Retirement Savings: How much is enough?

It is generally believed that retirement savings of about 75% of your final salary will allow you to retire comfortably. This estimate accounts for the adjustments people make as they get older, like increased medical costs and lower housing costs. But is this enough to live comfortably during retirement?

The benchmark often used for retirement savings is 15%, which has been derived from the government’s previous maximum tax break. Many investors think that placing 15% of their salaries into retirement funds each month results in a comfortable retirement income.

15% may actually not be enough.

On the 1st of March 2016 the South African government set a new maximum tax break. This provides a better benchmark than the previous 15%. However, some investors may still feel tentative as to how much of their salary should be invested per month.

Column one in Table 1 shows the percentage of your current salary that you will need to invest at different ages, when starting your retirement savings for the first time. This data assumes you will be comfortable living off 75% of your final salary when you retire. The data shows that, even at 25 years old, investing 15% of your taxable income will not be enough to guarantee a comfortable and sustainable retirement. The much safer option is to invest a minimum of 17%.


You may have started your retirement savings early and based your investment contributions on the 15% benchmark. In that case Column two, in Table 1, shows you the percentage by which you will need to increase your investment contribution by, in order to catch up. Your personal needs, however, remain the most important aspect when it comes to planning for your retirement.

Account for your personal circumstances.

The data from Table 1 is based on averages. It assumes an annual inflationary adjusted salary increase. This method won’t work for you if your lifestyle improves at a rate greater than the general inflationary rate.  A spike in your salary might afford you major lifestyle improvements, but could ultimately set back your retirement plans. Try ramping up your savings contributions, instead of investing the same percentage of your new salary.

Some tips to maximize your retirement savings.

  1. Always prioritize your retirement savings when receiving additional income. Either split each income boost or alternate between improving your lifestyle and increasing your savings.
  2. Delay your retirement to allow your investment to grow. This means through contributions and return on your investments.
  3. Prioritize your needs during retirement by rethinking your lifestyle choices. Decrease your income needs during this phase of your life.
  4. Supplement your retirement investments by saving in a unit trust or tax-free investment account. This gives you easy access to your funds and more flexibility.
  5. Consult an independent financial advisor if you are uncertain about how much you should be saving.

Advantages of Working with an Equity Firm

coins-912718_1280There are many methods that a person can use to make money. Investing is one of the most popular methods. However, investing is not something that you should ever consider doing on your own unless you have a vast amount of knowledge regarding the various financial markets. Therefore, you will need to hire the services of someone who knows what they are doing when it comes to investing. This is where an equity firm can help you. Here are some of the biggest benefits that you can get from doing business with an equity firm.

1. They will manage all of your investments for you.

Deciding what to invest your money into is only one part of investing. Your investments must then be constantly monitored. You will most likely not have the time to do this. You also may not understand the various fluctuations in the market. However, a professional investment advisor who works for an equity firm is trained in all of the areas of investing. The advisor who is assigned to your account will monitor all of your investments and let you know about any significant gains or losses. You can also give instructions to the person who is overseeing your account. For example, you can tell the person to take your money out of all your investments if you lose a certain amount of money. This will eliminate the possibility of you losing all of the money you have invested.

2. You will be able to get knowledgeable advice about investments that could potentially make you a lot of money.

An equity firm will always be searching for great investment opportunities for you to take advantage of. You will give your account manager certain parameters regarding investments that you might be interested in. For example, you will tell them the maximum amount of money you would be interested in investing and the amount of risk that you are comfortable with. Your account manager will then go to work in an attempt to match the criteria you have given him with any investment opportunities that he can find. It would take a great deal of time for you to do this on your own. However, this type of investment advice is all part of being the client of an equity firm. Your account manager will contact you every time he or she finds an investment opportunity that might be to your liking. You will get a detailed explanation about the investment opportunity so you can make an educated decision about pursuing it or rejecting it. Brian Sheth of Vista Equity Partners is a master at matching people with investments that are good for them. This skill makes people want to work with Sheth.

3. An equity firm will be able to get you involved with investments in their early stages when there is the most money to be made.

Investors such as venture capitalists are always looking for various investment opportunities that will allow them to get in on the ground floor. This basically means that they will be one of the first investors. Therefore, they stand to make the most money if the business venture becomes a success. An equity firm can look for opportunities similar to this that will enable you to make a large profit.

Prime Pay and Benefits: Great Jobs You Can Get Without Dealing With a Ton of College Debt

Student Loan RefinanceEveryone knows that to get a well-paying job, you have to go to college—right? But we also know that college is really expensive!

Perhaps you don’t like the idea of being tens of thousands of dollars in debt even before you get your first job. Maybe you just want to keep your eye open to other options.

Whatever your situation, whatever your age, the good news is that you don’t always need a college degree to get a fantastic job.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are a few of the best jobs you can get without ever going to college.

Computer Software Engineer

For many jobs in this area, you don’t need a bachelor’s degree at all. Even if you want to make $100,000 a year, all you might need is a two-year associate degree.

