Monday, 8 June 2015

Have You Planned for your Golden Years?

I took a hypothetical journey into my old age last weekend at the Reliance Mutual Fund Meet for bloggers. Most of us were lifestyle bloggers there, and the CEO of Reliance MF made us realize that we perhaps knew how to spend money and maintain an aspirational lifestyle at this age, but few of us bothered to plan for the years ahead and calculate how much we would require to sustain our current spending pattern.

The presentation began with a set of shocking statistics that revealed how grossly unprepared the population of India is for its retirement. Only 15% of our GDP is set aside for retirement, whereas developed economies such as Australia have over 100% of their GDP in retirement assets.

It is projected that the retired population of India will grow threefolds by 2050, and the Pension Bill might have to be raised to 6% of GDP (as against the current 2.2%). This will put tremendous strain on our economy. This is why we need private players in the retirement fund segment.

Reliance has recently launched India's first notified private retirement fund with an equity oriented scheme. It is essentially a mutual fund with Section 80C benefits. You can have up to Rs.1,50,000 in tax deductions per year. The government has been running the NPS for quite a few years now, but its equity leg is capped at 50%. The Reliance Retirement Fund, on the other hand, allows you to customize your equity-debt split and you can choose to put 100% in equity and related instruments.

The long term nature of this fund makes it quite safe to have a lot of equity exposure. Nevertheless, the golden rule is -
Equity exposure (%) = 100 - your age
If you are 24, you should ideally invest 76% in equity and 24% in debt. Then again, it all depends on your risk profile and desired age of retirement.

The Reliance Retirement Fund works in two phases - Wealth Creation and Income Generation. The first phase is when you only contribute and keep saving, and the latter phase is when you reap the returns after your retirement.

During the wealth creation phase, you can either set up a monthly/quarterly or yearly SIP (systematic investment plan) or make a lumpsum contribution whenever you have enough funds, or even do both. This product is highly flexible and lets you change your SIP amount unlimited times without any additional charges.

During the income generation phase, you can either have a lumpsum return or choose to receive a monthly payment from the returns generated by your corpus. You can also choose something in between. A few years before your retirement, the fund auto-transfers your wealth creation plan into income generation, and equity forms only 5-30% of your retirement portfolio.

It was a great session that morning, and it really made me think about my future. Do you regularly save for your golden years? Or are you just living in the moment? Think and act carefully. Inflation is a silent killer which can erode your wealth and lifestyle. Nip it in the bud!

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