Perceptions about retirement can inform whether black South Africans save or not

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Every person who is younger than retirement age is encouraged to plan and consistently save for retirement. However, few individuals actively plan for their retirement. This results in most South Africans becoming poorer during their retirement years. South Africans struggle with saving for retirement for a combination of reasons, some of which include high levels of debt and low levels of disposable income.

Other than assessing the extent to which people save for retirement, their attitudes towards retirement must be considered when creating a retirement plan. This is because one’s attitude to retirement may either encourage or dissuade one from planning for it.

Little research has been conducted about how individuals in South Africa – particularly black people – perceive retirement. Previous research has found that individuals who have saved for retirement are more likely to actively engage in retirement planning and ultimately retire comfortably financially. So it is possible to suggest that, if one has a positive attitude towards retirement, retirement savings will occur.

I sought to find out how black South Africans view retirement.

In my study, I interviewed 145 individuals living in the Eastern Cape province who hadn’t yet retired.

Most of the respondents had a positive attitude towards retirement and looked forward to retiring. Many had also considered retiring early because of a lack of interest in their work, stress at work, poor health, or a combination of these factors.

The respondents agreed that having adequate financial preparations remains critical in achieving financial independence at retirement. The research found that where financial preparations have been made, individuals are more likely to have a positive attitude towards retirement. Where a positive retirement attitude is present, planning for retirement is likely to occur.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
PublisherThe Conversation Paperpress
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2019


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