Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Another unpublished article

Had sent the following article to the supplement called Nxg (Next Generation) of the daily newspaper The Hindu for a column called "Think Tank" which features articles on new trends and such. This one didn't get published and I thought I might as well post it here.

Ever considered retiring early? If you think that you are still studying or have barely started off your career and hence it is not prudent to think along these lines, read on. The notion caught some people's attention when it was mentioned in the Hindi movie, " Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara", where a lead actor pursues this goal; the crux of the movie is that we should enjoy life for what it is every now and then though. Regardless, looks like the idea of an early retirement is soon to become cliched with many classes of working professionals.

Several professionals who have the drive and passion for the profession early on in their career do not have the same later on. If anything at all is culpable towards this disposition, it is perhaps the challenges that are part and parcel of some professions which often than not, make it difficult to attain work life balance; this could very well be one of the reasons that the workforce of some professions such as the IT and the hospitality industry is so young. The few for whom the passion for the job outweighs everything else, do endure.

Many people who think of retiring early are now looking at the relatively young age of 40 to quit on their profession and start something else anew; and planning for one could mean anything to anyone. For some, it could mean travelling the world, while some simply love the idea of not having to wake up to a schedule; for some, it is about spending time with family, while for others it could mean cultivating new interests, to explore the unexplored. As a contrast, many pursue their hobby on a more serious level.

Pursuing one's hobby after retiring early comes with its own set of intrinsic advantages. Though it is ideal if one chooses his or her passion as their profession, it sometimes happens that people lose track of themselves in the hustle and bustle of life and enter the rat race with what is less than one's true calling, willingly or unwillingly; and hence taking up one's hobby pensively offers a chance to redeem oneself.

Such hobbies include Photography, Writing, Stock market trading, Gardening, Translation, Interior Designing, Event Management, and many, many more. The list is endless with possibilities. I have heard of professionals who have even taken up agriculture with their ancestral land in their native places. The congenial aspect of this is that, one can add value to the hobby by virtue of bringing to the fore the technical prowess or any other quality that one accrued along the way of their profession. Making your hobby pay off through freelancing means that one can leisurely work even at home at a convenient time and saves a lot of time on commute. Apart from that, it offers the freedom of being one's own boss.

Needless to say, planning an early retirement comes with the territory. It requires an individual to more than put his or her financial house in order. It is pertinent to be practical; after all, at the end of the day there are bills to be paid and financial goals to be met with including planning for a regular retirement, which often prove eluding even in the presence of a regular source of income and when there is a disruption of that, there is definitely an overhead with planning for an early retirement.

So if an individual ever considers an early retirement, the sooner he works towards this resolve and the younger he is, the better it is. He needs to be pragmatic about things such as his investment portfolio and the returns from it, his savings, his expenses, his short term and long term financial goals, backup plan in case of unforeseen circumstances which may make things go south, how inflation will affect his life during his silver years and how to deal with it and so on.

Early retirement or not, here's to living happily, professionally and otherwise!

- Akihtra is an IT professional with a penchant for Personal Finance and the elusive Income Tax

Two TED talks I liked

I recently came across the following two TED talks, both of which I liked. In the first one, the Speaker talks about why it is important t...