The survey involved over 1,900 individuals in South Africa, ranging in age from 25 to 65 years.
According to the debt review firm, the research reveals a landscape of worry and obstacles related to retirement planning.
The challenge of saving for retirement is partly a consequence of the elevated cost of living, unemployment, and individual debt burdens.
CEO Neil Roets of Debt Rescue emphasized that numerous South Africans find it challenging to cover their daily expenses, let alone allocate funds for retirement savings.
“The reality is that many South Africans are simply not able to put money away right now because of the relentless cost-of-living increases they have had to absorb over the past few years and are relying on credit just to make it through the month,” he stated.
Also, “The roadblocks to saving for retirement are led by the high cost of living, followed by unemployment or unstable income and high personal or household debt.”
In 2023, the top priorities for respondents are income security (63%), followed by cutting expenses (58%), and paying off debt (52%).
In contrast, only 33% of those surveyed consider securing their investments a priority, while 34% prioritize creating an emergency savings fund.
Another concerning revelation from the Debt Rescue Survey is that a significant 59% of participants admitted to being entirely unprepared for retirement, lacking both savings and a retirement plan.
Only 4% felt they were fully geared up for retirement, despite almost half (47%) of South Africans listing a comfortable retirement as their primary savings goal, according to the Old Mutual survey.
This implies that a majority of South African adults may face the necessity of retiring later than expected, the possibility of being unable to retire altogether or having to depend on their families for financial support during their retirement years.
“Of course, we understand that South Africans struggle to meet daily costs, never mind setting aside money for retirement savings. My advice is to consult a financial adviser who can guide you on how to make a smart investment, no matter how small, that can help you make your money grow,” he said.
According to Roets, a sound financial management plan is another way to gain greater control over your finances and cultivating a habit of saving for the future, even starting off with just a few rands a month, can set you on the road to a comfortable retirement.