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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Retirement Planning is not only about Money

Besides building a corpus, it is essential to prepare for a post-retirement social life.

When people think about retirement, it tends to be in financial terms. The main consideration is whether or not there will be enough money to live on when they stop working. A related concern is finding a plan that allows them to accumulate a retirement fund. HSBC's recent Future of Retirement survey found that the current generation of retirees in India generally regretted not saving early enough in life, and they wished they had saved more. The survey also found that those who are now preparing for their retirement expect to save for at least six more years than the previous generation.

Starting to save early is perhaps the most common piece of advice when it comes to retirement. Incremental investment returns accumulated over a long period of time can grow into a substantial sum of money, but the earlier you start, the more pronounced the effect. Of course, having sufficient funds is key to a comfortable retirement. But, at the same time, we know that money does not necessarily buy happiness.

Imagine a senior executive who has worked hard in a company over many years. He not only wielded a position of authority in the organisation, but was also treated respectfully by colleagues. His job is a major contributor to his self-worth. For someone like him, retirement can be quite a sharp change. He may have enough money to maintain his current lifestyle, but no longer enjoys the benefits of employment--seniority, productivity and interaction with clients and co-workers. The loss of all these things can make retirement feel like a forced redundancy for some people, rather than a natural progression in life that comes with age. This can result in a damaged sense of purpose.

When this happens, there is a tendency among some retirees to just accept their lot and make little or no effort to improve their mood; old age is something to be endured rather than enjoyed.The newly retired who find themselves in this situation should resist despondency by being open-minded and proac tive about how best to meet both their financial and psychological needs. For example, a retiree might take a bridge job that allows them to gradually shift away from full-time employment. The growth of the so-called gig economy is a major development in employment that could provide attractive opportunities to older workers. In addition to providing a meaningful activity, a part-time job also brings in a regular income that can supplement retirement savings.

Another consideration is to nurture a range of interests other than work, cultivate relationships with family and friends, or find activities that can keep them busy at the end of their employment. These can provide continuity of purpose and activity in retirement, a contributor to satisfaction in old age that ranks alongside financial stability and good health in importance.

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