Retirement Is More Than Just Money

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Retirement Is More  Than Just Money
Retirement Is More Than Just Money
Anagh Pal - 09 May 2019

With the idea of financial planning getting more accepted and mainstream media focusing a lot on the subject, the awareness about retirement planning is fortunately much higher now than it was two decades ago.

Earlier, if you would have spoken to someone on the subject, they would have given you a rough estimate of how much corpus they would need at retirement by doing the back of the envelop calculation themselves. Mostly, a monthly expenditure figure taking into account the rate of return, inflation and a life expectancy. At the most, they would have appointed a financial planner for the same job. Obviously, such calculations and planning  are a good way to start off. And that is mostly because the idea that you would need to save up so many crore when you retire often works as a wake-up call for most of us.

However, as Kiran Telang in her book Mindful Retirement emphasises, retirement is not just about money. She reasons, ‘But think of it, is money truly the only thing that you would need during your retirement? Probably not!’  And goes on to further say, ‘While the job of money management and planning can be outsourced to an expert, discovering your own value system and what is important to you is something that you need to do yourself’. The book helps us discover our personal journey.

It has been divided into chapters and each chapter sets the tone for what you can expect. While ‘Finances’ and 'Health' are two core chapters, some of the other chapters include ‘Relationships’, ‘Spirituality’ and ‘Emotions’. At the beginning, you might wonder how such subjects are relevent to retirement, but as the pages flow, you will understand their significance.

For one, the author has consciously tried to make the book as jargon free as possible, which serves the essential purpose of making it sound less like a book on retirement planning and more about life. It is meant for anyone who is interested in the topic, but has been written keeping the average person in mind, not necessarily an expert. It is a book for everyone and hence, she has tried to ensure there is something for each one of us.

Telang has skillfully weaved relatable experiences in form of stories. Stuff that we can relate to, getting the ‘personal’ in finance. So you can relate to little Aarav who was joyfully engaged with his grandpa in a game of spells of Harry Potter, (his grandpa had learned the entire Harry Potter series so that he could easily interact with his grandson). Richa Malhotra who has spent her entire life working hard and also building a house in Mumbai, failed to save enough for her retirement years. Mrs Sen, who has been widowed a few years ago, is worried whether her son and daughter-in-law will take care of her. And so on. Each of these stories or case studies, are not stand-alone examples but illustrate how each one of us have unique issues. And though money is a very important aspect, it is often not enough to give us the peace of mind. As with anything else in life, with retirement too, one needs to be ‘mindful’ which literally means being conscious or aware of something.

The book delves into ancient Indian scriptures and teachings and sayings of great men and sages, trying to explore the emotions and the philosophy that lies behind retirement. It also provides quotes, slokas along with their translations.

In some places, however, I think, perhaps the author gets a bit carried away in her philosophical musing, but she is back very soon, with the financial planner in her taking over, delivering solid financial wisdom that will make you think, sit up and take notice and finally even to look at the concept of retirement and life in general, in a new and holistic way.  A word of apology here, I gobbled up the book in a few days flat, but this is one book that you should keep by your bedside table and read a chapter or two when you like, in fact you can start reading any chapter and still make sense of it.

Let it sink in and you will be left wiser and more pragmatic when it comes to how you look at your retirement.


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