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Retirement 1Retirement is usually something that is not considered by most of us till we are nearing it, so naturally we do not plan for it, until it is probably too late. This general ignorance or lack of attention to retirement planning can have far reaching consequences.

Retirement planning in the simplest sense means preparing for life after the tenure of paid work ends.  This does not only include the financial aspect, but other aspects such as what to do during retirement, the lifestyle choices that one can take and what dreams one might want to pursue during the remainder of the years.

While the concept of Retirement Planning applies to pilots just as it does to other individuals, there are certain unique points that are exclusive to retirement planning for commercial pilots. These unique points are crucial while developing a retirement plan for a pilot.

Firstly, under the current DGCA rules, the retirement age in India has been pushed up to 65. This is an entire 5 years longer than the mandated retirement age in most other industries. This translates to more income earning years, probably at the highest salary slab of the industry, since usually pilots around this age are most likely to have their designations as Captain. This extra income earning period is crucial in formulating and ironing out the retirement plan before the pilot ultimately retires. The significant income flowing could be the difference between living a compromised and a fulfilling retirement.

One of the most important things a commercial pilot has to consider is Lifestyle Inflation. Because commercial pilots have one of the best salary packages amongst all industries, they tend to have more lavish lifestyles. And they are comfortably able to match up the ever increasing expenses that come alongside their lifestyle choices. But on retirement, the salary stops. Yet expenses continue to stay, with inflation only adding to it. But more significantly no one would want to compromise on their lifestyle they have become accustomed to. As such it becomes imperative to plan much ahead so that lifestyle compromises don’t become the norm during your golden years.

Just to drive home the impact of inflation, let’s take an example. Consider a pilot Mr. A, currently 30 years of age and has a monthly expenditure of Rs 12 lakhs every year (not a very high amount, from what we hear from our pilot clientele). Assuming he will retire at age 65 and taking an average of 8% lifestyle inflation till retirement,  the same Rs. 12 lakhs expenditure will inflate to approx Rs. 1.75 crores. In other words, to maintain the lifestyle that costs Rs 12 lakhs as of today, Mr. A would require Rs 1.75 Crores annually to maintain the same expenditure choices, forget upgrading!

Furthermore, pilots are used to having extremely busy schedules. So when retirement hits, they are unprepared to handle the ample time in hand. Hence they always look for options to keep themselves engaged. This could mean, taking long leisure trips or finding, researching on and investing lump sums in “exciting investment avenues”, committing money to be part of a start up or just following their long drawn passions or enrol at the local flying clubs just so that they can regularly indulge their lifetime love of flying. All this comes at hefty financial expenditures.

All of the above means that Pilots would need to plan and develop customized retirement plans for themselves to ensure a smooth flight during retirement.

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blog picPilots are probably one of the most stretched professionals when it comes to time management. The constant flux in schedules is always a hassle. Even when you are not flying you are on standby which means that you are still on your toes. The weekly off standard in the Indian Aviation industry is one day every week. And money matters are usually the last thing you want to tackle on such a day. Life is already stressful enough as it is!

By most industry standards, Indian pilots take away a very handsome salary. The more experienced you are, the more significant are your financial takeaways. But it is not all rosy all the time.

With the high earning potential at a pilot’s disposal, it becomes vital to channelize these earnings to fulfil a whole set of commitments and dreams that are unique to a pilot’s life, both during their career and post retirement.

But what are some of these unique problems that only pilots face? Pilots for once, have to always be medically fit. And for good reason! Priority to healthcare hence takes prime importance. Now a pilot reading this might say, oh we are covered by our company, so I don’t have to worry above covering any financial cost regarding my health. But if you really think about it, is that actually enough?

Another thing which pilots always need to be on top of is upgrading their skill sets. Not so much a unique item, but very important nonetheless. And it does not come cheap. Preparing for it well in advance can be far more beneficial than just scrapping up every penny at the last moment to fund for this expense.

One another issue is the state of aviation industry and opportunities. The last few years have clearly demonstrated that problems are plenty in the Indian aviation sectors. For e.g.  Airlines have closed down, (leading large time periods of unemployment), pay can be delayed significantly or indefinitely. All these lead to great financial complications for pilots and their families. Preparing for such circumstances is prudent and must at all times be actively considered.

Probably the biggest challenge a pilot will face is retirement! With no more significant inflows, you are faced with a very real possibility of compromising on your lifestyle just because of a lack of proper planning and this change is not easy! This struggle can be easily avoided with some proper and sustained guidance throughout the earning years so that you can live through your golden years in comfort all the while fulfilling your passions.

