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Change your living annuity, not your drawdown rate

As part of its response to the COVID-19 crisis, National Treasury announced a change in living annuity drawdown restrictions where pensioners will be allowed to temporarily adjust their drawdown rate to as low as 0.5% or as high as 20%, even if it is not the anniversary date of the living annuity. But current market conditions present a unique opportunity to improve the sustainability of your retirement income. And this does not require you to reduce your drawdown rate. To take advantage of this opportunity, you may want to consider some choices. 

Life annuity sales soar amid lockdown losses

Amid the market instability brought on by COVID-19, retirement income specialist Just has reported record demand for life annuity solutions from South African pensioners looking to lock in an income for life. Sales for life annuities have doubled relative to 2019 since the COVID-19 market crash in mid-March 2020. CEO Deane Moore attributes this growth to attractive annuity rates and pensioners seeking to de-risk their retirement income in an unpredictable financial climate.


Lockdown learnings for retirement

A volatile financial climate has seen many South African pensioners in living annuities looking to increase their withdrawals to cover current cash shortages. However, retirement income specialist Just advises strongly against this, recommending instead that they find ways to trim their spending, or else they run the risk of their money drying up sooner.  


How to sustain your pre-crash retirement income

Life annuity rates have increased by 10-15% since the beginning of the year, which offsets the reduction in market values most people in or close to retirement have experienced in the recent market crash. In other words, you’re currently able to get a higher income from each Rand of your retirement capital if you invest it in a life annuity today than you were three months ago – in fact 10-15% higher. However, this window of opportunity won’t last forever.


Does your retirement solution withstand the volatility test?

Risk management in retirement is key to helping a pensioner sustain income for life – to cover their essential expenditure and to draw more in the early years when they are more active. The COVID-19 market crash is exposing some shortcomings of outdated risk management strategies that have relied purely on investment tools to tackle all risks in retirement. Many pensioners invested in old-style living annuities are seeing their drawdown rates rise and are consuming capital that won’t be there to benefit from any future market recovery.


Retirement in the time of COVID-19

The global pandemic has highlighted the increased risk of death the elderly face if they contract COVID-19. Fortunately, the majority who contract the virus will survive. However they will face another wholly unpalatable risk – the risk of not having a sustainable income for life in an environment where investment markets have crashed, and retirement savings have been significantly reduced.


Financially independent parents on the wish list this festive season

The gift of a financial legacy for loved ones has long been a priority for South African retirees when considering their retirement income options – the idea of leaving some financial support to their heirs after death. According to retirement income specialist Just, this is still the case. In their 2019 Retirement Insights study, 80% of pre-retirees and retirees have a desire to leave money for their children and grandchildren. However, the bleak reality is that many South African retirees simply have not saved enough to allow for a secure, regular income to last their full retirement years, let alone leave a legacy for children, says Just CEO Deane Moore.


Just Retirement Insights 2019

The third tracking study of a series, Just Retirement Insights 2019 aims to understand the South African retirement market and their retirement needs in a changing economic and political climate. “Our key concern rising from this latest study,” said Just CEO Deane Moore, “is the high proportion of people approaching retirement who have not saved enough, yet expect an unrealistically high level of income from their existing retirement pot.”


Women with breast cancer may qualify for a higher income in retirement

Breast cancer survivors may qualify for a higher income in retirement by declaring their full illness history when purchasing a guaranteed life annuity. The latest inhouse research by retirement income specialist Just shows that of Just’s medically underwritten cases, approximately 30% qualified for an uplift of at least 5%.


Consume more in retirement with confidence

In South Africa we grapple with the problem that people haven’t saved enough for retirement. Added to this is the fact that people are living longer, and market returns are unpredictable, so retirees need to be resilient in the face of uncertainty. With most retirees using living annuities to give them an income, many are worried their capital could run out too early. Is there a solution? In addition to saving more, consider using a retirement vehicle that manages both longevity and market performance risks.


Rethink retirement, spend sustainably

In the face of rising living costs and high levels of household debt, the notion of retiring comfortably seems beyond reach for many South Africans. However, Just maintains that soon-to-be retirees can facilitate a smoother transition towards a sustainable lifestyle in retirement by rethinking their essential spending.


Longevity protection in a living annuity

Retirement fund members will now be able to secure longevity protection within a living annuity. This comes after the Financial Services Conduct Authority (FSCA) announced an exemption from its criteria for living annuities in a default annuity strategy. The exemption expands customer choice and will help improve the financial outcomes of people in retirement.


Do you need more information?

Consider seeking advice from a qualified financial adviser. Contact us to request the details of an adviser in your area or to find out more about our offering.