Even if you don’t have a huge amount of money on hand or a large savings account, you can still invest in various financial instruments in South Africa. Here are the best options to consider investing in to easily grow your money for future use.
Investing your funds on a bank is a great option for short, medium or long term investment. Here are some of the ways you can invest in banks:
- Bank savings account
Having a bank account is a must and you most likely have at least one under your name. But aside from the usual savings option, there are other investment choices available you can consider putting money in. If you don’t know how to open a bank account, here is a guide to walk through the bank account opening process.
- Call account
In this type of savings account, you let the bank invest your money in any financial instrument they deem profitable. You have the power to withdraw your money within 24 hours after requesting it. It’s like your money is on call and you can pull out your money when you need it.
- Fixed deposit
With a fixed deposit account, the bank will hold your money for a specific period ranging from a month to 5 years. Fixed deposit plans usually have a fixed interest rate, with longer terms having higher interest rates.
- Notice deposit
A notice deposit account lets you invest your money for an indefinite period until you send in a notice to withdraw. Your money won’t be instantly available though, and you must wait for 32 days for the bank to prepare it for withdrawal. This type of savings account usually provides the highest interest rate.
Different bank savings accounts have a minimum investment amount, but they’re generally lower compared to other investment instruments. They’re designed to encourage even low-income earners to save and grow their money. Additionally, these accounts are insured by the South African government, so they’re safe and almost risk-free for investors.
A bond is one of the most secure investment vehicles available today. An RSA Retail Savings Bond lets you invest in the South African government by lending them money for a certain period. The invested amount may earn fixed or inflation-linked interest rates depending on the available option.
Fixed Retail Savings Bonds are available in 2-year, 3-year, and 5-year terms. Different rates apply to each maturity option in the series.
Inflation-linked Retail Savings Bonds, on the other hand, have 3-year, 5-year, and 10-year maturity periods. Interest is adjusted over the term and is payable every 6 months.
The minimum amount you can invest is R1 000, while the maximum is R5 million. This makes it easy for those who don’t have much money to invest in a profitable and secure financial instrument.
3. Mutual Fund or Unit Trusts
A unit trust or mutual fund lets you buy units of a portfolio of investments managed by a professional fund manager. The price of each unit is determined by the underlying value of all assets divided by the number of unit trust holders. Since the number of holders and the share prices change each day, the value of the unit trust is computed daily.
The instant diversity of a unit provides less volatility compared to investing in a single stock in the market. Unit trusts offer attractive rates on monthly investment options, depending on the type of trusts and the kind of underlying assets held under them.
4. Tax-free Savings Account
A tax-free savings account (TFSA) is a non-retirement savings account designed to maximize tax benefits. In a TFSA, capital gains from interest and dividends are free of tax up to a certain amount. Savings qualified for tax exemption amounts to R30 000 per year, up to R500 000 for the lifetime of the account. The money on a TFSA can be invested in fixed-income products and equities.
Banks, including mutual and cooperative, offer TFSAs with varying performance fees and charges. An existing bank account cannot be converted into a TFSA, so you’ll have to create a new one for this scheme. Here is a list of top tax-free savings account available in South Africa that you can look for opening an account for investment.
5. Real-Estate Investment Trust (REIT)
A REIT is a company that finances, operates, or owns an income-generating property that can either be residential, commercial, or industrial in nature. Dividends earned from the investment are divided among investors in proportion to how much each one has contributed to the fund.
You don’t need to have a large amount of money to start investing in properties. With a REIT, you can put your money together with other investors and pool the funds to invest in real estate.
6. Retirement Annuity
A retirement annuity is a tax-efficient savings scheme designed to compound your money for retirement. You can put in up to 27.5% of your annual taxable income or R350 000 per year in a retirement annuity.
In exchange for maximizing tax deductions, you’ll only be able to access the fund after the age of 55. Upon retirement, you can withdraw one-third of your annuity as a lump-sum payment and have the remaining as a pension.
