"We live in a marketing age where we buy brands and not the products we consume. Blind brand loyalty is all well and good when it comes to shopping for shoes or sweatpants," said Khwezi Jackson, Investment Consultant at 10X Investments, but it is a contributing factor to South Africa’s retirement savings crisis.
We assume that if something has the Nike, Adidas or Reebok logo on it, it must be a high-quality product. These brands have earned their status in consumers’ hearts and minds. These days, we don’t question the prices we pay for the big brands and we wear them with pride – not because we know they are products of a certain quality, but because our friends are wearing them and they are well known.
The sad reality is that many South Africans are shopping for financial services products with this same mentality. People assume that because a provider’s name appears on television advertisements and billboards around the country they must offer excellent products. Similarly, savers tend to think that if a company has been in the market for ages it is a rock-solid place to invest their hard-earned cash.
I often speak to clients who are hesitant about investing with 10X, not because of the fees are high or the track record is poor, but because the brand hasn't been around for 100 years. Investors are happy to pay the industry average of 3 percent of the value of their total savings in fees every year (when they could be paying less than 1%) because they are sold on a brand. So strong is the belief in big brands that many people never even take the time to scrutinize the product they are buying.
South Africans find themselves in a retirement crisis, where only 6 percent can expect to retire comfortably. For many years most have blindly trusted advisors and the companies that pay them. The time has come to change how we choose retirement annuities. It doesn't matter if a company has been around for many years, or that they have the biggest buildings in South Africa, or even that all your friends invest with them. The time has come to do what's right for you!
Ask questions, kick the tyres, crunch the numbers on the product you are investing in. Find out what you are paying in fees. If it is more than 1 percent you really should consider switching to a provider that has your best interest at heart and puts more cash back into your retirement pocket.
You can't buy trust, trust is earned. I believe it is because of the trust we have blindly placed in the big brands of this industry that we find ourselves in a retirement crisis.
Khwezi Jackson is an Investment Consultant at 10X Investments