Retirement annuity vs living annuity – the key differences explained

In our Friday Finance webinar (see full webinar, below), BizNews editor Jackie Cameron spoke to independent financial advisor Dawn Ridler of Kerenga Wealth Ecology in Johannesburg and investment specialists Albert Coetzee and Marc Lindley of Ninety One Investment Platform.

The three guests explained the key differences between a retirement annuity (RA) and a living annuity (LA).

  • You can get a retirement annuity now but you can’t touch it. “The only time you can get your money out is on death before 55, or ill health,” explains Coetzee.
  • When you reach the age of 55, you have the option of moving to a living annuity.
  • A retirement annuity is a savings vehicle. Once you retire, the savings you’ve made into your RA can be converted to a LA. “I start to draw down on my savings and it provides me with an income on whatever basis I need, whether it be monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or even yearly,” Lindley says.
  • RA is governed by the Pension Funds Act and has certain restrictions. LA is governed by the Long Term Insurance Act which has different rules around asset exposure.
  • If you emigrate, you cannot take an LA with you, whereas with a RA, you can. “You can cash it in, pay the taxes, and take the money with when you emigrate,” Coetzee explains.
  • You need to think carefully about the tax implications of a LA, says Dawn Ridler.
  • If you emigrate, it’s advisable to get someone who is familiar with tax in both jurisdictions to assist you.

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