Retirement Questions and Answers

Below is a list of commonly asked questions and answers relating to Retirment, pension funds, provident funds and retirement investing in general.

If you do not find an answer to your question, please contact us and ask the question.

My pension fund has been losing money the past few weeks, what must I do?

Markets move up and down on a minute by minute basis. Your retirment investments are long term investments and the best course to take is to stay invested and if possible increase your exposure as the markets move lower.

Read this article on long term investing

Updated: 30 April 2020

Below is a chart showing the JSE all share index and it’s movement over the past year.¬† The initial shock of what the corona virus could do to World economies saw a precipitous fall and then a rational return to some form of normailty. Stay invested for the long term.

By increasing your exposure, your average cost of your units will reduce and when the markets move higher again, you will be getting a better overall return.

Long term investments are more than 5 years.If you look at the returns of funds over 5, 10, 15 years and more, you will see a constant upward movement.

Can I take a loan against my pension fund or provident fund?

This is a very commonly asked question that does not have a short answer. Please see the article on taking a loan against your pension fund.

What are unclaimed benefits and how can I find out if I have any?

Unclaimed benefits are benefits not paid to a member when they leave a fund for one of the following reasons.

  1. All documents required were not submitted or there were errors on the documents.
  2. The members tax affairs are not in order and the fund administratorsd are unable to get a Tax directive from SARS.
  3. Incorrect banking details or bank details that are outdated.
  4. The administrators do not have sufficient beneficiary details in order to track down beneficiaries.

To find out of you have any unclaimed benefits owing to you from funds that you or your deceased spouse/parent contributed to, please read the following.

Unclaimed benefits >>

How much can I invest Tax free?

The South African Governement allows you to Invest up to R33 000/annum tax free or R500 000 in your lifetime. See the Tax Free investing website for more information.

How long does it take for a pension fund to pay out?

This is another very common questions which can be both very quick and can also be helod up due to documents missing or other administrative issues. There are often delays when dealing with deceased estates. Please reach out to the fund administrators directly.

Always have the following information when making a query.

  1. Policy number/reference
  2. ID document
  3. Proof of residence (FICA docs)
  4. Full name and surname (If deceased)
  5. Death certificate 
  6. ID stamped “deceased”

These are the essential documents when making a query for a personal or deceased estate. There are likely to be additional document requests but this will get your query started.

SARS has requested an IRP5, where can I get it?

Your fund administrators would likely have sent the IRP5 to the email address/postal address they have on record.

If you did not receive it on time, please search for your fund using the search box at the top of this page and request your IRP5 from the administrators directly.

How much can I invest offshore as a South African?

Read the full article on offshore investments.

  1. As a South African, you have a single annual discretionary allowance of R1 million where no certificate or tax clearance from SARS is required.
  2. South Africans have a further R10 million investment allowance to invest offshore with a tax clearance certificate.
How does a pension fund work?

A pension fund is a fund that both an emplyee and employer contribute to.

A pension fund is intended to grow throughout your working life in order to provide you enough money to retire on.

The amount that is invested is determined by the employee’s salary and the length of service.

When you reach retirement age, a pension fund will provide a monthly income.

The amount of the income provided during retirement depends on the amount saved during your working life and the appreciation of the fund.

Not all employees offer a pension fund benefit. In these cases, you are responsible for your own retirement savings plan.

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