At what age should one start preparing for retirement? It is customary to say – the day you get your first job. Let us be fair, this will NEVER happen. No 23 year old kid is going to think about retirement (that too his own!) when his parent is still working.

At your age of say 40 years you will find people who played (in your childhood) with you are retiring. Suddenly it hits you that you have to retire too. You may have bought some investments with the word Pension – but honestly you did not pay too much attention to what you bought.

Suddenly one day your wife said “you do nothing around the house..your money is in a mess and you have no clue what you will do for Retirement”

Your company’s head of HR is a close friend of yours and was 3 batches your junior when you did your MBA. One day at lunch he throws a bomb – the company is considering a “Voluntary” retirement for people over the age of 50, and even those who are over 45 will be considered favorably.

You now hit panic situation. You have a house, and the home loan has been paid off, but nothing much more than that. You do a quick analysis – your bank had asked you to pay Rs. 3 lakhs premium in a insurance plan (so over 4 years it should have Rs. 12 Lakhs is what you think), your provident fund is untouched so it should have about Rs. 26 lakhs, you have some shares which at last count was worth Rs. 23 lakhs, but you have not valued them for the past 4-5 years and actually you have no clue.

You have 2 daughters – and the big educational expenses have still not hit both are in high school – so you have the college expenses, and wedding expenses to reckon with. Your mother in law stays with you – she is just 64 and could live another 30 years (at worst!). Your own parents are currently living on their own in Mumbai. They are financially and physically independent – but as the only son you need to anticipate that they could come and live with you!

Bang, bang.

You wake up sweating. You ask your relationship manager and he says that it a ULIP that you have bought and your life insurance plan is worth Rs. 8 lakhs after all expenses and if you surrender it now you will get Rs. 7 lakhs – after a surrender charge. Your equity shares are worth Rs. 35 lakhs (pleasant surprise!!)…and your PF is about 25 lakhs. That gives you a net worth of Rs. 68 Lakhs. That joker Subra of had told you that for retirement you need about Rs. 3.4 crores. What a joke.

Here are my thoughts on preparing for retirement. Many planners who are dealing with people past their earning prime, will benefit to know some of this.

In my experience I have found that people who are doing their own business are more alert – to business opportunities and to their own physical and mental requirements. They are also less concerned about retirement than their service counterparts! However they too need to retire – somewhere they have to accept that the younger gen may NOT WANT their older parents continuing to interfere in the business. The younger gen may want to make changes which you may not be allowing…so hey get out of  the way!

Start planning for your RETIREMENT from the age of 40 or 45 years…..a good age to start. Worrying about what to do at the age of 60 cannot start at the age of 60!

I think doing the following things are useful / important to be in good shape – mentally and physically:

1. develop a serious hobby – play a guitar, ride a cycle, run the marathon, – hardly matters, but it should be something which you always wanted to do passionately.

2. join groups, clubs, – groups and friends have a great impact on your life. Groups with common interests will help you talk, walk, eat, ….the passionate hobby of yours!

3. learn something new – and try to do something physical like reading, writing, knitting, cooking…using both hands improves dexterity.


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  1. Subra sir,

    You are always thinking out of the box and giving such posts. Today’s article is a must read for everyone and I hope this should be reached in the future readers too.

    Please re post this article once in every year..



  2. I remember having woken up about 20 years ago with similar thoughts. It was what prompted further actions. First was to accurately list what I have as property.
    Internet has been wonderful in giving access to different information. Now I feel confident of the future

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