Twenty-five years and a few months ago, when Outlook Money (then Intelligent Investor) was launched in July 1998, the question the founding team faced was: “Why now?” Television had begun changing the game for print, and launching a fortnightly magazine was perhaps seen as an impractical but incredibly bold move.
Outlook Group broke the barrier in business reporting to launch a unique personal finance offering to address the everyday financial needs of individuals like you and me. Outlook Money continues to do so, standing as it were as the only personal finance magazine in India. In the interim, it has constantly reoriented itself to include and converse with the changes in technology, regulations, investment culture, demography, and the nature of advisory, among others.
In 2023, digital has already emerged as the new challenge to print. At Outlook Money, we have embraced digital and ensured both offerings complement each other to give our readers a complete bouquet—from on-the-go news to deeply researched articles.
As we celebrate our anniversary year, we will soon roll out a redesigned Outlook Money platform as part of an overall offering on business, finance and money. We’ve already launched an exclusive platform on retirement, which will become a seamless part of this overall offering. While we have time and again highlighted the importance of retirement planning and addressed the financial issues that seniors face, we believe it needs a more focused approach. The elderly population is projected to increase 41 per cent between 2021 and 2031, according to a National Statistical Office report; life expectancy has risen to more than 70 years and is likely to go up further, show estimates. As more families become nuclear and social security remains a chimera in India, the conversation on retirement needs to be mainstreamed. You will find a dedicated section on retirement in the magazine from this issue on.
We have also taken the opportunity to redesign the magazine with a brand-new logo and give it a more contemporary look and feel. We have, however, been careful about maintaining the legacy and ethos with which the magazine was started. This issue reflects exactly that—the fusion of the old and the new.
Dear readers, in the anniversary package that you will find on these pages, we’ve gone down memory lane to capture the changes that have taken place in the last 25 years in terms of saving and investing ethos and financial habits.
The Indian saving portfolio that mostly consisted of gold, real estate, fixed deposits and life insurance policies in the early ’90s has now added a plethora of options, such as stocks, mutual funds and others that have gained more acceptability now.
Life insurance has taken a big leap forward in terms of perception—to be seen as more of a protection instrument than an investment—though a lot still remains to be done. General insurance has also changed its face with digitisation and innovations that are customised for convenience.
The banking sector reflects the biggest change in financial ethos, with retail borrowing steadily going up, indicating the changing spending habits. Deposits, however, remain at the core of people’s investments, both for building emergency funds as well as inculcating healthy financial habits.
Taxation has remained a minefield over the years, with changes creeping in every few years, though it’s also an area that has seen a lot of simplification and transparency. It now threatens to become irrelevant to the saving culture of the country, with the government’s push for the new tax regime, which does not allow deductions on some of the most popular investments.
Amid all these changes, financial planning has emerged as the common link in the last two decades, promising to tie in all aspects of your life—from investing to indebtedness to protection and piling paperwork to even catering to your career and other aspirations. For the sake of investors, the capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), now seems to be on a mission to clean up the advisory space and eliminate elements that have the potential for mis-selling or mis-advising.
Keeping all the changes in sight, we curated the most pressing questions across the key areas of investing, insurance, banking, taxation and financial planning that can help you make the right financial decisions. We’ve got top experts giving you comprehensive solutions that can further be customised to your needs.
Also, to celebrate continuity and to highlight how we have served our readers over the years, we went back to a few people who were featured in the magazine in the past to find out their well-being and how and where their finances have moved now. Most of these are stories of success, achieved on the back of prudent financial planning; it is immensely satisfying to see our readers grow with us and find their financial paths. That also makes us proud of who we are and what we have been doing for a quarter of a century. Here’s to a longer time together!
Nidhi Sinha, Editor, Outlook Money