This article was originally published in Postnoon on November 16, 2012
Why should we plan for our retirement?, asked an indignant Mr. Mukherjee. "Professor, you don't understand our Indian culture and values. My son will take care of me when my wife and I grow old. We are giving him the best possible education, so that when he starts earning, I can retire in peace. He is a good son. And, I too save some money every month. My wife runs the household very efficiently".
Prof. Nicky: I agree Mr. Mukherjee. I am not denying that your son is a good son and your wife is very efficient. All I am saying is that, why do you want to depend on your son in your old age? What if he gets a job in another city or another country? Are you willing to move with him? Do you want to leave all your friends and family behind, so that your son can take care of you?
Mukherjee: Not at all. I will not leave Hyderabad. I have lived here all my life. But my son will not take a job anywhere else. He will take up a job in Hyderabad only.
Prof. Nicky: How can you be so sure? He may get transferred, he may get a better opportunity somewhere else. Would you want him to sacrifice all the opportunities for you?
Mukherjee: No I would not like that. But even if he lives somewhere else, he can still send money for us.
Prof. Nicky: Yes he can. But what if he finds it difficult? He will have his own family to fend for. Everything is so expensive now a days. Maintaining two different households may be difficult for him. Since you are already saving some money every month, all that I am asking you to do is invest it in a way which will help you lead a better life during your retirement.
Mukherjee: But even the money that I am putting aside every month, in a recurring deposit, will be available to me when I retire. What is the difference between saving and retirement planning?
Prof. Nicky: Finally you have asked a relevant question. Saving is good. It gives you returns close to the prevailing interest rates, whether you put your money in fixed deposits or recurring deposit. You save what you have left after all your monthly expenses.
On the other hand, retirement planning determines how much you must invest every month, so that you don't have to change your lifestyle much after your retire. The planning includes planning your investments in different asset classes like mutual funds, insurance, equities, real estate etc., so that you achieve your financial goals.
Mukherjee: But who will do it for me? Will you do it?
Prof. Nicky: No, I will not do it. There are certified financial planners, who will do the planning for you for a fee. You only need to ensure that you find a good financial planner who is qualified and experienced.
Mukherjee: There seems to be merit in what you are saying. Let me think about it!