Conventional financial goals such as owning or building a house and planning for retirement continue to be influenced by family and social circles
Retirement-related goals feature in the top five for 42% of the millennials in India, says report
About 20% millennials in India are inspired by social media trends when it comes to deciding certain new-age life goals. A recent report by Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Co. Ltd, titled India’s Life Goals Preparedness Survey, said one in five goals are inspired by social media sites. These goals typically include travelling abroad and focusing on health and fitness. Goals such as owning a high-end car or upgrading to the latest one are inspired from movies, said the report.
While new-age life goals are influenced by external factors such as social media, news, movies or books, conventional goals like owning or building a house and planning for retirement continue to be influenced by family and social circles. Though there’s a general perception that millennials don’t believe in saving for the future, the report said that retirement-related goals feature in the top five for 42% millennials in India.
However, financial planners have a different take on this. “Most millennials who I meet save less than 10% of their income and do not think beyond their next purchase," said Mrin Agarwal, founder-director of Finsafe India Pvt. Ltd and co-founder of Womantra. According to Melvin Joseph, a Sebi-registered investment adviser and founder of Finvin Financial Planners, millennials do not know how much is actually required for their retirement. “Most of them are saving in the wrong instruments. Investing in wrong products without any flexibility can do more harm than good," said Joseph.
Bajaj Allianz Life conducted the survey with Kantar IMRB, a market research and business consultancy firm in five metros and eight non-metros and interviewed 1,681 individuals across age groups and work profiles. “About two years ago, we decided to focus on the living benefits space within life insurance. The youth is not interested in death benefits so we thought we should start looking at life goals of customers," said Tarun Chugh, chief executive officer and managing director, Bajaj Allianz Life.
More and more women are voicing their expectations and goals from life and this could be largely due to increasing financial independence. The report said that women have significantly higher inclination towards travel and health and fitness compared to their male counterparts. One in three women has travel-related goals and two in five women are prioritising health and fitness. About 50% women are looking to live a balanced life. “Women are getting to a place where they are able to handle the society and are taking control of their lives and goals," said Shweta Jain, certified financial planner, CEO and founder, Investography Pvt. Ltd. “To meet their goals, though they have to be a little more aggressive. They should be willing to experiment when it comes to investing," said Jain.
Planners said home-makers too are ensuring they save enough money to spend on these goals. However, note that prioritising goals is equally important. “Travel is a non-essential goal and needs to be planned for after other essential goals are planned. With respect to spending on health and fitness, one must budget towards these expenses. The overall expenses should not exceed 30% of the income," said Agarwal.
The report said a small section of Indians want to explore philanthropic avenues either by bringing about a change in the society or by providing employment opportunities. Some of them hope to share their knowledge and experience or simply support individuals financially through charity.
One in every 10 Indians has a philanthropy-related goal but does this mean you need a lot of money? Joseph said one does not need a ton of money to start any philanthropic activity. “You can start off by educating people around you. Pick a child and sponsor her education. I know people who earn just ₹30,000 a month but are supporting a child in need of education," said Joseph.
Meeting the goals
According to the report, life insurance is the most preferred investment option for 60% of the life goals, followed by bank fixed deposits and mutual funds.
However, should you look at life insurance as an investment product to meet your life goals? Most people end up buying investment-linked insurance products simply because of the vast reach of insurers. “We just need term insurance to protect us. Endowment policies do not give back even the premium paid, if you surrender in the initial years. Unit-linked insurance plans (Ulips) have charges and lock-in periods. No other insurance products are investment worthy," said Joseph.
Agarwal said one must understand that investment-linked insurance products have not given even inflation-adjusted returns. “An insurance company’s mandate is covering risk and hence they shouldn’t be chosen for investing," said Agarwal.
While people’s priorities and life goals are constantly changing with newer influences such as social media, having a financial plan in place is important to meet all your goals.