As with all stages in life, we experience change and growth. The way that we work with our money is different with each decade or each significant milestone. These changes impact our earning ability, budgeting behaviours and the way that we perceive and define value.

When we’re young, the value of a robust financial portfolio for our later years is less important as it feels so far off into the future. But with each passing decade, we become increasingly aware of how much we still want to achieve and how little time we may have left.

Many young doctors are too focused on their studies, student loans and opening personal practices to plan for retirement during their early career. We believe we can take care of it later in life when earning a bigger salary. But the expenses simply increase: technology improves and new medical procedures are developed, the latest machinery and robotic medical devices require further loans and professional insurance increases as we specialise.

But as the goalposts for life and retirement move and adapt with the milieu, professionals in their forties and fifties make the time to take positive action to reframe their financial perspectives and bolster their financial position. They begin to devise plans with clearly defined objectives for the next 15 to 30 years.

The fact is that we need to be asked, or ask ourselves tough questions that are both practical and personal: How much income do you need per month? How often will you want to upgrade your practice? What are your specialist goals and aspirations?

Exploring these questions helps establish an accurate framework to finance your goals and lifestyle choices. You need to be comfortable and knowledgeable about your financial future. You should know exactly how much money you can safely draw to enjoy your retirement without eroding your capital base.

Rule of Thumb:

If you retire at 60, and you draw a maximum of 4% of your capital each year to meet your living expenses, your capital will almost certainly last through your retirement.

Why 4%?

Because no historical case exists in which a 4% annual withdrawal exhausted a retirement portfolio in less than 33 years.

To know how much you need to save by age 60, the following calculation will give you an indication:

  Annual Income Required at Retirement

————————————————–     =   Amount of Capital Required at Retirement


To retire on a pre-tax annual income R600 000 per annum, which is R50 000 per month:

divide R 600 000 by 0.004 and you will get a capital lump sum requirement of R 15 000 000 (in todays’ terms) at age 60.

Each new decade in life is a powerful opportunity to re-focus your sights on the pursuit of happiness.

Don’t wait, secure your financial future this decade.