People ask me some very simple questions and expect to get a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Many a times I give it too. It is just meaningless.

Let me tackle with 2 such questions, and I hope you appreciate that the answers are not so simple after all.

The first question is “Subra I have about Rs. 3 crores…do you think it is enough for me to retire?”. The second question is “In how much time do you think I can finish the half marathon?”.

Simple questions, yes, sure, but very very damn complicated answers.

Easiest answer? No application of the mind, say a yes or a no. The person asking is very happy, and I am amused that they have no clue that I did not say anything. Hey I did not apply my mind to that question!!

If you are 49 years of age and you have Rs. 3 crores, HOW THE HELL will I know whether you can retire NOW?

Seriously, please think before you ask such a question. I need to ask you the following questions:

1. What does this Rs. 3 crore consist of? The Rs. 2 crore house with Rs. 40 lakhs furnishing? The one which you bought last year?

2. How long do you expect to live (no matter that your answer is wrong, but I can plan only with a number).

3. When will you actually retire?

4. What will be corpus when you retire?

5. What are your liabilities?

6. How much are your monthly expenses……………….the list just goes on and on…It would be about 40 questions well asked, and well articulated.

If you do all that I will give you an answer. This answer could be off the correct answer by 90%. Sorry but Retirement calculations need to be done on a monthly basis till about 5 years into retirement.

EVEN after that you need to keep checking whether the assumptions are working.

Nos some homework for you: If a person asks a stupid question :”In how much time will I be able to run a half marathon’ – what questions do you think you can ask?

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  1. Simple questions, yes, sure, but very very damn complicated answers.

    Easiest answer?

    — Data insufficient is always my standard reply.

  2. Re the half marathon, this may be a decent staring point…

    1. Have you ever ran in your life ?
    2. Do you currently run ?
    3. If yes to the above question, what is the current frequency of running? (once, twice, thrice a week)
    4. What distance do you run currently ?
    5. Forget about the timing, have you ever completed a half marathon in the first place ? If yes, in how much time and when ?
    6. If the answer to above question is no, then get to the internet, find a decent running program from say http://www.halhigdon.com/ or Phil Maffetone and first complete a half marathon.
    7. If the answer to question 5 is yes, then we have a benchmark timing. Then again go to above links, apply the knowledge (techniques, gadgets, nutrition whatever), run with dedication and discipline and see yourself shaving off probably a couple of minutes each year depending upon how frequently you run and provided you dont fall ill/sick and dont injure yourself throughout the journey ! I am assuming here that the person asking this question is a novice or amateur, probably.

    Having said that, I have been unable to answer the original question, though 🙂

  3. For the marathon runner,
    1. How long have you been practicing?
    2. When did you last had a practice run?
    a. How long did you run and what kind of terrain?
    3. How much time did you take in that practice run?
    4. What type of terrain do you want to run the half marathon?

  4. Sumanta Kumar Goswami

    Hi Subra,

    Thanks for the postings/blog. Sorry, I would be asking your help for another reason. I am a postdoctoral researcher at University of California, Davis, USA and work with my colleagues to develop new medicine for managing pain. I believe, you can help me to raise money for pharmaceutical research in academic labs in India. If you are interested then mail me back.

    Thanks,
    Sumanta Kumar Goswami.

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