Will you celebrate financial independence on your 70th birthday?

Chitra Grace Marion
31 Aug 6 minutes

India became a free country on the 15th of August 1947, at midnight from centuries of British rule. But even on the occasion of India’s 70th independence, how independent are we? In the true sense of the word, do you think you are socially independent? Let alone mentally or even psychologically independence, we are not even digitally independent?

On occasion of India’s 70th independence, let me quickly ask you a question. How close are you to your financial independence? Do you think that when you would be 70 years old, would you be able to celebrate your Financial Independence? Financial Independence is when you can enjoy your life without having to worry about the source of income and without compromising your dreams, goals, aspirations.

An average adult worries lifelong about studies, career, life, finance, family etc. At least his retirement should be stress free. Not completely of course, since medical stress, family stress, emotional stress, etc. will always remain; the financial stress can be taken care of, if planned well in advance.

In fact, in The Future of Retirement Report published by HSBC, 47% of the working population, aged 25 years and above, has not even started to plan for retirement. Even if some of them have started Retirement Planning, there have been a lot of difficulties and thus retirement is still not a priority for Indians. Alarming, isn’t it?

Retirement is that phase of life when, like children, you become dependent on others. While, in childhood, you didn’t have the required training, in retirement you do. So other than attaining Financial Freedom, you need to invest in yourself and your health so that you can enjoy the golden phase of your life.

The lack of retirement planning is also because of the lack of know-how. So, here are some tips which would help you to create a healthy retirement corpus:

  • Invest in life insurance

A term plan is considered important for income replacement when you are actively employed. What about retirement? Isn’t it essential then?

Though you don’t shoulder too many responsibilities in retirement, yet the responsibility of your spouse is still on your shoulders. To provide a corpus for your spouse you should invest in a term insurance or whole of life insurance plan. These plans would ensure that your spouse would be financially secured even in your absence.

Simple thumb rule calculation, Life Insurance coverage is 12 X Your Annual Income. So, if your Annual Income is 12 lakhs, then the minimum

Life Insurance Requirement = 12 X 12 Lakhs= Rs 1.44 CR

Another plan is a pension plan. Pension plans provide a regular source of income throughout your lifetime. These plans, thus, guarantee an income even after your retirement. Thus, you should also consider unit linked pension plans for good returns and lifetime incomes.

  • Don’t forget health insurance

Medical ailments multiply with age. With the rising trend of medical inflation, God forbid if you were to seek medical assistance without a health insurance plan! A health insurance plan pays for the medical costs incurred in case of medical contingencies and is, thus, essential. The plan should be a constant feature of your financial portfolio. You should choose a plan which gives lifelong renewability and has comprehensive coverage features. Moreover, the plan should be renewed without any fail. This would ensure that even in your old age you get sufficient coverage for your frequent health issues.

According to NSS(National Sample Survey) report, 80% of Indians are not covered under any health insurance plan. According to World Bank Data, more than 85% of the medical expenses in India are done out-of-pocket. So, the health insurance penetration in India is super low!

  • Have a contingency fund

Though life and health insurance plans are designed for handling contingencies, the contingencies they cover are specified. What if you face a crisis when neither plan helps? A contingency fund is, therefore, advised upon. You should hold at least 5-6 months’ expenses in your contingency fund for unannounced rainy days.

So, if your monthly expenses are about Rs 50,000, then your minimum Contingency Fund to be kept in a liquid asset with easy liquidity features should be= Rs 50000 X 6 = Rs 3 lakhs. You can have a maximum of 12 times for emergency purposes till Rs 6 lakhs as Plan B.

  • Real estate is important too

It is very important to have a house of your own. It helps mostly post retirement in multiple ways. Firstly it adds to the comfort factor where you can stay without having to pay rent. Secondly it can earn you a rental income, in case it is located elsewhere. That is why investing in real estate is also another rung in the ladder to financial independence. You should thus have a house in your name whether big or small.

  • Healthy investment in mutual funds

Last but not the least is creating a healthy retirement corpus through mutual funds. Mutual funds are a rage among investors. Do you know why? It is because of their variety of asset class, affordability and return generating potential. You can find various types of mutual funds based on their asset class. Choosing a SIP (Systematic Investment Plan) is not only affordable it also gives you the benefit of rupee-cost averaging. When it comes to returns, you cannot question the potential. Investing in SIPs is one of the best ways to create a substantial corpus which is in tune with economic inflation.

The annual returns from your mutual fund retirement portfolio should ideally provide you enough yield to meet monthly expenses and the portfolio also grows simultaneously. Thus, the mutual fund portfolio would be able to help you meet your post-retirement luxuries as well as suffice for inflation. So, by 60 if you are able to build a corpus close to 20 times your last drawn annual income, the power of compounding does the rest. So by 70, your Financial Freedom would be guaranteed!

Say your last drawn CTC at Age 60 is 20 lakhs p.a., then a corpus of Rs 4CR would take care of your Financial Freedom. In 10 years, with 15% year-on-year return and no fresh investment, the corpus would tantamount to Rs 15CR with Rs 1.5 lakhs of systematic withdrawal post retirement every month to meet monthly expenses. So, this is super simple and worth your while!

Thus, Financial Freedom = Healthy Mutual Fund Portfolio + Life Insurance (Plan B) + Health Insurance (for medical expenses) + Real Estate for self +Contingency Money should help you create a sound financial corpus.

Planning for retirement should be undertaken at the earliest. That way you can contribute small, affordable amounts to your retirement corpus and build a substantial fund. Moreover, the power of compounding would work wonders on your corpus if you give your investments time. In this era, when nuclear families are the norm, don’t be dependent when you retire. Take the above-mentioned steps and celebrate your financial independence when you reach 70.

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