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Exploring the impact of heritage on retirement

Retirement is becoming an increasingly personalised journey. From the age you intend to retire, to the length of your anticipated retirement and the source of your income, in today’s modern society, there is no one-stop-shop retirement plan that caters to our unique circumstances. And while the findings of  Just Retirement Insights 2022 has shown that many people don’t plan for retirement simply because they don’t know how to, is there a chance that our heritage, or culture, can also impact our approach to financial planning?

In honour of Heritage Day, we asked some of our staff members at Just SA to share a little bit about their family traditions and beliefs when it comes to retirement. Their stories show that there are many cultural commonalities when it comes to retirement planning and implementation. Our staff contingent covers a wide range of backgrounds, races and ethnicities, and some admitted that this was the first time they had actually considered the longer-term implications of retirement for their parents, let alone themselves.

Do you or don’t you retire?

When asked about a specific target age for retirement, the vast majority agreed that age 65 is considered appropriate to retire but said that there is generally no set age among family members to do so. Another common thread was the number of parents or grandparents who have continued to work after their formal employment ended, some because they were reluctant to stop working all together, and others because they were financially compelled to continue.

Who looks after who?

Interestingly, while some people have an expectation to look after their parents financially in retirement – and are working and saving with this in mind – others shared that they are simply willing to do this, without feeling any pressure or expectation.

Celebrating a milestone

In terms of cultural retirement traditions, none could think of any set customs that are carried out on reaching retirement. Many admitted that there wasn’t a memorable transition into retirement, bar a few who threw a pensioner party to celebrate the milestone. This could be due to the fact that very few of their family members have actually retired, instead they have transitioned into doing something new.

Looking ahead

One employee said: “I want to be financially independent when I retire, I do not want to rely on my kids to support us and I also want to have financial freedom to enjoy my retirement,” while another added: “Unlike my parents and grandparents’ generations, I save far more than I consume and I hope to have more than enough to support myself, and my family once I retire.”

A positive message to stem from the stories staff shared was the recognition of the importance of having a sound retirement plan in place. As Just SA employees and advocates for a better later life, we are frequently reminded of the risks of running out of money in retirement. We also know that there are solutions - including those offered by Just SA - that can afford pensioners a secure and comfortable retirement. It could be that they, as children, take out a guaranteed life annuity on behalf of their parents, to ensure that they don’t have to worry about an income for them when they can no longer provide for themselves, and are thus looked after for their lifetime.  

Contact us to find out how you can secure an income for life for your family.

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