Retirement should be an adventure – but what happens if you end up retiring on a limited budget? You wouldn’t be alone – according to National Treasury, only 6% of South Africans can afford to retire comfortably at the age of 65. Roenica Tyson, Investment Product Manager at Glacier by Sanlam, offers some tips if you are retiring on a shoestring.  

Retirement should be a time for new adventures – spending time with loved ones, finding new hobbies and working through your travel bucket list. For investors planning to retire in 2020, or those being forced into an earlier retirement, the picture may have changed, with investors seeing declines in the value of their retirement capital following the recent market correction. 

So, what can you do if you are currently retired?

1. Don’t lock in the losses

While recent losses and continued volatility and uncertainty may tempt you into abandoning growth assets, cash may not be king. When transferring your retirement assets into a living annuity, stick with your investment strategy. And when transferring from a retirement annuity or preservation fund, the process is often seamless, which ensures you stay invested and don’t miss the recovery.

2. Limit the amount of income taken from your living annuity

Large drawdowns (the amount of income taken) early in your retirement can further hurt your already depressed retirement capital. Limiting drawdowns and cutting back on non-essential spending can help to maximise capital to participate in recovering markets.

3. Invest your 1/3rd wisely

If you access the one-third of your retirement fund that you may take as a lump sum at retirement, ensure that this is invested prudently. You may need this capital to supplement your retirement income or cover increasing medical expenses later in retirement.

Also keep in mind that any further growth on this capital is taxable, so ensure you optimise tax on this portion of your capital. Speak to your financial planner to ensure this investment amount has been allocated in a tax-efficient way.

4. Financial planning continues in retirement

Allocating your retirement capital, or a portion thereof, to a living annuity does allow some flexibility into retirement. It is important to engage with your financial planner to design and manage a dynamic retirement plan for you. These experts will know how to best position your portfolio for recovery, or when it may be a good time for you to consider converting to a life annuity, where you secure a guaranteed income for life.

In addition, Glacier by Sanlam offers post-retirement products that may help you navigate retirement even during tough times; speak to your financial planner to discuss these options as you continue to optimise your retirement savings. 

5. Stay close to the experts

Conversations with your financial planner are now more important than ever. There are many considerations and decisions to make – not all of them financial.  A qualified financial planner can look at your particular situation, taking into account your goals and wishes, and advise you accordingly. 

Tyson concludes that if you find yourself facing retirement on a limited budget, now is the time to learn how best to manage the money you have.

“Retirement is wonderful if you have two essentials – much to live on and much to live for.” – Author Unknown.