Every living being has a meaning for its own existence. Some live for others, some even try to destroy others in their own interest. But human race is the most powerful living object who can think, who can determine their own fate by their own activities. Unlike other living species, human beings are equipped with some rare elements which are normally not found in any other animal. Although some of them are very intelligent in nature, however they are not very much prone to judgement for their action. Mostly they work by the influence of their own instinct for survival. But the Homo sapiens are different, they have mind, they have judgement, they have ability to think and determine what they want to have next in life. The most unique creation of nature and God is the human being. Among all the animals human being is the most important who possesses all the qualities of being superior in every respect to other living creatures. Since time immemorial, human race has taken the civilization in their hands and created today’s world of Science, literature and technology. This evolution did not take place in one day, one month or one year, it was created over many ages like ice ages’ era to modern era, they have created things of their needs, they have invented to follow their dreams, took a few hundred years and an industrial revolution to make this world of this success of technological and other development for physical and mental pleasure. Life of a human being can be divided into four general stages namely childhood, adulthood, mature family life, retired life and finally of renunciation. This has been described very uniquely and effectively in Hinduism. In Hinduism from birth to end of life has been divided in four stages. These stages are described as “Chaturashramas” in Hinduism for many thousands of years.The four ashramas are: Brahmacharya (student), Grihastha (householder), Vanaprastha (retired) and Sannyasa (renunciate). The Ashrama system is one facet of the Dharma concept in Hinduism and Hindus have always shown great belief and respect for this “Chaturashramas”. Among all the animals, only human being has the luxury of having “Vanaprastha” meaning retirement. In other animal world, if they do not work or prey, they die of starvation, but for human it is different, they can stop working and still can live a decent life by saving from their earnings   and enjoy the life to the fullest extent with his family and friends by planning effectively for future years according to his desire how he wants to spend the rest of his life, This is possible only for human beings because only human beings know how to save for the future days or years, no other animal has this perception or ability to do this. Firstly, a prospective retiree must get rid of all debts. Secondly in my opinion, retirement for anyone needs an adroit and effective planning. Firstly a prospective retiree must get rid of all debts. Usually retirement has two segments of planning, one is financial and the other one is socially wellbeing. Financial planning can be done with a financial planner according to someone’s living standard; an income goal can be set from the accumulated wealth by investing the finance in an efficient way with the help of the financial planner. Most of the time the retiree’s home is free and clear of any mortgage and that way a big chunk of money is saved and this can be used for other expenses. From my experience, I have found that unplanned hidden expenses are more frequent and more expensive. I can give you a few examples which I did not foresee or anticipate before my planning but it is also true that good or bad I have never lived a budgeted life, so I did not anticipate or realize that under-planning could bring a limitation to someone’s living standard or habit. I shall try to give a few examples which I have experienced in my early retired days. Since you don’t have to join the rat race any more you may decide to have lunch two three days a week. Occasionally your friends will join you and you would love to treat them, you may have visited more Puja Mandaps than you were visiting before and it costs for subscriptions, you go to watch grandchild’s game and he or she wants to go to lunch or dinner with you after the game, I find really difficult to sustain when someone indulges in unnecessary habitual shopping. They can put anyone in large debt if they use the credit card regularly. Sometimes people become shopaholic who can eventually destroy the family harmony and peace. Two evils, alcoholism and gambling are commonly seen among non-Indian retirees, however, some of my Indian retiree friends are already became victims of these and some of them are seeking professional help and trying to come out of this dreaded evil. 

——————————————————————– Dilip Chakrabarti

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