<news article> No country for old men

#1 Jul 20th, 2016, 17:13
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I've seen this question come up, often by people planning to retire in India, including many who have a view that India is sort of a paradise due to its low cost living. This article published today in ET is pertinent.

No country for old men! India is the worst place for retirement, says global index

By Chiranjivi Chakraborty


, ECONOMICTIMES.COM|
Jul 20, 2016, 01.16 PM IST

India also ranked the worst for happiness, air quality and water sanitation while improving its score in governance, interest rate level and non-insured health expenditure.
NEW DELHI: Retiring in India is very bad idea. The country ranked last in the Natixis Global Asset Management's fourth annual Global Retirement Index (GRI), making it the world's worst country for retirees.

Switzerland, Norway and Iceland are among the top three countries to retire, followed by the United States, which is ranked 14th.

The list by Natixis ranks 43 nations compared to 150 last year with 34 from IMF's advanced economies, five from OECD and four from BRICS.

In last year's survey, India scored No. 88 among the 150 countries ranked, but was the worst performing BRICS country.

The methodology changed this year with 5-year average of real interest and inflation being considered, instead of the earlier 3 years.

The annual retirement index is compiled with the objective of providing a global benchmark for retirees and future retirees to evaluate and compare the suitability of nations globally in meeting retirement expectations, needs and ambitions, the report said.

Elderly population in India crossed the 100 million mark back in 2014 with half of them below the poverty line. A report by HelpAge India last year said that elderly will constitute 20 per cent of India's population by 2050. The same report pegged India's elderly population at 143 million by 2021.

India's performance in the GRIs sub-index Health was worst among the 43 nations.

"In the health sub-index, India ranks last. India has a health index score of just 4%, the lowest score in any sub-index in this year's GRI," the report said.

India has the lowest ranks for health expenditure per capita, non-insured health expenditure and life expectancy out of all countries measured in this year's GRI. While people in urban areas have greater access to adequate healthcare services, India's massive rural population is still denied basic healthcare, the report added.

India's budgetary allocation stands at 1.3 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which pales in comparison to the BRICS allocation of anywhere between 3.5-4 per cent of GDP and is almost half of the 12th five-year plan's target of 2.5 per cent of GDP.

However, the country performed well in old-age dependency (1st) and tax pressure (3rd) but its consistently high inflation and high public debt for a developing country is a problem, the report notes.

India also ranked the worst for happiness, air quality and water sanitation while improving its score in governance, interest rate level and non-insured health expenditure.

"India is last in the quality of Life sub-index with a score of 6%. India has the lowest score for air quality, happiness and water and sanitation and the second to last in biodiversity and habitat," Natixis said in the report.

Link to Natixis report - http://ngam.natixis.com/docs/398/951...port_Final.pdf
#2 Jul 21st, 2016, 04:23
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Interesting article. Statistics are an estimated guide. As the OP, what's your point of view?
#3 Jul 21st, 2016, 12:51
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I'm not good at handling money, hence posted the article, instead. Broadly, inflation in food prices, healthcare (esp post '05 - cost of medicine and procedure), and the lack of a state sponsored social security system are sufficient reasons to worry.
#4 Jul 21st, 2016, 12:59
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In my limited opinion / knowledge Philippines represents the best value for retiree seeking a low cost retirement. The cost of living outside capital is less, houses are cheaper to rent and transport is not too bad either.

Second on the list should be Malyasia for similar reasons and third would be Thailand.

My honest advise to would be retiree is, if you can afford to live in your own country, retire there. Without enough funds, no place is a picnic.
Last edited by Govindpuri; Jul 21st, 2016 at 17:56..
#5 Jul 21st, 2016, 17:20
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Quote:
The annual retirement index is compiled with the objective of providing a global benchmark for retirees and future retirees to evaluate and compare the suitability of nations globally in meeting retirement expectations, needs and ambitions, the report said.
IMO, the whole premise of the reports quoted is flawed.

There are so many factors to determine where someone would choose to spend her/his twilight years. Luckily I have a few decades to go before I'm to decide.

