since you earn an income. The net effect is that you end up with more and you need to live off this for a shorter period.

Pamela

As I used to change jobs quite regularly and prefered working for smaller companies I knew I could not rely on a regular company pension or provident fund. I took out a RA that I pay into each month with an annual inflation of 10% and I bought a rental property. This way by the time I retire I will have paid off the house and because the rental increases with inflation it will give me a supplementary income to my RA payouts.

Liberty Replies:
Having a RA in addition to company pensions is arguably one of the best ways to prepare for retirement. You can also transfer your company pension savings into the RA when you change employers – this is very important and it is called preservation. Few people do this and the consequence is mostly an underfunded retirement. Make sure that the 10% contribution increases are in line with the lifestyle that you have in order to secure a good retirement. Holding property is a good way to diversify your savings. However, don’t rely on this alone to generate a significant portion of your retirement income – the property market is also volatile and rental prices follow the movements in the property market (if house prices drop significantly then rent will also reduce, ceteris paribus). We’ve seen firsthand how fragile the property market is with house prices still dropping in the US (In March prices were at 2003 levels). If you were to rely on an income from a property that depreciates in value it would mean that your income is also going to decrease over time while prices of other items increase.
Consult with a financial adviser about diversifying your investments and how to best incorporate your property in your retirement plan.

Ince

Lilac,There are life insurance pociiles that are Guaranteed Issue. The insurance company does not ask any questions about your health. These pociiles are expensive but they do provide a benefit if you were to die thus enabling you to provide for your children.Take a hard look at your budget and your spending. Save Save Save then Save some more and thus you will accumulate a nice nest egg.You NEED to go talk to several professional insurance agent and lawyer about your situation. The insurance agent can work with you to provide the protection and the lawyer can provide the NECESSARY documents that will protect you, your children and your assets in the event that a disability or death occurs.Talk to as many professionals as you need to until you find one with whom you feel comfortable then tell him/her everything.Good Luck

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Reviews: Are you saving for retirement or your children’s future?

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