In the face of rising living costs and high levels of household debt, the notion of retiring comfortably seems beyond reach for many South Africans. However, retirement income specialist Just maintains that soon-to-be retirees can facilitate a smoother transition towards a sustainable lifestyle in retirement by rethinking their essential spending.
Essential expenses are the cost of physical survival, covering the basic costs of living; accommodation, food and clothing, utilities, medical, transport and insurance. Latest figures from Statistics SA reveal that a household’s essential spending makes up between 65 and 75% of total monthly budget across all socio-economic categories, with only nominal fluctuations between income levels.
The first step is to take an inventory of all your current essential expenses and then account for inflation each year leading up to retirement. The next step is to calculate how much capital you’ll need at retirement to secure a level of income to cover your essential expenses for life (allowing for current tax rates). The table below provides some guidelines: 
To ensure retirees are able to fund their basic living costs in retirement, Just encourages over-50s to change their spending habits now and rethink retirement, by identifying saving opportunities by asking the following question: is this spending sustainable?
Here are some tips to get started.
When thinking about retirement, many people dream about spending the lump sum they’re allowed to take from their retirement savings tax free. Given the above figures, it’s clear that funding even a modest retirement income requires substantial savings. Therefore, instead of planning to spend your lump sum, think about re-investing it.