You are here: Rediff Home » India » Business » Special » Features
Search: The Web
  Discuss this Article   |      Email this Article   |      Print this Article

5 retirement planning myths busted
N Sriram
Get Business updates:What's this?
January 04, 2007

Theories on retirement planning abound; but few can say for sure what really works. This uncertainty may be the reason why it is difficult to engage a person in his or her 20s or 30s in a discussion on retirement planning. A better idea would be to deal with what is definitely not true or not working.

Here are five myths about retirement planning busted for you.

Myth 1: Retirement planning needs to start when I turn 40.

Power of compounding may be a clich�d concept but it is true and relevant. The younger you are, the better are the prospects of building a large corpus for sunset years since you can reap the most out of the power of compounding.

Your money starts earning interest and the interest earned also starts earning interest, translating to a decent size nest egg.

For example, let's assume that you are 25, and save Rs 24,000 a year (Rs 2,000 a month) for 10 years, that is till you are 35.  After that age, you stop saving and just let the kitty grow. When you turn 60, at 8 per cent compounded return, your retirement corpus will be a cool Rs 30 lakh (Rs 3 million).

If, on the other hand, you are 35, and want to amass a Rs 30 lakh kitty when you turn 60, you will have to save Rs 48,000 a year (Rs 4,000 pm) for 15 years, at 8 per cent.

Inference: If you start saving at an older age, not only do you have to save much more every month, but also for much longer duration to collect a similar corpus.

Myth 2: Stress levels of urban life make retirement planning pointless. Who's going to live till then?

Advances in medical science are expected to go from 78 to 85 in the next decade. Drug innovations in the last two decades have been found to increase life expectancy by an average of 4.7 months. Chances are that there is going to be a cure for most major old age ailments.

But treatments as well as medicines are going to be expensive too, given the universal relaxation in drug price control. You are most likely to live much longer than expected, but you would also spend a fortune in healthcare. How do you plan to save for that?

Myth 3:  Inflation will not make a significant dent in my retirement kitty

Inflation erodes the purchasing power of a rupee. If you have bought something for Rs 100 today, it will cost Rs 105 in 2007, if the rate of inflation is at 5 per cent.

Should you be bothered? Yes. If you are 35 and your expenses are Rs 16,000 a month, and if the inflation is a steady 5 per cent, then, when you retire at 60, just to maintain your current standard of living, your expenses will be about Rs 56,000 a month. Do you need more evidence?

Myth 4: My lifestyle will remain the same. Technology is becoming cheaper. So I will spend less in retirement.

Televisions are cheaper than they were a decade ago. So are CD players, laptops, cars, telephone and mobile phone calls, etc. But this doesn't mean that you are spending less on them.

Would you be caught dead with a heavy black and white LCD mobile handset? Or driving a 10-years old car? The least you can have is a bluetooth-enabled mobile phone with a camera and a radio, right?

In a few years, there will not be any CRT monitors for computers; only LCD monitoRs MP4 players and flat television screens will be the norm. This constant and increasingly frequent upgradation will gobble up a lot of your funds.

Remember, this has nothing to do with inflation and hence you cannot even provide for this need. One option is to go for only such brands that have everlasting value. That means spending a lot more now but you would save on replacement costs in the future.

Myth 5: I have considerable skills. I will find work in retirement.

The changing world demands new skills. As we age, except for a few, most of us will have diminishing value at the workplace. People much younger will demonstrate more usefulness making our skills, and therefore us, redundant.

You can say that you will keep learning but and as you age, you will face serious limitations in learning new skills to compete with the more robust younger lot for work and money. You might find that your experience is no longer relevant in the new world.

India is not yet a social welfare state. The future for retirees doesn't look bright.

Now think of what you should do to survive a long retirement. You might find better solutions to try out.

Powered by

More Specials
 Email this Article      Print this Article
© 2007 India Limited. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer | Feedback