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Shatayushi Bhava Is it a blessing or a curse?

Updated: Feb 28

This is the traditional blessing showered upon the young by the elderly people. It means May you live to be 100.

Obviously, a lot of us do want to be living till 100 or more!

But, is it possible to live till 100?

Dr. Aubry de Grey famously said in 2011, The first person to live up to 150 years of age is already born. Aubry deGrey is not just a rambling old man. He is a bio medical gerontologist and chief scientist of a foundation dedicated to longevity research.

Let us see how true it can be and if it is, whether it is really a blessing.

One thing is sure that there has been a dramatic improvement of life spans in last 50 years. E.g. A person born in 1960 had an average life span of 42.45 years, so a lot of them should have been dead by now. But this has not happened because life expectancy has continuously increased, so much so, that for kids born in 2011 the life expectancy is 65.48. These are average figures for the country where, in many backward areas we still have high mortality rates among young children. The life expectancy figures for the metropolitan cities are much higher. And because we are still talking about averages, there is a significant number of people who beat the averages and live well into their 80s and 90s.

Looking at the pace at which life spans are increasing especially in the cities where advanced medical care is easily available, individuals who are in their 30s and 40s and healthy individuals in their 50s can really expect to become Shatayushi.

So, is it really a blessing? Implications of living up to 100 years

Most top level busy executives experience a burn out relatively early in their life and talk of retiring in their mid fifties if not earlier. Even expecting that they work as consultants later and earn an income up to age 65, they still have to sustain themselves for 35 more years, with the corpus they accumulate at retirement.

If you are working for 35 years and leading a retired life for 35 years, we can say that you have to earn to spend not only for this month but also for the same month 35 years later, so your one-month income has to sustain 2 months of expenditure. The big problem is that these months are not immediate but are 35 years apart and so the expenses are not the same.

Currently the inflation is in double digits but as we are considering a period of 35 years let us assume an inflation of around 7% (expenses doubling every 10 years) After 35 years the expenses increase by a multiple of 12.33. So if your monthly expense is Rs. 40,000 today, 35 years later it will be Rs. 493200 per month. So 35 years later you will require Rs. 60 lakhs per year just for your expenses.

If this sounds too far fetched, ask your parents what was their monthly expense 35 years earlier, in 1978.

You live long because of the advances in medical science due to which previously fatal diseases can now be cured or at least controlled. This obviously comes with a price. You will have to budget more and more for medical expenses which will definitely eat into your retirement savings.

What needs to be done?

Over a very long time the change in figures whether it is an income or expense number, it is mind-boggling. This is nothing but the compounding effect.

So the simplest solution is to create an investment programme based on your risk profile and time horizon towards your goal and stick to it.

Lets take an example of a 25 year old that has joined the work force and saving and investing Rs. 5000 a month. Let us assume that he doubles this saving every 5 years. This is not difficult to imagine because even at 15% increase, the salary doubles in that period but the expenses do not.

If this investment earns even at 10% per year, the amount available at age 60 is a mind boggling 9.13 crores.

The calculation is as follows:

Additional Amount per month

Total amount per month

No. of years

Total amount at the end of period

5000

35

18900000

5000

10000

30

11300000

10000

20000

25

13200000

20000

40000

20

15100000

40000

80000

15

16500000

80000

160000

10

16300000

Total

91300000

Becoming a shatayushi may depend on your genes, health habits and luck, but becoming a happy and financially stress free shatayushi, you have to remember the following:

  1. Invest regularly preferably on a monthly basis. It is the easiest method of investing.

  2. Start now. Start with the maximum amount you can, and stay aggressive. Be always on the lookout for increasing your monthly savings.

  3. Buy adequate health insurance. Health problems are not only physically debilitating, but also are a drain on your finances. You don’t want an extended hospitalisation to derail your carefully built up corpus for your dream vacation or for your kids college fees corpus.

  4. Buy adequate life insurance. Ok, you may not become a Shatayushi, but your spouse could very well be and if you really want to fulfill your marriage vows, you have to take care of her even in death because who knows she could be a Shatayushi, and you wouldn’t want her to outlive her income.

  5. Consult a personal financial advisor. The above steps are simple but not easy to follow. There is plenty of information on the net but you need to make sense of this information. And your neighbor, friend, office colleague may not be the person to do this. If at all you want to seek advice, do seek it from a qualified advisor.

Shatayushi Bhava

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