It saddens me to see people trying to do their own financial planning while lacking the discipline / interest in understanding how it is to be done! If you are not diligent, thorough, clinical, and unbiased in your approach it is really difficult to build a nice portfolio!

Let us take a look at the financial life cycle of a man. He is dependent on his parents till age 24 – till he completes his education. Under normal circumstances he takes up a job and let us assume that he works till his age of 55 years. He retires at 55 years of age and lives till say 95 years of age.

Well 0 to 24 his cash flow requirements were met by his parent (or their life insurance)

From 24 to 55 he earned money for 31 years – this money had to be used to pay off his expenses of the past (student loan?), his day to day expenses (taxation, mortgage, vacations, PENSIONS, insurance, …etc.). The money earned is for 31 years and it has to buy pensions that last for 40 years. Get the IRONY? Obviously this is not easy. Accumulating a nice corpus over say 20 years to make it last another 40 years is mentally and physically very challenging.

The second problem is that you may retire younger – which means leisure will be expensive! You are unlikely to just sit at home and watch TV! Given youth an availability of money, you may (will) explore travel options. So from the age of 55 years to the age of say 70 years you will travel around the world or do some other thing like bungee jumping or snorkling – all this cost money, right?

You actually have no clue about how much you need for retirement! How about a US $ 1 million? Well if you have a house, this is a good number to target.

Start a few SIP and then start investing as much, and as often. Do not let anything affect / interrupt the compounding..and presto! Your fund is ready…

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  1. retirement planning is difficult because people fantasize doing things at 60+ imagining as though they are 30+

    comedy is at 30+ they neither have the money nor the time
    at 60+ they neither have the health nor the money

  2. Retirement Planning has the potential to become an enormous problems for Indians with increasing life expectancy, nowadays. Though people are subjected to ailments like Diabetes, BP at an early age the challenge would be they would continue to live for long due to advancements in the field of medicine which means increasing health care costs. On the other hand the retirement age is declining in private sector with availability of young talent pool resulting in people getting relieved of their services by age of 50 which is expected to get lower further (45 years in another 10 years). Essentially this means that one needs to accumulate substantial corpus in 20+ years of their active earning life which should help them sustain for 30+ years. The awareness level among people to counter this threat is quite low today and unless they start realising this early in their age, they might miss the boat and get drowned.

  3. Subra,

    This is a real fact. I was also under the impression that I will need about 7 million by the time I retire, back in 1998. After a lot of calculation and browsing the net for retirement issues, this was seen to be not the case.

    Finally I had to build my own retirement calculator to see that the figure of 1 million USD is about right.

    The earlier one wakes up the better. You are doing a very good service to society by giving these shocks.

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