South Africans' take-home pay declines - report | Fin24
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South Africans' take-home pay declines - report

Apr 05 2018 21:00

Cape Town - Monthly take-home pay reflected a slight decline for February, while private pensions continued to outperform, according to BankservAfrica’s latest monthly data.
“Take-home pay increased marginally by 0.5% in real terms on a year-on-year basis compared to the monthly 1.1% registered for January,” according to Shergeran Naidoo, head: stakeholder engagements at BankservAfrica.   
Take-home pay averaged at R14 502 in February 2018.  
For economist Mike Schüssler, it is evident that the salaries adjusted for inflation resulted in "bracket creep" into higher personal income tax brackets. Therefore, while employees’ earnings seemed to improve with salary increases, in real terms the movement into higher tax brackets resulted in a more muted growth in take-home pay.  
Private pensions improve
Average private pensions showed greater growth compared to the rate of increase of take-home pay, growing by 11.5% in February 2018 compared to February 2017. This represents the fastest nominal growth since November 2013, according to Naidoo.  
In nominal terms, the average private pension was R7 029 in February 2018.
After taking inflation into account the private pensions increase stood at 6.8%. This is the highest year-on-year increase BankservAfrica has on record in real terms.
“Considering that the actual inflation rate was only 4% in February, this means that average pensions grew at more than two-and-a-half times the rate of inflation,” said Schüssler.
The typical pension also increased rapidly by 6% in real terms on a year-on-year basis in February 2018.
“One must remember that despite the rapid growth of pensions over the past year as recorded by BankservAfrica, pension growth represents almost half the level of take-home pay. The average pension paid is now 48.9% of the average take-home salary,” explained Schüssler.
However, this still represents a significant growth when compared to January 2013 where the average pension was 43.3% of the average take-home pay.
“Growth in pensions has outpaced wages for some time. This has been a strong trend over the last five years and is in part due to the good pension fund performance and pensioners taking a higher percentage of their retirement income to beat inflation,” said Schüssler.
Despite this growth, pensioner incomes are not on par with salaried employees. They are potentially less likely to have retirement annuities as well as home and school fee expenses.

Furthermore, they are also likely to have less disposable money to spend on monthly groceries and related goods than salary-earners. With rising unemployment, particularly among the youth, many pensioners are having to provide for younger people in their families.
“With the typical private pensioner receiving R4 870 per month, there are probably many private pensioners who can supplement their pensions with old age grants," said Schüssler.

"If it were not for private pensions, the government would have had to find a further R8bn a year to fund senior citizens of 60 years and older and with no other means of financial income.”

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