Pilots are well aware of the importance of planning. Every flight involves hours of preparation beforehand so that you can take the best possible decisions in terms of route, landing approach and understanding weather patterns of the areas you will fly through, just to mention a few!

As a fellow professional with a prime importance towards professional planning, it would be definitley worth your time for us to meet and discuss how to enrich your life!

Till then..Happy flying!

 

 

 

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NRIs looking for higher rental yield should consider investing in a commercial property in India. Here is a look at the pros and cons of such an investment and advice on what to do and what to avoid while making this investment.

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NRIs keen to invest in a property in India should evaluate the prospects of the commercial (office) segment. This segment offers several advantages vis-a-vis the residential segment. The rental yield is currently higher at 7-9% p.a. compared to the 2-3% p.a. yield that the residential segment offers. Rental yields drop when one comes to smaller commercial spaces though, but are still likely to be higher than those offered in the residential segment. Whereas residential real estate in India is caught in a downturn which may last for quite some time owing to the high inventory levels in most leading cities, there is greater equilibrium between demand and supply in the commercial segment, and rentals are inching up in most leading metros. As the economic recovery gathers momentum, as is widely expected to happen in 2016 and 2017, the demand for commercial space should increase further.

This segment offers several advantages vis-a-vis the residential segment. The rental yield is currently higher at 7-9% p.a. compared to the 2-3% p.a. yield that the residential segment offers.

Another advantage of investing in a commercial property is that NRIs can use it to run their own venture if and when they return to India. However, be warned that the capital appreciation in office property tends to be lower than in residential property over the long term. And if you are looking for a loan to buy the property, that too may be harder to get than a loan for purchasing a residential property. While the Indian economy is on the cusp of a cyclical recovery, be warned that a downturn in the economy has a negative impact on the demand for office space. The office space you have bought could remain vacant or you may find it difficult to revise rentals upward.

Capital appreciation in office property tends to be lower than in residential property over the long term. And if you are looking for a loan to buy the property, that too may be harder to get than a loan for purchasing a residential property.

Outlook for office segment

According to CBRE South Asia’s third-quarter 2015 report on the office segment, sentiment within this segment is positive, with the ongoing economic recovery supporting the demand for office space. Leasing demand is expected to be steady in the coming months. Demand will be driven chiefly by IT-ITeS and banking and financial services. To a lesser extent, it will also come from manufacturing and engineering, e-commerce, research and consulting and pharma companies.

According to CBRE South Asia’s third-quarter 2015 report on the office segment, sentiment within this segment is positive, with the ongoing economic recovery supporting the demand for office space.

While demand in the central business districts of all the major cities will remain strong, there will also be demand in the peripheral markets from occupiers looking for cost-effective spaces.

The report from CBRE adds that demand for quality office buildings will be high and such spaces are likely to get leased out even before they are completed.

What to do? And what to avoid?

When buying commercial property, choose a location where the pace of economic growth and job creation is likely to be high in the future. While capital values tend to be lower in the peripheral areas of a city, the availability of empty land in the vicinity means that there is no limit on the supply that can come in. This has the potential to cap the growth in rentals in these areas.

When buying commercial property, choose a location where the pace of economic growth and job creation is likely to be high in the future.

Check the infrastructure in the locality that you choose to invest in. The area should be well connected by highways and possibly a Metro or rail link. The inner roads in the locality should be in good shape. The building that you choose to invest in should be situated on a wide road so that it is easily accessible.

Next, the NRI should check the credentials of the builder in whose project he intends to invest. One way to do so is to have a trusted source visit a couple of his older projects and speak to owners in those buildings. They will be able to tell whether the builder had delivered the project on time and had adhered to the quality standards that he had promised. Check out the quality of maintenance in his older projects. Either the developer himself or a maintenance agency could be handling this task. The quality of maintenance is crucial since it determines the ability of a building to attract new tenants.

Next, the NRI should check the credentials of the builder in whose project he intends to invest.

NRIs should get a lawyer to do the legal due diligence. This includes determining that the developer has acquired and is the rightful owner of the land on which he is developing the property, and has obtained all the statutory clearances for developing the property.

NRIs should get a lawyer to do the legal due diligence.

The stage of development at which the NRI invests in a commercial property also determines its level of risk. If he invests in a property that is under construction, he is likely to get more capital appreciation in it. But he will also have to face what is known as development risk—the risk that the project may be delayed or may not be completed at all. On the other hand, if he invests in a property that is completed but not rented, or completed and rented out, he is likely to get lower capital appreciation in such a project. But his risks will also be much less.

