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Lutho X | 50, Business Travel Consultant
Lutho’s* story of financial disaster having devastated his retirement planning will unfortunately be familiar to quite a few South Africans; he hopes sharing it might serve as a lesson for some.
Falling down is part of life: getting up is living
The 50-year-old travel expert and his wife are working very hard at getting their finances back on track after they were thrown totally off course when their business fell victim to a multimillion rand fraud.
They lost pretty much everything. “We lost our house, cars, etc. We placed ourselves under debt review and had to put a hold on all of our investments.”
Fast forward a bit and Lutho, who lives in Cape Town, has been in his current job for a few years and is saving into a corporate retirement fund. But he and his wife have yet to recover fully from the fraud.
It was through the company retirement fund that Lutho heard of 10X Investments. He quickly realised that he could get better value for the savings he had in a personal retirement annuity that he had put on hold when financial disaster hit. Even if he is not yet able to restart his personal retirement savings programme he knew that he needed to take care of what he had already saved. He transferred the funds he had in his paid-up Old Mutual policy to 10X.
He says the move across to 10X was easy. “There are no anxieties – Jason, the 10X retirement expert, made the process quick and easy.” As for the wider industry, he says, “that is a totally different ball game”.
“I find that the very big companies don’t look after the ‘little guys’. Once a sales person has signed you on, you become a number, and nobody really follows up with information, updates etc. “You have to call big call centres,” he adds, “and the feeling I get is that nobody really cares.”
Lutho, who is 50, says he is not surprised to hear that only 6% of South Africans are on course for a dignified retirement. He says it scares him that he is not in this small group.
“I would love to put extra into retirement, but it is not possible until I sort final outstanding amounts due to the bank.”
He says he has been paying down debt for more than 10 years and had expected to be out of debt by now. “But you know the banks and how they operate – you are constantly blind-sided.”
Lutho’s experience with the larger financial institutions has left much to be desired. In addition to his Old Mutual policy, he says, he has a small policy with Sanlam, “again a large concern … you are lost as a client … I have had zero feedback from them”.
Still, Lutho is better off than millions of other South Africans because he is aware of his situation and is doing what he can to improve it. It is important to remember that it is never too late to improve your retirement. Small changes – such as how much you save, how you are invested and, especially, how much you pay away in fees – can make a big difference to the outcome.
Lutho is very concerned about the lack of education around retirement planning in our society. “This is critical and should be started at high school level. People must understand the seriousness of not planning properly for retirement.”
*Lutho has asked that we don’t use his surname or show his face for reasons of privacy.