One of the main reasons that people do not think of an early retirement is two fold –

a) they do not understand what is RETIREMENT and

b) the get goddamn scared seeing some of the calculators on the web

Retirement is a state of mind that allows you to tell your boss ‘F you, I am not coming from tomorrow’. Or play scrabble with your daughter on a Wednesday afternoon when you are cooking for her and Kishore Kumar is blaring away to keep you company.

Of course it is a little more complicated than that, but primarily it is a choice of a lifestyle, a state of mind and of course a sum of  ‘I can say F you because of my money’ kind.

Now if you see the calculators, man they are scary. Kids education (Indian parents are absolute suckers for this) in an Ivy league will be about US $ 300,000, your daughter’s marriage (I have attended weddings with Rs. 50,000 budget and Rs. 1, 50,00,000 budget), medical emergencies……these look like you will need Ben’s printing machine before you can retire!

See what gives you pleasure. See what YOU will do. Financial planners who are young do not know enough about retirement. I have seen people in immediate family shift (happily) from J class travel to second ac and 5* suites to ordinary clean 3 * hotels. See how much will you travel. See what YOU will do for pleasure. Will you play golf or watch television? Be realistic, but do not be scary. EQUIP YOURSELF WELL before, before, before YOU go to a financial planner. I recently saw a YOUNG guy (under 28) going to a PMS provider for Rs. 5 million (got through a family settlement). He has no idea that HE is completely un prepared to stand the torture of jargon and innovative explanation of why it became 0.5 million Rs……God bless his soul.


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  1. “Many a man or women who would not expect to be a successful as a circus clown, opera singer, or grocer, without some kind of preparation or talent, nevertheless expects to be successful right off in the stock market- probably the most intricate and difficult game on earth. The reason for this faith in success with out any special qualification is doubtless the most universal belief in luck.”- Fred Kelley

  2. Dear Sir,

    Some time early this year, in this blog, I said retirement is not as difficult as people make out to be. We even had an argument (ok, discussion) in this regard. You cited it would cost Rs.10 lakh per year even for school, expensive Ivy League education, replacement cost for the existing flat etc. and so lot of money is required for retirement.

    I always tell my clients retirement means your passive income is equal to expenses + required savings for future inflation.

    The retirement target depends purely on the above and that is why I considered myself ‘retired’ at the age of 32. To me retirement is not ‘no work’ but freedom to choose whether to work or not, what work I want and with whom I want to work with.

    I think as planners or advisors, we scare people a lot. We create a need based on the fear, like what many gurus do.

    When one has required risk cover, all he needs to do is to save and invest what is possible for him regularly. If his income would not support his daughter’s Ivy League dream, so be it. 20 years down the line, she may get a scholarship, education in US may become cheaper or she may change her mind and do higher studies even in a good institute in India.

    When one cannot raise his income or savings or life does not provide him the opportunity, the only option is to reduce his expenses. It is not as bad as it sounds:-)

  3. Sir,
    Calculators are scary but they do the job of making people sit up and notice. Almost every one is shocked to see the amount they would require after 25+ years. If the person doing these calculations avoids unnecessary expenses and plans prudently then future could be better.
    The fall back option of scaling down the lifestyle after retirement is always present but should not be the default plan.

  4. ‘Not to work’ from age 32 has to mean a HUGE corpus. To say ‘I can decide what work to do’ is self delusion. When I say ‘retired’ I mean I should be able to provide a standard of living to my dependents as per mine and their liking. I cannot dramatically downsize, i need to be prepared for inflation, YES IVY LEAGUE EDUCATION, an expensive retirement home,…etc.

    Otherwise you say ‘i lead a simple lifestyle whereby I am saving 50% of my income’. Retired is a difficult word to use for somebody who HAS to work, but can choose what work to do – for e.g. should i take up a Rs. 50 L pushy job or a Rs. 5L relaxed job, IS NOT BEING retired.

    My idea of retirement is when I have 3-4 sources of income, at least a couple of them indexed, and my expenses are about half of EACH SOURCE…:-) of course to each his own.

  5. It is 34 and not 32. Sorry for the typo. It need not be that huge if you have own house, car and no debt. There is no self delusion. Not yet:-) I’m doing what I want to. I choose my clients as much as they choose me. Have lot of time and my calendar is never full.

    Not doing completely anything at my age would rut the mind. Retirement is freedom and financial security. When I or my dependants don’t crave for Ivy League or retirement house and fine with what is now and what is possible in future; I think that is enough. As you mentioned, it is the state of mind.

    Time is the currency you gain from financial independence.

  6. Dr M Chandrashekhar

    I have taken a break at 59+. It is a mindset . I was preparing myself well for that. After 24 years in Army, when I shifted to Corporate set up 11 years back, I was clear in my mind that I would work sincerely & with loyalty but no boss can take me for granted because Iam working for him. For few months , I had undated resignation letter in my pocket every day , ready to say FO to my arrogant , super rich 28 years old boss, but did not get the oppurtunity to submit it !

    We have cut down our expenses & we know our limitations of spending.. Life is cool & I do ensure that we do not splurge our money. I do love my occasional Scotch & Iam not guilty about it. Iam adept with Mutual Funds & a novice with Stocks — but lucky all the same — as my Investments are doing fine.

    Have seen some of my friends getting into Depression after Retirement– they were not mentally prepared.

    When I get bored, I propose to join a good NGO & give my Services as a Doctor.

  7. Retirement is financial freedom and to work freely per your liking . If you splurge more than your income then no amount of huge corpus will ever satisfy our needs . The more corpus you have you’ll find more ways of spending it on more people .
    Most financial planners are just making money by creating retirement fear in people’s mind . Live today , dont die everyday thinking of life after 25 years…

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