ALSO LEARN: Top 9 Ways to Boost Your Retirement Savings
A stokvel is a pool of funds where individuals regularly contribute an agreed amount. The pooled funds are then distributed equally among each member according to the scheduled payout cycle.
A stokvel is a financial support system designed for varying investment purposes:
- Savings stokvel
This is the most popular type of stokvel in South Africa because its main purpose is to save as much money for the group.
- Property stokvel
This focuses on property investments, making it more accessible for those who can’t afford a property and take advantage of its profitability. The pooled funds can be used to invest or purchase a residential, commercial, or industrial property.
- Funeral cover stokvel
This stokvel is designed to provide support to members of the fund including the purchase of the coffin, the transport of the body, and giving financial support to the family left behind.
- Investment stokvel
The funds are invested in business ventures and other financial instruments to grow the capital for members.
Stokvels are often offered informally by various groups, though these can sometimes be unreliable and unsecured. For a more trustworthy option, there are banks like Standard Bank, FNB, and Nedbank that offer stokvel accounts. For as little as R100, you can start a stokvel account and benefit from its profitability and insurance.
8. Guaranteed Investment
A guaranteed investment appeals to many citizens because it’s safe, effective, and affordable. If you have a low appetite for risk and prefer to grab small wins over huge gains, then you can’t go wrong in getting a guaranteed product.
In a guaranteed investment, your capital is guaranteed for the whole 5-year fixed term. No matter what happens to the market, you’ll safely recover your capital. Additionally, there’s a minimum percentage you’ll gain at the end of the term, so it’s basically a nothing-to-lose scheme for investors.
A robo-advisor is a digital platform programmed to provide financial planning services without human intervention. Using the data collected from a survey regarding your financial situation, capacity, and target, the automated system can recommend the best strategy to grow your money.
Robo-advisors provide more convenient account setup to customers, easier portfolio management, more robust financial planning, and better security features.
But the most attractive advantage of using robo-advisors is their lower fees compared to traditional advising services. On average, the professional fee of service advisers cost around 3% of the investment, while robo-advisors charge less than 1%.
Robo-advisors can cater to investments amounting to as low as R100 per month. This makes robo-advisors friendlier even if you don’t have much money on hand.
A robo-advisor can help beginners like you set up an account and build their portfolios through the algorithm-based recommendations on the platform. Phone calls and face-to-face meetings are unnecessary because everything can be done online.
Popular robo-advisors in South Africa include:
- Sygnia Roboadvisor
The platform allows you to invest in exchange-traded funds (ETFs), money market funds, and other cash savings options. After selecting your investment strategy, your portfolio will be handled by a team of professional fund managers to help reach your savings goals.
- Sanlam Smart Invest
This robo-advisor helps you set the right combination of investment based on your goals and contribution capacity. The system will ask for your financial targets and present you with recommendations on what to do with your portfolio.
The platform recommends you one of the five low-cost fund options created to cater to different investment needs. You can freely stop, start, or change your contributions to any of the plans as you see fit.
An online calculator will determine your financial goals and risk appetite to determine the kind of investment portfolio suited to your personality. You can invest in various funds, individual stocks, and ETFs through the platform.
- Absa Virtual Investor
The platform will take you through a series of questions to assess your investment profile. After that, you’ll arrive at a selected range of investment products offered by Absa.
Although the big players in the financial industry are incorporating robo-advisors in their investment options, people are still having trouble entrusting their money to a robot. To assure investors like you on the security of the platform, the robot will only help build your investment profile but a traditional fund manager will still handle your portfolio.
10. Stock Market
The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) offers a way to get you invested in established companies in the local market.
When buying a stock, think of it as investing your money in a business. Make sure that the company has good earnings, a huge future potential growth, and a sound business plan.
As a rule of thumb, avoid buying shares of a popular company with a stock price that’s already soaring high. They’ll most likely be overvalued and you might be buying at the peak of the hype.
Learning to invest in the stock market may not be as easy as other investment vehicles. However, the gains that can be achieved through this option outmatches other instruments offer.