What can I withdraw from each pot when I leave employment and the fund?

Key takeaways

  • If you resign or lose your job, you will still be able to withdraw from your employer-sponsored fund any savings you made before 1 September 2024 (your vested pot).

  • If you have not made a withdrawal in the tax year in which you lose your job, you will also be able to withdraw what is in your savings pot.

  • Currently you will not be able to withdraw the money you have saved in your retirement pot after 1 September 2024.

  • Legislation may be introduced in future to give people who are retrenched and have exhausted their savings pot access to their retirement pot, but currently they can only access to their vested savings.


The two-pot retirement system that comes into effect on 1 September 2024 will change the way in which you can access your retirement savings when you leave your job.

But remember you will keep all the rights you had to access savings made before this date.

This is what you will be able to access when you resign, are retrenched or dismissed from a job once the new system comes into effect:


  • Vested pot (savings before 1 September 2024)

You can take what is in your vested pot in cash if you need to do so. In the initial years of the new system, this will be the largest portion of your savings.

It will obviously be better to preserve as much of it as you can for your retirement, but if you are without work and need the money, you will still be able to access it.

On this lump sum you will pay tax in line with the current retirement fund withdrawal tax table. Only the first R27 500 is tax free.  Read more: Why is withdrawing from my retirement fund a bad idea?


  • Savings pot

You will also be able to withdraw the savings that are in your savings pot, as long as you have not already made a withdrawal in that tax year. The exception is if your savings pot is less than R2 000, as you will then be able to take it in cash even if you have already withdrawn during the tax year.

The amount you withdraw from your savings pot will be added to your taxable income and you will be taxed at your marginal tax rate.

  • Retirement pot

You won’t be able to withdraw what is in your retirement pot in cash. It can stay in your existing fund or be transferred (tax free) to another retirement fund – a preservation fund, a retirement annuity or the employer-sponsored fund of your new employer.


Can I ever access the two thirds of my fund that must be preserved?

Two thirds of the contributions you make to your retirement fund from September 1 2024 will be allocated to your retirement pot and must be kept (preserved) to buy a pension or annuity at retirement. You will not be able to withdraw this money even if you leave your job and leave the fund.

National Treasury has said it will in future consider granting those who are retrenched access to a portion of their savings in the retirement pot. This will be subject to conditions, such as the person still being without an income after having exhausted their savings pot, their severance pay and unemployment benefits. This proposal has not yet been written into legislation.

The only time you will not be required to buy a pension (annuity) with the savings in your retirement pot, is when you reach retirement and the sum of your retirement pot and what you need to annuitise in your vested pot (two-thirds) amounts to R165 000 or less. If that is the case, you will be able to take your whole retirement benefit in cash.