Mumbai: Indians still believe in saving and investing regularly for their future, reports a trend analysis by life insurer Aviva, despite the steady growth in expenditure vis-à-vis savings over the last four years.
However, the research shows that 57 per cent of pre-retired Indians think that they will have to work beyond their normal retirement date to fund their retirement, a steady rise from 40 per cent in 2004 and 45 per cent of Indians still don't know where to seek financial advice. Just over a half admit that they don't really understand about "pensions, savings policies and things like that" even as the survey highlighted that making provision for family (protection and education) and healthcare are key concerns for Indians today.
The survey, titled Consumer Attitude towards Savings, displays that while Indian consumers still consider savings important, the booming economy has led to a steady increase in their spending over saving. Lack of good advice emerged a key deterrent to savings, along with perceived lack of choice, and of course, as around 20 per cent of the respondents put it, a lack of interest - more than twice the global average.
57 per cent of Indians are happy to have a short-term debt to allow them to have a higher spending power than their 40 per cent global counterparts. However, compared to other economies such as some Southern European countries and Russia, India still continues to be favourably inclined towards savings. The study surveyed representative samples in key metros - Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore.
Aviva partnered with strategic research consultancy Henley Centre Headlight Vision, to conduct this annual global survey, which polled 80,000 people over four years in 24 countries, in 2007. India has been a part of this survey since it was first carried out in 2004.
Speaking at the launch Bert Paterson, managing director and CEO, Aviva India, stated, "It is heartening to find that Indians continue to save, keeping the future in mind. While there might be an abrasion in the near term, over a longer term horizon savings does play a very important part in their lifestyle. However, it is important to note that while savings is important, retirement planning is a serious issue. Our research highlights that while Indian consider investment in property and our savings tools, structured investments in retirement is not yet being given due consideration."
He added, "As per the study, close to 40 per cent of Indians look at the internet for advice on financial planning. This is an impressive figure for internet take up in a fast developing economy. We can expect this to rise in the future too. We launched Six-Steps in the UK last year and the site has been a huge success and garnered a lot of industry support. India is the first Business Unit to adopt the site and launch it. Six-Steps is an independent website that will promote financial literacy. The objective is to help people take informed decision on their retirement planning. The website will also work as a guide book, with financial experts providing professional advice."
Highlights of the survey:
- Indian consumers understand the importance of saving regularly (42 per cent compared to global average of 35 per cent). However, the research showed that booming economies tend to drive spending rather than saving (40 per cent of Indians state that they prefer spending rather than saving, compared to 28 per cent globally)
- When it comes to reasons for saving, family and healthcare are particularly important savings motivations, while lack of choice and advice are important barriers to savings, as well as simply not being bothered
- Indians are increasingly embracing risk, driven by the healthy economy, (24 per cent of Indians state that they are more prepared to take financial risks than they were five years ago, compared to 18 per cent globally) and demonstrated a strong trend toward higher performance potential products (preferred by 24 per cent) and away from lower guarantee style products (preferred by 12 per cent). Globally, the situation is the opposite with 19 per cent opting for performance potential, and 31 per cent for guaranteed rates of return
- When it comes to trust, across the board, Indians are more likely to trust companies and institutions to be honest, and show much higher levels of trust than the global average. This is particularly strong for the Press too.
- In financial services, insurance companies attract higher levels of trust than other types of institution, and this is rising for all types too. (While 84 per cent of Indians trust insurance companies to be honest and fair, the figure is 32 per cent)
- Indians have higher levels of interest in finances than the rest of the world (42 per cent v/s 31 per cent) yet the majority admit that they feel that they don't understand pensions and savings, (52 per cent v/s 26 per cent) and don't consider themselves to be great planners, compared to the rest of the world (50 per cent v/s 38 per cent)
- Many Indian consumers do not know where to find independent information, at a level much higher than the global average, (45 per cent v/s 27 per cent) and turn to their informal networks - friends and family rather than professionals for financial advice (62 per cent think it better to turn to friends and family, while 33 per cent state banks and financial advisers)
- This is beginning to get through to the pre-retired - there are signs that concern and worry about retirement are leading to higher levels of action 57 per cent of pre-retirees think they are going to have to work beyond their normal date of retirement to fund their retirement (up from 40 per cent in 2004) and 59 per cent state that they are taking steps now to ensure they have an adequate level of income during my retirement
Six-Steps takes people through six simple steps towards planning a secure and financially healthy retirement:
Step 1 - Take control - where in you take charge of the finances to plan ahead
Step 2- Know yourself - to find out all about money and risk taking appetite
Step 3 - Save little and often - so that one consistently saves for long term benefits
Step 4 - Invest for the future - via various long term investment options
Step 5 - Protect yourself, and - the money earned, family and future essential needs
Step 6 - Get advice - from a financial adviser in order to implement saving plans
Aviva has conducted extensive research, which has shown that people across the globe seek advice before taking financial decisions. Six-Steps aims to educate people on the right way to financial planning. The website is designed such that it is user friendly and easily accessible.