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Invest in retirement savings products

The amount you invest in retirement savings products can be deducted from your taxable income. This can be up to 27.5% of your annual income, capped at R350 000 per tax year across different retirement savings products (including RAs, pension and provident funds). In addition, the investment returns on your RA contributions are free of dividends tax, income tax on interest and capital gains tax.

"If you have not reached the annual contribution limit you still have a chance to contribute more before the end of February. When you contribute to an RA, you defer some of your taxable income to the period after retirement where your income tax rate will likely be lower."

Boost your tax-free savings

South Africans are allowed to invest up to R33 000 per year in TFSAs (up to a maximum of R500 000 over your lifetime). You invest part of your after-tax income, but the dividends, capital gains and interest that accrue in your account while you are invested are not taxed.

"The funds in your TFSA are available to you at any time and you do not pay tax on withdrawals. However, if you do a withdrawal, you will not be able to reinvest it later in a TFSA without affecting your annual and lifetime limits. You may therefore miss out on the tax-free benefit on future investment returns," says …..

The choice of product

Wentzel says RAs and TFSAs fulfil different objectives and need to be regarded in that light.

"In most cases, RAs provide the best tax-effective vehicle for providing retirement savings. For long-term discretionary savings, it would make sense to invest the first R33 000 per annum in a TFSA."

Wentzel suggests that you contact an accredited financial planner to help you decide on the product best suited to your individual needs and circumstances.

Sanlam Life Insurance is a licensed financial service provider.
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