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GTC Press Release

Pressure on finances caused by COVID-19 lockdown – how can your pension fund help you?

3 June 2020 The financial consequences of the South African lockdown – caused by the Covid-19 infection which is currently sweeping the globe – are being immediately felt. Loss of earnings and the consequences on debt obligations are serious concerns which individuals are having to cope with right now. South Africa’s Pension Funds Act already caters for unforeseeable events such as the nationwide lockdown currently underway, to assist employers or individuals who may be experiencing financial difficulty because of lack of income. Bruce Knight, Senior Consultant at wealth and financial advisory firm GTC, says that as individuals and companies need to cut costs wherever possible including pension fund contributions, all mechanisms to accommodate both employers and employees’ urgent needs will need to be reviewed to prevent defaults on contractual payments. “The Pension Funds Act caters for situations where employees are...
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Can I freeze my medical aid contributions because of financial strain during COVID-19 lockdown?

5 April 2020 GTC Healthcare gives members guidance on medical aid payment options during “COVID times” South Africans are under significant financial strain following recent occurrences, particularly regarding the extreme measures implemented by President Cyril Ramaphosa in an attempt to curb the spread of the Coronavirus. South Africans’ budgets came under pressure following the President’s declaration of a National State of Disaster on 15 March and the subsequent implementation of a nationwide lockdown of all “non- essential services” for 21 days at midnight on Thursday 26 March. Investors’ budgetary pressures were further complicated when Moody’s announced their downgrade of South Africa to “junk status” late last week. With many people now having to accept that they will probably have little or no income in their foreseeable future, individuals are looking to cut expenses wherever possible. One big expense on the...
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Don’t get out of the market when temperatures run high – GTC Investment Analytics

17 March 2020 Global markets are reeling from the largest declines in the prices of “risky” assets since the global financial crash of 2008. With trillions of rand in value being wiped off various listed equity valuations daily, pension funds and individual retail investors would naturally be worried about just how much money they could lose. “Historical evidence proves that remaining invested is the best course of action, and that panic-selling to avoid losses actually destroys value,” says Clive Eggers, head of Investment Analytics at leading financial and advisory business GTC. The cause of the current market fallout is fear and uncertainty about the spread of Coronavirus (Covid- 19) and its effects on productivity and sales of companies globally as lockdowns take hold. An additional factor at play is the sudden, sharp drop in the price of oil as Russia,...
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Are you covered if you test positive (or negative) for the Coronavirus?

13 March 2020 While people who contract COVID-19 (Coronavirus) who are under the age of 80 and do not have any pre-existing conditions – such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, hypertension or cancer – are most likely to experience only flu-like symptoms, those who are over 80 years’ of age or individuals with pre-existing conditions are certainly at a much greater risk. To prepare yourself – and your family – for possible infection of the virus, Jill Larkan, Head of Healthcare Consulting at leading wealth and financial advisory business, GTC, says that there are a few important first steps to follow: STEP 1 – “Should you experience a combination of the following symptoms, it is important to record these and also to note when these symptoms first began: fever, sore throat, dry cough or breathing difficulties,” says Larkan....
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Making changes to your investment portfolio because of pre-election jitters could be costly.

The upcoming elections, combined with poor market performance of the past five years, have prompted several investors to reconsider their investment portfolio construction and opt for more conservative positions. However, straying from a long-term investment view due to current uncertainty in the market, could potentially be one of the most detrimental actions to take. “While it is entirely understandable that investors become nervous at this stage, given the state of the stock market and the often unsettling news headlines in the run-up to the South African national elections which are scheduled to take place on 8 May, we do not believe that investors are likely to gain much by changing course in the middle of a poor returns cycle,” says Clive Eggers, Head of Investment Analytics at GTC. Eggers points out that markets have suffered longer periods of poorer performance...
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Funding your retirement property – how prepared are you?

Whilst in the midst of raising a family, everyday life and its accompanying financial challenges distract us from contemplating our future when we need to seriously think about scaling down our lifestyle as we approach retirement. We seldom give enough thought to the ‘golden years’ and, in particular, considering the purchase of that retirement property, which in most cases could be difficult to secure. GTC cautions that acquiring a property – for pensioners – requires careful and timeous planning to prepare for, and sustain, a consistent retirement income. “In our interaction with retirees or people about to enter retirement, we find that many savers have given insufficient thought to the purchase costs and ongoing running expenses of a retirement property, and subsequently they have not done enough to transition their financial planning from a monthly salary into a sustainable and...
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What new employees do not know about their first pay slip

Every first-time employee has aspirations and visions as to how they will spend their first month’s salary. Young employees are, however, often disappointed by the actual Rand amount which reaches their bank account – even after they believed they had negotiated a competitive remuneration package. “The majority of first-time employees are entirely focused on mastering the responsibilities of their new job and look forward to welcoming the receipt of their first salary into their bank accounts.However, many find themselves ill prepared when they realise that the total amount they are actually taking home differs substantially from the amount they assumed they would be getting,” says André Lindeque, consultant at leading wealth and financial advisory firm GTC. He attributes this to a lack of knowledge about their remuneration structures, regardless of the education or skills level of the new employee. “While...
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Focus on managing business risks including insurance policies in a holistic manner

One of the major risks that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are especially vulnerable to, is the negative impact of events such as service delivery protests, strikes by public transport workers or incidents calling for the shutdown of cities, which present risks that insurance policies do not cover Roy Wright, Head: Risk Solutions at GTC says: “Businesses can safeguard their operations better by changing their approach to risk management and engaging in an integrated process developed around their business needs, as opposed to merely relying on insurance policies for protection against perils.” He warns that traditionally, business owners tend to think of risk management as taking out insurance, but there are substantial risks to the sustainability of business operations – often unique to South Africa – that cannot be covered by insurance policies. “Rather than ignoring these threats, which are...
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Separate Wills should be planned together

It is National Wills Week next week so now is the time to ensure your estate planning is in order. There is a growing trend of married or partnered couples to draft separate wills, as opposed to a joint will. Whilst this enshrines each party’s individual wishes, it may result in unintentional errors creeping into wills, leading to outcomes that the deceased had not intended. According to Jeremy Woods, Senior Consultant GTC Fiduciary Services, one of the main reasons for these errors is the entrenched assumptions that influence much of our thinking about wills and estates, together with a lack of sufficient provision within the will for outcomes which differ from these naïve suppositions. “The assumption that the younger spouse – often the woman – will die after the older one still forms the basis of many separate wills. Whilst...
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Soon-to-be-wed couples should pay equal attention to both wedding contracts and the big day!

The near arrival of Spring – and wedding season – are likely to fill soon-to-be wed couples with excitement about their impending nuptials, and while it is undoubtedly good to plan the details of the celebration, it is also important for partners to pay equal attention to the details of their marriage contracts. Jeremy Woods, Senior Consultant Fiduciary Services, at leading financial advisory firm GTC, urges individuals to carefully consider their needs and to review their contracts before signing. “This has many consequences for your life together, and these may even continue after death has parted you,” he says.“It is entirely natural for couples to focus on making their wedding day as special as possible. However, it also is a reality that the majority of couples focus far too little attention on the less romantic aspects of determining an appropriate...
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