India’s leading digital wealth manager, Scripbox, announced the results of its annual Financial Freedom survey earlier today. The survey is conducted ahead of Independence Day and is now in its fourth edition. It seeks to understand the preparedness among Indians to be financially free with a special focus on retirement planning this year. The majority of respondents are in the age bracket of 34-55 years.
This year's study has established the increasing maturity towards financial planning in general. More than 75% of the respondents understand the value of having a financial plan in achieving their life goals and have started building one. In fact, one in every two Indians has prioritised building a financial plan to ensure an increase in their wealth, which was 28% in 2020 and 41% in 2021.
Maturity towards financial planning is also matched by action. 40% of the respondents say they prefer to seek the help of digital investment platforms, owing to the accuracy of technology and the assistance in decision making. The desire to not leave financial planning to chance has also been growing- a post-pandemic phenomenon. 32% of the respondents aim to have a financial plan to help meet their long-term goals.
There is higher awareness about long-term investing and an increased sense of achieving financial freedom among the respondents this year . However, the study has highlighted the lack of preparedness around retirement planning, even though it has been cited as the second most important priority, after financial planning. 80% are not confident about their plans post-retirement. The study shows that 65% manage their finances on their own, and only 20% are considering getting professional advice. The combination of managing one’s own finances, and the lack of confidence in their retirement planning further highlights the importance of professional advice.
Our survey also establishes that a whopping 62% of respondents have begun actively saving for retirement only after turning 30. Among financial instruments used for investing for the golden years, equity mutual funds emerged as the number 1 choice among 75% of all respondents. This is followed by Employee Provident Fund (EPF), used by 44% and Personal Provident Fund (PPF), voted for by 43%. Insurance is the last choice as an investment option for retirement and was picked by only 23%. This shows that there is a growing understanding of insurance being more a protection, and not an investment.
“It is heartening to see more people understand the need to build a financial plan and focus on long-term goals such as retirement. ‘Stay invested and keep investing’ is something that Scripbox has been offering as counsel and believes in profoundly. ‘Financial Freedom’ might mean different things to different people but is a long-term and significant goal which requires a trusted partner. Thus, it is always better to start investing from an early age with guidance, especially for retirement, as it provides you the cushion to take on more risk to fulfil all your dreams,” said Atul Shinghal, Founder and CEO of Scripbox.