A new report on retirement readiness among South Africans found that significantly more women than men just don’t have a plan for retirement, which suggests that the gender inequality gap will continue to extend into retirement…

10X Investments’ first annual Retirement Reality Report*(RRR), released on 30 September, found that women need more for retirement (since they live longer than men on average), but that they in fact have less saved.

The report noted that women in South Africa earn around a quarter less than their male counterparts, “a disparity that is exacerbated by the increased likelihood that their careers will be interrupted during pregnancy and child-rearing”.

No plan to bridge the retirement gap

A surprising statistic revealed by the report, is that a large proportion of women don’t have a plan in place to bridge the retirement gap. The RRR found that 43% of female respondents didn’t have any form of retirement plan, compared with 39% of men.

“Failing to plan is tantamount to planning to fail,” says Sohini Castille, Head of Employees Benefits Consulting at 10X Investments, who urges women to take charge of their future.

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She says: “Women who assume ‘My man is my plan’ risk a nasty shock. Even for the happily married, it is important to have an understanding of your finances. We should have to plan for the worst (divorce and death), even if we hope for the best (a long and happy marriage).

Women who assume ‘My man is my plan’ risk a nasty shock.

Retirement planning isn’t complex

“Don’t believe anyone who tells you that retirement planning is too complex for you. It is not,” adds Castille, who explains that modern technology, such as online calculators that work out all the numbers to help you understand where you are, where you need to be and how to bridge the gap.

“This brings retirement planning within anyone’s grasp,” says Castille.

To be confident in managing their finances and so to enable them to narrow the gap with men, Castille adds, women need only to understand the basics.

10X Investments has a simple formula for retirement savings success: Save 15% of your salary from day one until you retire (i.e. a working life of around 40 years). Invest your savings in a well-diversified high equity fund and keep fees low.

“Investing is simple,” Castille says. “Your money grows by the gap between returns (what you earn) and fees (what you pay) so, simply put, you need to maximise growth and minimise fees.”

She adds that, “Money grows through wealth creation and, since companies create wealth through profits, it makes sense that you want to own shares in companies”.

So how do you decide which companies to own?

“You don’t!” says Castille. “Use an index tracking fund to own a little bit of all of them.”

She adds: “Fees are charged for services provided so the easiest way to reduce them is to avoid buying things you don’t need, such as a platform, an investment consultant, or an expensive fund manager.

“How do you do those two things? Invest in a low-cost index tracking fund.”


*10X commissioned Brand Atlas to expand its annual survey of the South African population to gather the data to create the report. Brand Atlas samples the universe of 11,9 million economically active South Africans as determined by Statistics SA (namely those with a monthly income in excess of R7 600) through online completion surveys.