Published on August 10th, 20151
Simplify your financial health in your senior years
A senior citizen explains how he cuts down the hassle in banking and investment to focus on his health and hobbies.
As one advances in age, there is more need to simplify one’s life. I am now nearing 80 years and my wife 74; we lead an independent life, since our children are well settled. Our policy has always been to allow them to lead their own lives.
Simple financial practices
The two main problems confronting senior citizens are management of finance and health. Earlier, I used to look out for instruments yielding the highest rates of interest. Watching movements of share prices was a daily routine. I also maintained meticulous records of dividends and interests received for each investment. The portfolio was spread over shares, mutual funds, bonds, PPF and fixed deposits with banks.
Now I have restricted my investments to minimum number of portfolios viz. bank FDs to ensure a regular cash flow for monthly expenses, shares and PPF. No chasing for the highest rates of interest and no following of share price movements. The existing share portfolio is maintained to ensure tax free income. Investments are all in blue chips for appreciation and there is minimum churning of the portfolio. No elaborate records maintained. Bank accounts are restricted to minimum number of banks. FDs are clubbed wherever possible to minimise visits to banks.
All payments for Gas, Electricity and telephones are made by ECS and debited to my bank account. Similarly, all dividends are credited to my bank account. Internet banking facility is availed of for each bank account, to enable monitoring of accounts and making certain payments via internet banking from home. For this, familiarity with computers is essential. It is not difficult at all.
Focussing on health
Health is a major problem for senior citizens. Health insurance is a must and should be taken when one is young since insurers do not view favourably granting cover to old people. Despite all precautions, here can be a host of complaints as one advances in age. Some are to be borne with equanimity e.g. failing eyesight, a sign of old age, though one has to take care in case of serious complaints. Diabetes is a life partner and needs control of diet with mediation. Tremors can be a hindrance, though it may not be a sign of Parkinson’s disease in every case. Annual health check-up is a must and at more frequent intervals, if required.
Keeping oneself occupied is most important; it may be in the form of reading, solving crosswords and word puzzles, Facebook etc., which may help in keeping Alzheimer’s at bay. Reading newspapers and keeping oneself up to date with current events is necessary but one should not be swayed by political events. Walks and discussions with friends can be stimulating.
One can thus hope to lead a stress- free life by simplifying daily chores.
Gopalkrishna Bhat has been an insurance professional who loves reading, scrabble and Hindustani classical music. He is fluent in several Indian languages and has been published in several print and online publications. He lives in Goregaon with his wife, Prabha.
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(Picture courtesy indianexpress.com. Image is used for representational purpose only)