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Retirement report shows a greater focus on goal setting

60% of respondents say they set retirement goals, up from 40% in 2018

The latest results from an ongoing tracking study by retirement income specialist Just SA show that, compared to five years ago, a substantially higher number of respondents to the study are saying that it is important to set retirement goals. In 2018 only 40% of respondents said they set goals for retirement, while this year the figure was 60%.

“We are very pleased to see this increase, and believe it shows that the efforts being made by the retirement industry to educate the public are starting to have an impact.  says Bjorn Ladewig, Head of Business Development and Marketing at Just SA. “However, it does mean that 40% of respondents don’t set goals, which is still too high. Setting goals is a fundamental tool in retirement planning as it helps you understand what income you’ll need in and whether or not your current financial actions support this.”

First conducted in 2015, the aim of the tracking study is to understand the needs of the South African retirement market. This year, there were 395 respondents made up of pre-retirees and retirees from 50 to 85 years of age.

Three prominent retirement themes emerged this year: self-confidence, retirement confidence and contextual confidence. 


This theme is about how respondents view their preparation skills and abilities when it comes to retirement planning.  “When people feel they don’t know how to go about something, they often ignore it, which can have very unfortunate consequences,” Ladewig says. So, while most people claim to do retirement calculations, this year’s study found a significant jump in respondents who admitted they don’t know how to plan for retirement: up to 54% from 28% in 2022.  

“While concerning, this is also a healthier outcome in a way as an unwarranted sense of certainty can lead to poor decision-making or an overestimation of your financial resources.” 

These findings highlight the importance of obtaining expert financial advice; however, only 30% of respondents say that they do.

Retirement confidence

While you might have confidence in your investments and your financial situation, how confident are you that you have enough money to last throughout your retirement?  Have you saved enough to cover your monthly expenses if you live to 100?  

“This confidence indicator is quite a bit higher this year compared to previous years, which could indicate that people have recovered somewhat from the adverse economic effects of the COVID years, and now have plans in place to ensure they have a sustainable retirement income,” says Ladewig.


“Retirement confidence is not just for the financially savvy: it is essential, no matter the size of your savings or the complexity of your financial situation. It is crucial for peace of mind during retirement.”

A point worth noting is that a high percentage of respondents said they planned to use some of their retirement savings to pay off debt.  “Given the fact that most haven’t saved enough to generate a sustainable income for life, having to use savings to pay off debt is disquieting.”

Contextual confidence

How do circumstances dictate confidence levels?  The study found that the economic and political environment weighs on retirees.

It also found that respondents tended to project their current sense of good health into the future, particularly mental health, and that only three in ten respondents have thought extensively about planning for cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s or Dementia. “Retirees should also be careful not to underestimate their lifespan, and have a financial plan that spans at least 30 years in retirement.

“Having a dependable income for life is a crucial retirement goal. Knowing how much income you’ll need for the duration of your retirement far in advance will enable you to take more informed steps now to ensure you get there” Ladewig concludes.

While traditionally retirees  have only had two main choices for generating their retirement income – a life annuity or a living annuity – there are now blended annuities that offer the benefits of both.  


To view the full results, visit retirementinsights.co.za


Note from Just SA:

A special thank you to 50plus members who completed our survey! The results help us better understand the South African retirement market and your retirement needs.