“Money Matters” for only 1 in 3 Indians during retirement life as health still remains the predominant aspect, according to the India Retirement Index Study (IRIS) done by Max Life Insurance Company Ltd. in collaboration with KANTAR. 3,220 respondents were polled by digital research in 28 cities, including 6 metros, 12 Tier I cities, and 10 Tier II cities.
The report placed India's Retirement Index at 44 on a scale of 0 to 100, which is the degree to which Indians feel prepared for tomorrow’s retired life.
While emotional readiness saw a considerable decline from 62 to 59, indicating growing reliance on family, friends, and social support throughout retirement, health and financial preparedness stood at 41 and 49 percent, respectively.
In the study, 90% of respondents over the age of 50 expressed regret over not beginning to save for retirement sooner.
Inflation has become a bigger motivator for retirement investing under economic instability. Even while the majority of Indians now agree that starting retirement planning before the age of 35 is a good idea, 37% of Indians have not yet made any retirement investments, and 23% are unsure of where to start, demonstrating a severe lack of financial understanding.
Prashant Tripathy, Managing Director and CEO, Max Life Insurance said, "As India’s life expectancy increases and health trends change, the country’s elderly population is projected to grow nearly 41% to 194 million by 2031. There is also a review underway of the retirement age in India to align it with the increasing life expectancy. As industry and the wider ecosystem take steps in a positive direction, the robust and well-represented study reveals that Indians are also realizing the need to plan for retirement early. However, the awareness is yet to translate into action in terms of proactively saving and investing," mint reported.
Despite the continued prevalence of nuclear families i.e.65%, urban India continues to rely heavily on family when making retirement plans. More than half of urban Indians (54%) prefer to live with their children after retirement. In addition, 26% of Indians, up from 21% previously, are concerned about becoming lonely in their later years.
There is a significant disconnect between what individuals believe and what they begin to do in reality. Although life insurance is preferred by 69% of respondents as the best retirement product, uptake remains sluggish.
Four out of ten Indians desire to have a healthy retirement, yet more than half don't engage in regular exercise. The research also emphasized the need to boost the frequency of health checks, which have remain unchanged for the past three years.
Although optimism prevails with 70% Indians continuing to feel positive about retired life. However, overall, as a nation, our retirement index stayed flat over last one year leaving room for huge improvement and immediate action collectively.