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We all have multiple goals, which we plan to achieve at different points in our lives but retirement tends to be one of the biggest goals. Unlike other goals, which have limited periods of outflows, for example higher education for children could last for 4-7 years depending upon the choice of course, but in the case of retirement,you chalk out a plan for the rest of your life,possibly for almost 1/4th of your life assuming life expectancy till 80 years and retirement age to be 60 years. This implies that the sooner you start the better it is.

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If you are in your 40s then your kids might be in school and as you move towards the late 40s, your kids will be finishing schooling and you may be nearing you child’s graduation goal. The fact that retirement occurs very late in your life maymean that you tend to keep it aside and start working towards your near term goals like your child’s higher education. This way you will never really find an appropriate time to start saving for your retirement.

If you have not started yet, then start now.

Here is what you can do:

Determine goal value

Determine the current value of your expenses. Calculate the cost you would need in the year of your retirement by applying inflation to it. Estimate the expenses which you will incur post retirement. Remember there will be some difference in those expenses. For instance your household expenses will reduce since your kids will be independent by then. You lifestyle expenses could decrease, your medical expenses could go up, your loans could be totally paid off so you may not have any EMI burden, most insurance policies may have matured, so there will not be any premiums outflow to be planned for. Be reasonable while estimating expenses. Do not go overboard nor be overly conservative.

Investment for your goal

You may find the amount of investment that you need to make this goal achievable, will be greater than what it would have otherwise been had you started earlier. This does not mean you need to go up to 100% equity or riskier assets just to accumulatethe desired corpus in lesser amount of time. The correct approach is to have an asset allocation in place depending upon your risk tolerance and appetite. Take calculated risks. If you are too conservative, it may not serve the purpose because it will keep you from generating inflation beating returns. Being too aggressive on the other hand will also not help because risk of loss will be higher since you are not diversifying across asset classes.

After you have an asset allocation in place, you will need to choose products to invest. Since equity performs well if you stay invested for the long term, you can allocate more towards equity, little less towards debt and some amount in gold for diversification purpose. On the equity side you can look at Equity mutual funds. Go for open ended diversified mutual funds. Avoid closed ended products. Within equity funds you can look at flexi cap funds where it is a mix of large, mid or small cap. If you are in a higher tax bracket and you have not exhausted your 80 C limit you can look at Equity Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS).

As you get older, increase exposure to debt and reduce equity. On the debt side you can look at Public Provident Fund which has a lock-in period of 15 years. Beyond that it is extendable every five years. NRIs cannot open a PPF account. If you already have a PPF and in between your status changes to NRI then you will not be allowed to extend for five years once your PPF matures. The EEE ( Exempt Exempt Exempt) status of PPF makes it an attractive investment option especially in a falling interest scenario like the one we are in right now.If you are employed, look at contributions to the Voluntary Provident Fund ( VPF). You can also look at balanced funds which are a mix of ~65% in equity and rest in fixed income if you want a bit of both.

New Pension Scheme (NPS) is another option which is again a good investment option for retirement since it will provide regular income post your retirement. It will also enable you to take an additional deduction of Rs. 50,000 under section 80CCD 1 B which is over and above the Rs. 1.50 lakh benefit under 80C.

To add gold to your portfolio you can use a Gold ETF or buy Gold bonds.

Remember, we are in a dynamic environment. Therefore your investments will need to be reviewed and rebalanced periodically.

Image credits:      www.arabianbusiness.com            , www.workingmother.com

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