We all have dreams that often keep us up at nights. While some dream of owning a home, others want to send their kids to the best of colleges. Most also dream of leading a healthy lifestyle, and many want to retire early and travel the world free of worries. However, despite our best efforts to achieve our life goals on time, we often meet certain roadblocks that delay fulfilling the goals at best and jeopardise them at worst. At times, these roadblocks are beyond our control. On other occasions, our lack of a farsighted approach makes roadblocks harder to overcome.
It is in this context that certain findings of the Aspiration Index 2019 Survey, conducted by BankBazaar and Kantar IMRB, become significant. The study, now in its second year, surveyed over 1,800 salaried and digitally savvy men and women between 22 and 45 years of age across 12 Indian cities to understand what their life goals are and how much planning they’ve put in to achieve them. The survey also segregated the participants into three cohorts (22-27 as Early Jobbers, 27-35 as Moneymoners and 35-45 as Wealth Warriors for a nuanced understanding of what each group aspires for.
The participants were asked in detail about their life goals bracketed in six different pillars of aspiration: Wealth, Image, Personal Growth, Relationships, Health and Fame, and the findings revealed that Health is the top priority overall, closely followed by Relationships and Wealth. Also, the ability to buy a home is the top Wealth aspiration.
However, each cohort was also asked about what they felt were the major roadblocks impeding the journey to achieve their various life goals. We’ve discussed a few below:
Family responsibilities and constraints
Our families are our biggest pillars of strength; however, they can at times turn out to be the reason why we lag in achieving certain dreams. That’s why it’s unsurprising that most survey participants, especially the Moneymooners and Wealth Warriors, opine family constraints to be one of the biggest roadblocks to achieve key life goals like buying a home, travelling the world and retiring early.
And while managing family affairs — and the conflict of priorities that may arise out of it — can complicate our plans to achieve certain dreams, a pragmatic strategy can certainly help strike the right balance. Setting clear, time-bound financial goals is a great start to that end. So, once you have a specific financial goal, like setting up a down payment fund worth Rs 20 lakh for a home in four years, you’ll be in a much better position to channelise your savings and investment returns to achieve the goal in a timely manner, devising ways to smartly manage family commitments along the way.
High cost of living
The next roadblock on the list, according to the Aspiration Index 2019, is the high cost of living, especially for the young Early Jobbers who consider ‘image’ to be the most important life goal. It’s perhaps understandable that in their pursuit to be perceived as modern, balanced and well-rounded individuals, the youngest in India’s workforce get pulled towards the latest trends in fashion and technology but feel constrained by their high cost of living.
Interestingly, the survey has found out that it’s the same cohort that says it saves 40 percent of their monthly income, perhaps due to fewer financial commitments. So, it won’t be wrong to argue that financial discipline is
not an issue for them. The Early Jobbers, who are also the most technologically savvy lot, should now implement methods to set budgets for their regular expenses and look for ways to cut wasteful spends to realise their life goals. Some helpful pointers could be cooking instead of eating out regularly, skipping gym subscriptions to work out from home, taking public transportation or cycling to work, sharing their apartment to split the rent, so on and so forth. High-intensity jobs and work pressure
On the other end of the spectrum, the seasoned Wealth Warriors feel that work pressure hinders them from achieving key life goals (like relationships) while taking a toll on their health. This cohort, who also have the most financial commitments to cater to, tends to get sandwiched between work and family.
Wealth Warriors, and for that matter anyone who finds it difficult to manage work-related stress, need to understand that smart work, and not hard work, could be the rule of survival in today’s day and age. Planning for holidays in advance and applying for leaves at the beginning of the year, managing time at work, not wasting weekly offs in chores but also doing fun and meaningful activities, going on weekend trips regularly, meditating, exercising, having a pet are just a few ways to lessen the impact of stress.
Insufficient salary is also identified as one of the major hurdles in achieving key life goals, especially for the Moneymooners who often find themselves in middle-management roles, the survey points out. And while implementing cost-cutting measures to boost savings seems to be an obvious solution to clear this roadblock, they probably are the first to realise that you can only save to an extent, factoring in the many financial commitments that define their lives.
As such, smart and regular investments (with a diversified portfolio to keep the overall risk factor under control) is a great way to grow their wealth in the long-term and minimise their income tax liability. They also need to constantly upskill themselves to ensure they’re always on track to bag lucrative promotions or job opportunities that would fetch fatter paychecks.
And that’s not all. Moneymooners should seriously consider ways to expand their income pool to boost their savings and investment capital or even to accelerate clearing off their debts. Doing part-time jobs on weekends, tutoring online, becoming a social media influencer and even launching a YouTube channel to showcase their expertise are some clever ideas.
full Aspiration Index 2019 report for several other interesting insights about lifegoals of Indians. Adhil Shetty is the CEO of BankBazaar.com Read Adhil Shetty's columns