What comes to mind when you think of your retirement?
In India, if you are part of a government organization or any services your retirement day is known to you from the day you join work. Hence it usually doesn’t come as a surprise. What comes to mind when you think of your retirement? Is it excitement, redundancy, loss of status, boredom, financial crisis, perhaps all of these?
1. When will you retire?
Most of us don’t have the freedom to decide when we retire because that is primarily decided at your workplace or if you are in a family business you need to decide when to hand over the baton. For a lot of seniors in India often total retirement is not an option. You continue to work because you need the money.
2. What will you do when you retire?
Retirement is meant to be more relaxed than your working life, but it isn’t meant to be sitting on the rocking chair and waiting for death. Today seniors want to follow their passion, travel, hobbies, reading, and writing.
The other aspect is that many Indian couples find it difficult to adjust with each other once the man of the house doesn’t go to work. Men are also at a lose end not knowing what to do with themselves and sitting at home day after day is a huge mental strain.
3. What is the income you will need and who will be a part of your life?
Most Indian seniors plan their finances much before their retirement. Given the fact that there is no social security in India and our children are our social security. That opens many issues that need to be negotiated in your mind before you speak about them.
Are any of your children going to help you with regular income? Would you be forced to live with them for various reasons? Do you get along well with them and are you happy living with them? Are you a willing grandparent or a forced nanny? These are some very difficult questions that you need to work out within yourself at least two years before your retirement date.
Housing is a huge problem in India and that leads to a financial strain for the family. There is no formula that fits all and these are issues that differ from person to person.
Many couples who have a spare bedroom take in a paying guest to supplement their income and also have a little company. Today Airbnb also is an option but a paying guest is preferred because of regular income. This is a lot easier than downsizing and moving to another city.
4. Where will you live?
It will be a great help if you own the home where you live in. For couples who have lived on their own, it becomes very difficult to live with their children on retirement. This is especially true to people in government or service jobs who are used to their own independency.
Here it a case of retired couple and children to compromise and make serious adjustments once the retired couple comes to live with their children.
If you have your own home and are thinking of downsizing, it’s very important to do your homework about where you want to shift how much will the shifting process cost.
5. Have you done your financial planning?
Make sure that you get professional help from a financial planner who will understand your needs and requirements to maintain a certain lifestyle. Please do not make the mistake of going to a family friend, often these transactions go wrong and sometimes all your life savings evaporate in no time.
Extreme prudence is required when put together your finances. Try and plan as much in advance as possible so as to have a comfortable life afterwards.
6. What is your social capital?
People always need people all the time in life and particularly in retirement. Retirement is a good time to reconnect with family and friends. The social connections in retirement – ‘your social capital’ – ‘will result in feelings of wellbeing’.
Being a recluse will cause more mental and physical problems. Retirement is a good opportunity to make new contacts.
It’s also a time to get fit and take care of your health. Going for a walk, a little exercise and a little gupshup with people like you in the park is always good not just for the physical but also for the mental wellbeing.
Have a purpose in life. We have a connection with the people we know, particularly family and friends. Purpose is about living a meaningful life that comes from knowing who you are, your ideas and your passions. You create your own retirement and it’s always a good time to ponder over these questions.