The most important factor is family. Followed on closely by money, personal fitness (physical and mental) and local ties (friends and language). Quality healthcare is another consideration. A comparative statistical ranking like the ones above are not useful at all, because those parameters I've listed vary from individual to individual. For instance, even if Switzerland, Norway and Iceland (or Phillipines and Malaysia) allowed me to stay there in retirement, I would not choose those places as I have no personal links to them. For the above parameters and in my personal circumstances, the considerations would be either the UK or India.

When I considered moving to India with my dad (8 years after losing my mom) I discovered that one of the most important thing which had to be taken into account was his personal mobility. At 75, he did not have the agility and the alertness required to negotiate road traffic and obstacles safely on suburban Bombay roads. He found it difficult even to cross a road safely with two/three/four wheelers careering all about him. Whilst he was comfortable driving in the UK, he did not have the confidence to do so in Bombay. A solution was to have a car and 24 hour driver service at his disposal.

I found that the quality of healthcare in Bombay was excellent, with ready access to some of the best doctors and medical facilities in the world.

At home in Bombay, the easy availability of well managed home help would give him a comfortable routine with three freshly cooked meals a day and a splendid choice of local restaurants and bars for entertaining. No issue there. In London, I found it difficult to juggle work, kitchen and home sometimes, despite home help.

He had more friends in the UK/USA than in India, having been very active socially throughout his life in London. This was a big negative to moving to India, but he would have visited London and the USA a few times a year, so this point was not insurmountable.

His two other children (my sisters) were in London and Princeton, with their kids. His grandchildren were his joy, but they could all meet regularly as everyone travels a lot between these places. It could be handled.

Finally, he was open to moving to Bombay if that is what I really wanted to do. He was adaptable and open-minded enough to give me the choice. It was I that couldn't make up my mind. I still can't. So, though we bought the flat in Bombay, we did not move. He passed away later that year, in London.

To sum up, all those stats and reports and comparisons mean nothing when it comes to real life situations. Even money can't buy you a decision.
#6 Jul 21st, 2016, 21:35
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#6
Well, i have recently "retired" and here is my two bits:
- It makes sense to stay in the country/state/area you are most familiar with, have roots, have friends, family, social circles, activities, and emergency help.
- Gujarati is not my mother tongue, but having stayed here for more than 5 decades, i consider myself a Gujarati. I am happy here, and do not contemplate living anywhere else. What is important for people to understand is that relationships do matter and at the end of the day, Man is a social animal...
#7 Jul 21st, 2016, 21:35
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#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earthian View Post ... at the end of the day, Man is a social animal...
Well, he is a social animal during the day too.
#8 Jul 21st, 2016, 21:50
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India is a country with astronomical income inequality, and so averages do not tell the story. For the rich (i.e. those who post here, including my parents who worked for the government and therefore got generous increases in pension year after year) India is great. If you are poor, as most Indians are, retirement in India is harsh. Most people suffer unnecessarily in their later years and die horribly. And since there are many more poor people than rich people, the average statistics are bad as well.

There are few social services; medical care is cheap but bad if you're not rich; you can't even get urgent care if you have a heart attack. (The ambulance will come if you know their phone number---no 911 here---and can pay the money up front, but it's just a taxi service, they have no medical equipment or skilled staff.) To survive in India you need to have relatives who really care about you and will do what is needed. They have to take you to the hospital in a taxi, and stay with you to defend you against uncaring staff, even at expensive hospitals.

Unfortunately, all this suffering happens out of sight and is invisible to you and me.
#9 Jul 21st, 2016, 21:54
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@Vishva, sorry about the loss of your father, hope it was not too recent.

You are also younger than I imagined, (of course I have no business imagining things about other IMers, but ).

Your point about family is correct, provided everyone gets on. When I first came back to India, the FRRO officer warned me to be careful, as he had seen numerous cases where other family members tried to get the newcomer deported, so that they can get their hands on any assets they may have.

I also think it depends on the community you live in. Bombay I think is far more open minded. Unfortunately in my community older people are supposed to stay at home and not be a burden.

To be honest I am dreading my old(er) age. I have no children so getting things done is going to be difficult.

