Retirement planning

Think your retirement is a long time away? Great, now is the best time to plan for it.

Retirement planning should ideally begin with your first pay cheque. Just as you need an emergency fund as a private insurance policy, you need a retirement fund independent of what your employers run.

In fact, over two or three decades, your private retirement fund could dwarf what your company offers.

Consider these when setting up your retirement fund:

  • Have two separate funds for your self and your spouse. Decide how much each of you can save comfortably every month for retirement. Choose a small amount that you can sustain over a long period than a higher number that leaves you uncomfortable mid-way.
  • Start with a small amount (even Rs 1,000 per month) and increase it as your liquidity situation improves.
  • Invest regularly over a very long period; even 10 years is considered short-term for retirement-related investments.

Remember, this fund is exclusively for your retirement period. Do not use it before, unless there’s a crisis where your existing insurance or emergency funds prove insufficient. With proper financial planning, you may never need to dip into it.

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The best avenues for retirement investment in India are:

  • The Public Provident Fund – gives tax-free returns of 8% per annum, compounded annually.
  • Equity Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS) of mutual funds – gives approximately 14% CAGR returns over 10 years or so.

As non-resident Indians cannot invest in the PPF, systematic investment into diversified equity funds are recommended.  Nothing else yields better returns over the long run.

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Often, investors who plan their finances well don’t dip into their retirement corpuses even after retirement. Income from these corpuses or other investments sees them through life comfortably.

The corpus is then left as inheritance for a successor.