If he invests in a property that is under construction, he is likely to get more capital appreciation in it. But he will also have to face what is known as development risk—the risk that the project may be delayed or may not be completed at all. On the other hand, if he invests in a property that is completed but not rented, or completed and rented out, he is likely to get lower capital appreciation in such a project. But his risks will also be much less.

Owing to the slowdown in the real estate market and their inability to raise cash either from buyers or banks, developers nowadays offer assured return schemes on their commercial projects. It would be best for NRIs to avoid such schemes . In fact, the very offer of such a scheme indicates that the developer is probably in a tight corner financially. To avoid the risks that such schemes carry, NRIs should instead invest in a developer who has a strong track record and has the financial wherewithal to complete his project.

NRIs should also avoid investing in the soft launch of a commercial project. Developers offer a discount of 7-10% to investors who invest in their project at this early stage. This is the stage when the developer may not have completed the acquisition of land or acquired the permissions for developing the project. Due to the high risk involved, NRIs should avoid investing at this stage as well.

NRIs should also avoid investing in the soft launch of a commercial project. Developers offer a discount of 7-10% to investors who invest in their project at this early stage. This is the stage when the developer may not have completed the acquisition of land or acquired the permissions for developing the project. Due to the high risk involved, NRIs should avoid investing at this stage as well.

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NRIs may want to buy a residential property in India for self-use—for the time when they decide to return to the country eventually. Whilst buying residential property in India, especially in the metros, has become an expensive proposition, it makes sense for NRIs to make this purchase in advance only if they are absolutely sure about the fact that they will return, and are clear about the geography and amenities that they will require on their return.

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With the residential real estate segment witnessing a slowdown, there are multiple bargains and discounts to buy homes.

Long-term investors, having an investment horizon of 10 years plus, may go ahead and invest in residential real estate despite the current slowdown. Since the Indian economy is growing more rapidly than the developed countries of the West, NRIs are likely to earn a higher return on their real estate investment in India than abroad.

Long-term investors, having an investment horizon of 10 years plus, may go ahead and invest in residential real estate despite the current slowdown.

Outlook of the residential sector

The real estate sector in India continues to witness a slowdown, whose intensity, however, varies from one geography to another. Markets in the North, such as the NCR, have been affected more. When the bull market was on, these markets had witnessed higher price appreciation. These are also markets that were more investor-driven. On the other hand, markets in the South, such as Bangalore, where the price appreciation was more moderate, and which are more end-user driven, have been affected less.

Owing to the slowdown, developers are now focusing more on project completion and delivery rather than on launching new projects. A recent report from Cushman and Wakefield , an international real estate consultancy, states that between January and September 2015, 77,900 residential units were launched in the top eight metros of the country, a decline of 36% over the corresponding period last year.

A recent report from Cushman and Wakefield , an international real estate consultancy, states that between January and September 2015, 77,900 residential units were launched in the top eight metros of the country, a decline of 36% over the corresponding period last year.

Delhi NCR and Bengaluru together accounted for 35% of the total launches across the top eight cities. Delhi NCR witnessed a drop of 18% in new launches compared to the previous year, but still contributed 19% of total launches during the year. In 2015, Pune overtook Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai in total units launched, although it barely witnessed an increase over the last year, suggesting a steep fall in new launches in other cities. Ahmedabad and Hyderabad were the only cities that recorded significant increases in the number of units launched.

Capital values showed a mixed trend across cities based on local market forces. In September 2015, capital values in Bengaluru saw y-o-y appreciation in four sub-markets in the range of 3-7%. Prices remained stable in the mid-segment in most sub- markets since September last year. Delhi-NCR, on the other hand, witnessed softening of capital values in two of its sub- markets by 5%, namely in South-East and South-Central Delhi. Gurgaon and Noida witnessed stable capital values in the mid segment. In Mumbai, quoted capital values have largely remained range bound in the last one year. However, the closing value of transactions, after negotiation and taking into account the schemes offered by developers, is definitely at a discount, thereby indicating that prices are under pressure.

The report however also highlights that in the long run demand for housing will far outstrip supply in most major metros. Due to this supply shortage, capital appreciation is likely to be good over the long haul.

he report however also highlights that in the long run demand for housing will far outstrip supply in most major metros. Due to this supply shortage, capital appreciation is likely to be good over the long haul.

Do’s and don’ts

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Many developers hold exhibitions in foreign destinations aimed at wooing NRI buyers. The latter should not get taken in by the jazzy presentations and brochures of developers. Instead, they should get a friend or relative in India to visit the project site and offer feedback.

NRI’s should not get taken in by the jazzy presentations and brochures of developers. Instead, they should get a friend or relative in India to visit the project site and offer feedback.

