Caty Naude Time is Money Why Starting Early Matters in Retirement Planning 3Apr2024

Time is Money, Why Starting Early Matters in Retirement Planning


By Caty Naude (CFP®)


The Power of Early Investing in Financial Planning

Envision a young professional stepping into their career at the age of 20. For many, the thought of retirement seems like a distant concern, to be addressed in the future. However, this journey into financial planning emphasises the critical role of starting retirement savings from an early age, highlighting the substantial benefits of proactive financial strategies. Choosing a retirement annuity (RA) with moderately aggressive funds serves as the investment strategy, not just for the growth potential but also for the considerable tax benefits available in South Africa on contributions made to retirement funds. For our calculations, we use a retirement age of 65, with an effective annual cost in the investment of 2.6% which covers platform, management, and advisory fees, and a 6% annual increase in contributions to match inflation.


The Compounding Effect of Starting Now

Assuming a starting salary of R22,000 per month, a monthly contribution of R3,300 at the age of 20 lays a solid foundation for future security. Nevertheless, few people start contributing so early on. We will consider how varying start times—30, 40, or even 50 years old—affects the required contributions to achieve the same retirement savings as the 20-year-old who started with a monthly contribution of R3,300.

Starting at 30: Requires a monthly contribution of R5,257, a 59.28% increase over starting at 20 years of age.

Starting at 40: The contribution escalates to R9,031 per month, 173.65% above the initial rate.

Starting at 50: To reach the same goal, the starting contribution increases even further to R18,290 monthly, a 454.25% increase from the start at age 20.

These figures starkly illustrate the downside of deferring savings and the great advantage of compound interest over time. This is when the money you earn from your investments starts to generate its own earnings – growth on growth. Over time, this process greatly increases the value of your initial savings, turning it into a substantial amount for retirement.

The Time to Act is Now

Although different investment options and funds can lead to different results, one key principle stands out: starting to save early is essential for building up your retirement savings. The success of planning for retirement often doesn't hinge on the complex details of the investments themselves, but more on when you start saving.

For anyone looking to ensure their financial well-being in the future, the advice is straightforward: the best time to start saving for retirement is right now. Delaying this can be costly, as it means you'll need to put away more money later and you'll miss out on the growth your savings could have earned through compound interest.

In conclusion, it is evident that there is a strong argument for immediate action when it comes to saving for retirement, and from this article, there is one profound truth: when it comes to saving for retirement, time is indeed more valuable than money.


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