Sometimes all you might actually need to get into this career is a good certificate from a training school. An online training institute like Simplilearn could provide you with exactly what you are looking for, including certifications in Tableau Desktop expertise.

This can get your foot in the door, and you can go from there. Then you can continue to train and get more certifications to develop your career further.

Web Developer

A web developer is one of the best opportunities available for anyone who is good with coding. Many web developers don’t have a degree, and it’s not always necessary. There are a lot of positions for good coders, and your skills are more important than your degree.

Again, this is an option for getting a certification, or you could get started with an associate degree. You can also get training on-the-job, and the potential is there to earn in the region of $60,000 a year.

Internet Marketer

Internet marketing is another area where you don’t need any degree to get started—and there is a lot of demand for skilled marketers right now.

If you can get good results, you can get a good position, and there is also the opportunity for good career progression. You could even start your own digital agency.

A degree doesn’t hurt, but it is far from required. You can learn skills as you develop your career, and there is huge earning potential if you are good at what you do.

Subway Operator

Yes, even a subway operator has very good earning potential. You might be able to earn over $60,000 by operating subways or trains, and again all you need is a high-school diploma to get started. And there is good on-the-job training available in this career, making it a potentially great option.

Funeral Director

You can earn in the region of $70,000 as a funeral director. This is an interesting career choice for the right person, and you could even open your own business after you have the necessary experience. An associate degree is all that is needed.

Real-Estate Broker

There is potential to make big money as a real-estate broker if you’re good at selling. It can be a tough job, and stressful, but it can also be the perfect career option.

You will be dealing with tense negotiations, and it can get very busy, but the potential is there to make a lot of money. And all you will need to get started is a high-school diploma.

Electrical Engineering Technician

This is another tech job that you do not need a degree for, and only an associate degree is required, or even a good certification. You can also earn up to about $60,000 a year.

Registered Nurse

A nurse could also be a good career option and it has good earning potential. You could earn over $60,000 once you have the experience, but of course this is a job where you have to love what you do, and it is a demanding job that is not suitable for everyone. An associate degree is all that’s required.

Claims Adjuster

This is a good option for anyone who is interested in this area, and you will be involved in reviewing settled claims and making sure settlements are made according to the correct procedures. You can earn up to about $60,000 a year, and a high-school diploma is all that is needed. Good on-the-job training may also be available.

Computer System Analyst

If you know how to keep computer systems operating smoothly, this could be a great job. A degree is always useful but it is not required, and you could earn $80,000 a year. You may need to do some training to get started.

Find the Ideal High-Paying Job with No Degree

These are just some of the many high-paying jobs that you can find without the need to take a four-year degree. So never assume that you cannot get a good job without a degree because you may only need a high-school diploma or a training certification to start your ideal job—and make a good living.

Look into the above options, and find out what other jobs are available that can allow you to earn good money without spending years at college and racking up a lot of debt.

Eve Howarth is a careers consultant who works primarily with young people helping them decide on a career path that’s right for them. You can read her articles around the web at education and career blogs.

Funding Options for Low Income Students

backpack-1149461_640Low income students who want to do better and aim higher strive to go to college. But because their income is limited, they often find it impossible to get the education that they need to advance their careers. Thankfully, there are a few reliable funding options specifically geared towards low income students. Look into the following options so that you can get the financial help that you need to attend school and succeed.

First, Consider Going to School Online

First off, if you are a low income student, consider looking into the many online schools that are available and that offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees. There are also brick and mortar schools, such as the University of Arizona, that offer online degrees. For example, rather than attending classes in person to get your master of public health, you can get your masters in public health online, and you may find that doing so will help you save money. After all, you will not need to commute to school, pay for parking, or pay for other costs directly related to using the supplies that are provided to students on campus.

Look into Student Loans

One of the most popular ways to get the funding that you need to go school is by applying for and receiving student loans. Just beware that the interest rates that are associated with these loans are very high, and the amount that you owe will quickly escalate as a result. Therefore, if you are going to take out student loans, you should do your best to pay them off sooner rather than later. You can, for example, seek part-time employment while you are in school, enroll in work-study programs, or you could focus on setting yourself on a path towards full-time employment upon graduation by doing an internship before you graduate.

Apply for Grants and Scholarships

The great thing about grants is the fact that you do not need to pay them back like you have to pay back student loans. In order to receive grants from the government, you will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form each school year. However, other organizations also provide grants to low income students and other students who are in need financially, so do your research online and fill out as many applications as you can in order to increase the odds that you will be awarded these grants.

In addition to applying for grants, also seek out scholarships that you can apply to in order to get financial aid to go to college. Like grants, you will not need to pay back scholarships, but you will need to do your research and be diligent when it comes to applying. Also, some scholarships may only be valid for a single school year, so you will need to find new ones and apply again next year.

These are just a few of the primary funding options that you can look into if you are a low income student seeking a college education.