Category Retirement
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2020 Trends that could reshape your retirement plans

12 March 2020 10X

Today’s retirees - known as baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 - are living their post-work years completely differently to previous generations of pensioners.

As they are mapping out their retirement plans, most of them are taking a number of trends into consideration, caused by external drivers and various economic factors, these are currently reshaping the South African retirement landscape.

1. Working for longer

It is a misconception that people can’t wait to throw in the employment towel as soon as they turn 65. Many professionals have no desire to quit working after they have hit that milestone. Many opt to stay in the workforce - starting businesses so they can continue to engage with other people or partake in passion projects.

About three-quarters of US respondents in a 2014 Merrill Lynch study, for instance, found nearly half of retirees plan to work during their retirement on part-time or freelance basis, which could mean taking a consulting or teaching job, or a short-term job such as driving a rideshare or pet sitting.

“The idea of retirement is flawed — it’s unhealthy for someone to work their whole life and then suddenly stop,’’ says Jake Northrup, a financial adviser at Experience Your Wealth in Bristol, R.I.

It’s not very different on local shores. “We are seeing residents starting home-based freelance and consulting businesses to supplement their pensions and keep busy,” says Arthur Case, brand ambassador for Evergreen Lifestyle Retirement. “Just because you don’t have to work any longer, doesn’t mean you have to stop putting your skills and expertise to good use.”

2. The question of affordability

In South Africa, the above trend is also fuelled by the fact that very few working-age professionals are financially in the position to retire. The 2019 10X Retirement Reality Report has revealed that 67% of economically active South Africans do not have retirement plans or understand them.

All in all, 77% of respondents felt they needed to continue working after 65 to make ends meet.

The 2018 edition of the 10X report showed that in 2018, only 7% of those surveyed had a solid plan they understood and 62% either didn’t save for retirement or didn’t know much about their plans. Alarming stats.

3. Independent lifestyle

When it comes to where to live Boomers are looking for a high level of independence and convenience. They definitely shy away from traditional institutional retirement set-ups such as nursing and old age homes opting rather to remain in their free-standing homes or move into lifestyle retirement villages or multi-generational estates.

“The lifestyle retirement villages are being offered within existing residential estates, but with access to resort style facilities and communal spaces,” says Garry Reed, managing director of Evergreen Lifestyle Villages. “This helps them feel young, active, and part of society.”

4. Technology

Contrary to popular belief, today’s retirees are tech-savvy individuals who are using smartphones, tablets, computers, and electronic gadgets like everyone else. In line with this, the internet plays a crucial role in their lives to connect with friends and family, shop online instead of going to shopping malls, deal with their finances and run their freelance businesses.

“The demand for smart homes in retirement villages or multi-generational estates is growing rapidly. Having a fibre optic backbone and high-speed internet access is no longer a nice to have. It has become a necessity,” Case says.

5. Safety and security

Safety and security will also continue to shape how and where people will want to retire. According to Statistics SA’s 2018/2019 Victims of Crime report, 1.3 million homes were broken into (no physical contact) last year. The problem is most likely much bigger, as fewer than half of break-ins (48%) were reported in that year.

In addition, there have been 260 000 house robberies, crimes which involve physical contact.

“With mature people feeling more vulnerable as they age, many are opting to live in gated developments as opposed to their family home. Such estates offer the best of both worlds: independent living, an active lifestyle, and peace of mind. At the end of the day, this is what your retirement chapter should be all about,” concludes Reed.

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