The definition of freedom in the context of retirement is unique to each person. For some, it can be freedom from the tedium of routine. For others, it could be the freedom that comes from an adequate income and for yet others it might be the freedom to follow their dreams. The degree of freedom will depend upon how well you have planned for your retirement and worked towards it in the earlier phases of life.
Mumbai-based K.M. Kutty (58) defined his dream retirement as one free from tensions—be it financial or work-related. As he approaches retirement next year, he seems to be on track. “I was always careful to keep expenses well within my income. The other habit that helped was to make regular savings from the beginning," said Kutty. Over time, investments moved from insurance policies to SIPs in mutual funds and other investments. This groundwork meant that when the focus shifted to retirement in his early 50s, the shortfall to the target corpus was something he could easily bridge. Paying off debt and other liabilities was identified as another priority pre-retirement activity which he has taken care of to make sure that they are not a drain on his income
Kutty does not see himself hanging up his gloves just yet. After a career spanning 35 years in marketing, he is looking forward to consultancy assignments. With an adequate corpus in place, Kutty is all set to enjoy his freedom.
Sethu Raman, 60, from Chennai is officially in the retirement phase of his life but still has some way to go before achieving the financial freedom that comes with a secure retirement. He exemplifies the need for formal structured retirement advice for people who will not be entitled to a pension after retirement. “I never understood the implications of rising cost of living and how to plan for it," he said. While he has taken care of the biggest financial security derailer in retirement—medical expenses—with an adequate health insurance cover and paid off all loans, he is eager to get back into the workforce to cement the freedom. “At this stage in my life, I don’t have any financial obligations. My income will go towards reinforcing the retirement corpus," said Raman.
A well-deserved freedom in retirement is not too difficult to achieve if a few factors are taken care of. Starting early and saving regularly to get to an adequate retirement corpus, debt that is well within repayment capacity, adequate provisions for medical expenses and a positive attitude for the new phase in life is what will work for most people.