EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Most of the time Doctors do not pay attention towards their retirement planning as they think that it is not for them. They pay more attention towards their professional achievement and other family goals. But who knows what is in the future. Doctors consider it as a complex activity however it is not impossible task. With little planning, discipline and focused investment this task can also be achieved. In this article we have shared some of the ways through which planning can be made easy for doctors.
1. Get rid of Debt before Retirement – For doctors education loan is the biggest debt in the initial stage of their earning life. They should plan and pay it off as early as possible. Many doctors during their career take a huge loan either to build hospital or poly clinic. They should target and pay back the loan before retirement as living with debt during retirement can be very harmful. Also, in case of loans, extra care should be taken on the expenses incurred by doctors because control over personal expenses maybe useful in the future, but inability to pay the loan may prove to be very regretful in the upcoming years. However, with paying off the debt they should also start saving / investing so that both the things are taken care off.
2. Set Realistic goals: Even if debt is not the most significant factor, one should always have clarity on a long term goals. Does one wish to establish a clinic in the future? Is it going to be a hospital? How is it going to work out during the time of retirement? A target date has to be identified for this. One should try and attach the present income with the target set. Many doctors just assume based on their income as for them the target date may not matter, because of the thought that there is always going to be a plenty of time available. A clear vision may help one to work harder and get scope for improvement in monetary terms. Once the other goals are on track, doctors can then plan for retirement without any hurdle. Vague ideas may not prove to be fruitful for the retirement or any long term goal. It just enhances the delay of savings.
4. Consider basic investment principles: How one invests can be as important as how much one saves. Inflation and the type of investments, plays an important role in how much one will have saved by the time of retirement. Choosing investment product according to the goal can be beneficial, like investment in equity proves to be a very advantageous concept for a long term goal like, child’s course fee or establishment of a hospital or for retirement. In the same way investments into debt markets is good for short-term purpose. Also, diversifying one’s saving over the financial products can be a good strategy as it reduces risk and gains good returns.
5. Do not compromise on Retirement Savings: No matter how important goal it maybe, one should never compromise on retirement savings. For example - one may have a child who wants to get into a course costing Rs.1 Cr and the amount is getting short by 30 lakh, so it’s better to try and get a loan that time which child will pay off once he/she gets a job. If you try to take out money from retirement corpus then it may hurt you very bad as you may not be able to save it up again. To avoid such situations one should treat retirement savings as expenses and should invest it into separate dedicated account through SIP (Systematic Investment Plan), NPS (National Pension Scheme), PPF (Public Provident Fund), etc.
It is understood that doctors go through a tough time completing the studies and at a later stage a proper lifestyle starts; however, it is never too late to plan and start implementing to achieve a goal. Remember “Retirement Planning” is complex but not impossible, so start planning early and make your post retirement life healthy and wealthy.