Indians start planning for retirement, in practice, by the age of 33. However, those who haven’t already planned say that they expect to start planning by the age of 51, reveals a survey by PGIM India Mutual Fund, titled ‘Retirement Readiness Survey 2020’.
According to the survey, there are several triggers for retirement planning. 62% of respondents said during the survey that a major trigger was the prospect of major family expenses. Besides this, 53% alluded to the hoped-for accumulative impact of small investments and 51% expressed hopes of a better life in future, while 49% ascribed their retirement planning to motivation from friends and family.
It was also revealed that health scares often motivate retirement planning – but not always. Many Indians are pushed towards retirement planning by the onset (or even just the prospect) of health conditions, from lifestyle diseases to critical illnesses. However, this may not always spur retirement planning. Some simply turn to Mediclaim and health insurance to guarantee their health and financial security in the near future, while again considering retirement as a more distant prospect relative to these threats.
Also, the nature of the worries covered in retirement planning changes with income. Those on lower incomes (in the lower Rs 20,000-50,000 income bracket) profess more concern about expected events such as a child’s education and marriage, household expenses and healthcare expenses. Those on higher incomes tend to have a more expansive portfolio with more substantial investments, and are thus also concerned about external events, like economic slowdowns and stock market volatility.
Some Indians say they simply don’t need a retirement plan. Of the 51% of Indians with no retirement plan, 55% simply say they don’t need a retirement plan to achieve their goals in life. These often tend to be middle-aged (41-60) respondents from metros, who either run businesses or are self-employed, and typically have alternative sources of income.
Retirement planning is positively correlated to quality of life. 83% of Indians without a retirement plan also lack an alternative source of income, which means they are heavily dependent on their existing jobs. It is, thus, understandable that 45% of them are not secure about their job, and 42% do not enjoy their job or have some job stress. They live precariously close to the edge, with little margin for error. Conversely, 51% of respondents with retirement plans also have an alternative source of income, helping them diversify and spread their risk.