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The National Treasury’s draft retirement fund reforms are welcome, but will they do enough to lift savings in this country?
After all, it’s hard to save your way to financial security with a tower of odds stacked against you such as job insecurity and galloping inflation — not to mention the double taxation of private health care, schooling and security.
Still, as an article in this edition shows, South Africans do routinely rely on the money they’ve built up in their pension funds in times of need, and so making it less punitive to withdraw from your retirement savings is surely one way to limit financial distress.
Major players like Alexforbes say the change will actually encourage new members to accumulate more than double what they do now — though that isn’t a view shared by all its peers.
Still, it’s a welcome move from an all too rarely responsive government. Ultimately, however, what is necessary to tackle our savings dearth is a radically higher economic growth rate. That’s a different conversation altogether, but one SA’s policymakers have to get to grips with.
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.