The Two-Pot Retirement System


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A significant change is coming to South African teachers' retirement landscape in September 2024 with the introduction of the Two-Pot System. This new system aims to offer more flexibility by dividing future contributions into two distinct "pots": a readily accessible savings pot for short-term needs and a retirement pot focused on building long-term income.

The two-pot system is meant to help fund members in times of financial difficulty by allowing access to the savings component before retirement. It is advisable that members use the savings component sparingly and only when there is a dire need.

While this increased control presents opportunities, it also raises concerns about potential drawbacks, leading to a complex discussion surrounding its overall impact on teachers' financial security.


The Two-Pot System for retirement savings in South Africa is designed to give you more control over your pension contributions. Here's a breakdown:

The Two Pots:

  • Savings Pot: This will hold one-third of your future contributions starting from the implementation date (likely September 2024). You'll have more access to this pot for emergencies or short-term needs.
  • Retirement Pot: This will hold the remaining two-thirds of your contributions and any existing retirement savings. This pot is primarily for building your retirement income.


Pros of the Two-Pot System for South African Teachers (Starting Sept 2024)

  • Increased Access to Funds: Teachers will have a "savings pot" containing one-third of their future contributions. This allows them to tap into retirement savings for emergencies or unexpected expenses.
  • Potentially Mitigate Financial Stress: This access to savings could help teachers avoid high-interest debt or financial hardship in tough times.
  • Improved Retirement Planning Flexibility: Teachers can choose how much to allocate between saving for retirement income and short-term needs.

Cons of the Two-Pot System for South African Teachers

  • Risk of Reduced Retirement Income: If teachers access the savings pot too frequently, they may accumulate less for retirement, leading to a lower income after they stop working.
  • Debt Burden Not Addressed: The Two-Pot System doesn't directly address the causes of teacher debt, so they may still rely on the savings pot instead of long-term solutions.
  • Financial Literacy Needed: Teachers will need financial literacy to make informed decisions about how much to save and how to invest their savings pot effectively.


  • Savings Pot: Withdrawals from the savings pot will be taxed as income. The exact tax rate will depend on your total taxable income in that year.
  • Retirement Pot: Withdrawals from the retirement pot at retirement will likely be taxed similarly to how pensions are taxed currently. This typically involves a partial tax-free lump sum and then income tax on the remaining amount withdrawn each year.

Additional Considerations

  • Transitional Impact: Some teachers close to retirement may have concerns about the impact of the system on their existing savings.
  • Long-Term Effects: The long-term effectiveness of the Two-Pot System for teacher retirement security remains to be seen.


Overall, the Two-Pot System offers South African teachers more flexibility in managing their retirement savings, but comes with the risk of compromising their long-term financial security. Therefore, before dipping into the Two-Pot System's savings pot, teachers should carefully assess needs vs. long-term goals. Seek financial advice from an accredited financial advisor to understand the tax implications and ensure withdrawals won't significantly impact their future retirement income. Consider alternative solutions for short-term needs to preserve their retirement savings.


More Information: The Two-Pot Retirement System