If the NRI buyer plans to return to India eventually, he should buy the property in the city where he intends to settle down. It is also preferable to buy in the city where the NRI has a relative or friend who can look after the property and manage it.

Like local buyers, NRIs should do the legal due diligence. They should hire a lawyer to find out whether the developer is the rightful owner of the land on which he is developing the project. Land acquisition for the project should be complete before he invests in it. The developer should also have obtained all the clearances for developing the project.

NRIs should do the legal due diligence.

The NRI buyer should get his representative to visit the builder’s past projects and check whether he had delivered them on time, and whether he had delivered the promised facilities and specifications.

If the NRI buyer is buying the property primarily as an investment (for rental yield and capital appreciation), he should choose a city where a lot of economic development and job growth is expected in the future. The project should be located at a convenient distance from an office or manufacturing hub and should be well connected to it. This will make it easier for the NRI owner to find tenants.

If the NRI buyer is buying the property primarily as an investment (for rental yield and capital appreciation), he should choose a city where a lot of economic development and job growth is expected in the future.

Owing to the slowdown, most developers, especially in the North, are facing a cash crunch. Consequently, project delays have become common. To circumvent what is known as “development risk”, NRIs should consider investing in completed projects.

To circumvent what is known as “development risk”, NRIs should consider investing in completed projects.

Developers are offering discounts to push sales amid the slowdown. NRIs should not agree to pay the initial price quoted by the builder but should get their representative to negotiate and get the best possible price.

NRIs should also avoid paying a high percentage of the total cost of the apartment upfront, even if the developer offers a discount on such payment schemes.

NRIs should avoid paying a high percentage of the total cost of the apartment upfront, even if the developer offers a discount on such payment schemes.

Finally, an NRI investing in residential real estate in India should not expect quick and easy returns. He should have an investment horizon of at least 10 years if he wants to enjoy a reasonable return on his investment.

 

 

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Easy ways to make use of real estate – http://ow.ly/2sNn1

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WITH SIGNIFICANT interest in theIndia growth story amongst both foreigners and Indians alike, both stock markets and real estate prices have been moving with an upward trajectory over the last 12 months.

Equity exposure has been possible through investing in small chunks due to availability of small lot sizes and mutual funds.

However real estate, especially in the metros, has tended to require large com-mitments. We felt it may be prudent to look at avenues for investors to participate in the real estate growth story with smaller initial outlays.

Real Estate Funds:

Whilst real estate funds have existed in the past, they were available only with very large commit-ments. Over time, these products have got more broad based and allow investments in smaller chunks. Essentially, these funds raise money from investors and enter into arrangements with developers to fund their projects.

Since the funds typically have management teams with a superior understand-ing of demand/supply trends, pricing and developer quality, they are in a position to identify multiple opportunities and make a more objective investment decision. They offer the benefit of diversification with smaller sums of monies, as they could invest in different geographies as well as different types of real estate including commercial, residential and retail.

Most of these products also offer a gradual payment program. However, they do not have too much liquidity and requircommit-ments for 6-8 years in line with the ideal investment horizon for real estate investments.

Primary market purchases/Buying under construction real estate:

Since many developers offer construction linked payment schedules, it is possible to use a combination of future cash flows and existing investments to build on this investment strategy.

This is akin to doing a systematic investment plan in real estate albeit at a fixed locked in rate, except for the fact that a default could result in heavy penalties/forfeiture so it is critical to bite only what one can chew.

A couple of precautions are critical here  firstly, quality and reputation of the builder are critical as there are a large number of cases where financing constraints for the developer end up delaying the project for abnormally long periods.

Secondly, a clear understanding on the cash flows as the initial stages require much larger commitments and you could end up hav-ing to put away as much as 85-90 per cent of the project cost one year before possession.

Primary/Secondary market purchases using leverage:

Availability of leverage at attractive rates and the associated tax benefits make real estate an interesting option to consider.

However, please remember that the leverage has a cost attached to it and this needs to be built into the overall cost of investment.

A large number of real estate investors do not account for the interest costs as a part of the overall cost of the investment, thereby believing that the return on investment is higher than what it actually is.

Besides, leverage is a double edged sword when real estate goes through its periods of downturn.

With interest rates likely to start moving upwards over the next few quarters, this tool will need to be used cautiously especially as a large number of loans today are what we call honeymoon loans  low fixed rates in the beginning and set to climb sharply over the next few years. Please keep in mind that these are recommendations for real estate investors andnot end users.

Also remember that real estate investments are not risk free and are exposed to volatility contrary to what many investors have come to believe over the last few years.

This article was written by Vishal Dhawan, CFPCM and appeared in the Asian Age  on 11th July 2010 .

 

 

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