In the previous article we looked at the important financial considerations and goals of your early working, as well as your career and family building, life stages. In this article we will unpack the life stages after these previous two accumulation phases during which the focus shifts towards a comfortable retirement.

financial life stages and goals Understanding the different – Part 2

Pre-retirement years

During this life stage your focus should be on reducing debt. Your home mortgage should almost be paid off and any situation that requires you to take out another loan should be avoided. During this life stage your children will likely be less financially dependent on you, which means you will have additional money to save or repay debt. Any of this additional capital or cash should be used to top up retirement investments that allow for tax efficient savings. 

Some of the important goals during this life stage is: 

  • Review and adjust your medical aid plan. During this life stage you may also start to depend more on your medical aid as you are becoming closer to retirement. Your children will likely be removed from your medical aid as well.
  • Long-term and short-term insurance should remain a priority. 
  • Building your retirement savings is a very important goal during this life stage – not only is it an efficient way to save from a tax perspective, but it is also the last accumulation phase within which you can build up your retirement savings. Your financial discipline during this life stage in particular will determine how comfortably you can maintain your current lifestyle until retirement. 
  • Ensure that your will remains up to date and inline with your circumstances. 


During this phase of your life, big changes will take place from a financial standpoint and it is advised that you seek advice from a professional that understands the tax consequences and various product structures available. It will be important to have a realistic picture of your financial goals and needs, as it will form the base of your retirement planning. Although some people may still earn income during this life stage, such as rental income, interest income or contractual income, they will likely not earn a salary anymore and will pay for the bulk of their expenses by making use of their retirement and other savings. 

Some of the important goals during this life stage is: 

  • Sit down and draw -up a new budget that is realistic and accurate.
  • During this life stage your will should be up to date and you must have had a discussion with an expert on your estate planning. 
  • Life cover should be a lesson due to the fact that you should not have any debt and therefore life cover does not have to serve as collateral for it anymore. Life cover at this stage should be used to provide liquidity to your estate should you pass away.
  • Disability cover can be cancelled since you will earn income from your retirement product regardless of becoming disabled or not. 
  • Your medical aid should be reviewed and adjusted to include more cover provided you and your dependents may be at higher risk of being hospitalised or diagnosed with a serious illness at this age.
  • During your later retirement years, it can be beneficial to get rid of some of your assets by selling them, instead of making large withdrawals from your retirement accounts that might be subject to tax. 

It is important to understand that these life stages aren’t rules, but rather guidelines to help prioritise financial obligations to ensure your financial well-being. Living within your means and starting to save towards retirement as soon as possible will set a strong base for financial health. Also make it a priority to have a proper last will in place at all times and ensure that it is kept up to date throughout your life.  Personal finance is not exact, and it differs for every person given their circumstances, but educating oneself on financial matters and being honest with yourself about your situation can help you reach your financial goals.


Charne Olivier - Articles provider for My Wealth Investment

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