In India everything is more complicated compared to the UK/US. While buying selling a flat/house is relatively simple there in India its a nightmare.
Lord, Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to hide the bodies of those people I had to kill because they pissed me off.
#10 Jul 21st, 2016, 22:07
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#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by ViShVa View Post Luckily I have a few decades to go before I'm to decide.
For the next life ?
#11 Jul 21st, 2016, 22:13
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Lot's of North American retirees in Mexico and Central America where the living is cheap and not so far from their families in the states or Canada. Also South America is a bargain with expats retiring there also..
"Travel is fatal to prejudice,bigotry and narrow-mindedness" Mark Twain
#12 Jul 21st, 2016, 22:20
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#12
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPG View Post If you are poor, as most Indians are, retirement in India is harsh. Most people suffer unnecessarily in their later years and die horribly.
Well, the point was: "where could one retire, given his current economic status?"
Hence, irrespective of ones economic status, it makes sense to retire in the place he she has comfort by way of help, family, friends and so on.
Incidentally, the family values of those in the lower economic strata are much "better" than those up the strata. Meaning, they care for their aged much better than the rich....
#13 Jul 21st, 2016, 22:44
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#13
What a depressing thread.

What is the guarantee that I won't die before I retire? (Well, I am half retired and probably half dead anyway right now....)
.
This is computer generated drivel. No signature is required.
#14 Jul 21st, 2016, 23:58
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@ capt_mahajan - there is no guaranty of avoiding a premature departure. But planning a place to get the best out of finite financial resources for a fruitful life is certainly more challenging than depressing in my case.


@ JOHNLORD - that was in 2008. I absolutely agree with all your points. India is not for the fainthearted and timid. Just getting a gas connection and keeping it active is a pain in the neck. That's one of the easy issues - buying and selling property as a foreigner is a nightmare.


@ iamsomnath - they increased the retirement age here to 70 for men! ... I have miles to go before I sleep!


@ Earthian -
Quote:
- It makes sense to stay in the country/state/area you are most familiar with, have roots, have friends, family, social circles, activities, and emergency help.
I couldn't agree more. My real dilemma is that I have all except one of those criteria in qualitative and quantitative abundance in both places. The exception is family. My close family are all either in the UK or the USA, but they are my siblings and their families, so not immediate family in the 'nuclear' sense.

I disagree with you when you say that:
Quote:
... the family values of those in the lower economic strata are much "better" than those up the strata. Meaning, they care for their aged much better than the rich....
I know of a growing number of property/inheritance disputes and of an ever increasing number of abandoned parents in lower income groups in Bombay and Delhi (those are the only two places I know really well). Some of these old folk only survive due to the charity and kindness of neighbours and distant relatives. I know of many super wealthy families, both in India and in the UK, that would not entertain, even for a moment, the thought of sending their parents to a nursing home. Their family members (including newly married daughters in law) have dedicated their lives to dealing personally with their elders' dementia, incontinence and disability at home, with nursing help from time to time. And they continue with their careers.

I think that as a single person, the determining factor for me is mental and physical disability. India is a hard place unless you are surrounded by people that cherish you. Do I find it depressing? Not at all. Is it an unknown? Yes.


@ RPG - If the report was a comparator of economic development in the selected countries, that would have been fine.

My issue with the report is that it does not fulfil in any useful way its stated "objective of providing a global benchmark for retirees and future retirees to evaluate and compare the suitability of nations globally in meeting retirement expectations, needs and ambitions".

Because of the lack of a social and medical welfare safety net, poor persons in their unmarried '20s are better off in the UK. Poor persons with a young family in their '30s and '40s are better off in the UK. Poor persons in their middle age are better off in the UK. Poor pensioners are better off in the UK. By "better off", I mean that the social welfare net allows them to live and struggle through financially difficult times with a modicum of dignity and independence which would be impossible to do in India. Free universal healthcare is taken so much for granted in Europe, but it is priceless.

The ability to choose a retirement place is usually reserved for the reasonably well off.


There was a 3-part programme aired recently called "The Real Marigold Hotel"

It charted the trials and tribulations of "Eight famous faces (who) travel to India to see what retirement abroad could offer them." It was hilarious yet poignantly touching to see these hapless clueless individuals even considering the idea of a retirement in Jaipur.


source
#15 Jul 22nd, 2016, 00:03
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#15
@ iamsomnath - they increased the retirement age here to 70 for men! ... I have miles to go before I ..

some more mileage they will squeeze outta us , anyway , earth is kinda good :-D
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