Why Federer and Nadal may not be best role models for you ?

16th June 2017
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The media and fans can’t stop gushing over the resurgence of the golden oldies – Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. However, you need to view their success a little differently.

The Fedex Show
First it was Australian Open 2017 when Roger Federer (35-year-old) stunned the tennis world by bagging his 18th Grand Slam by overcoming his arch rival Nadal (31-year-old). What made it even more incredible was Federer’s 6-month break to rest an injury prior to signing up for the Australian Open.

Can Nadal be far behind
As if on cue Nadal swept all competition aside in straight sets to register his 10th French Open title and 15th overall. Nadal came into French Open 2017 after a two-year hiatus – he last won in Paris in 2014 and retired hurt in 2016 with a wrist injury. So in many way’s La Decima was really sweet for him.

First time in history
In a first in the history of the ATP (Association of Tennis Professional) computer rankings – which date back to the early 1970s – all five men from rank 1 to 5 are 30 years or older (as on June 13, 2017) viz.

  1. Andy Murray (30 years)
  2. Rafael Nadal (31 years)
  3. Stan Wawrinka (32 years)
  4. Novak Djokovic (30 years)
  5. Roger Federer (35 years)

The French Open, arguably the most demanding of all four majors, usually features younger legs as oldies just can’t keep pace with the energy required to compete in the second week. But this French Open we saw both finalists in their 30s – a first since 1969.
The Big Five are likely to remain favourites for the next few slams, with Roger Federer being cited as a contender for Wimbledon 2017.

It’s an entirely different story in business
While oldies show no signs of ageing in tennis, it’s a different tale in the corporate world. Most of us will probably not be performing better as we get older. Sure, we will get more experienced and we will compete in our workplaces.  However, as the business environment stands post-2008, we are firmly in an era of jobless growth. This means that businesses are expanding and opportunities are growing, but jobs have simply not kept pace.

So if someone is already in a job, there is no assurance he will continue to be there in face of threats to his company or the business at a macro level. It is not unusual for companies to retire their long-standing employees with a golden handshake.

Also unlike tennis, where the golden oldies do not face any serious competition from the younger crowd, the business environment continues to see better, more talented recruits entering the industry every day. They will be challenging their established colleagues for their positions.
Also consider the threat from AI (Artificial Intelligence), which could make many jobs / positions redundant over time.

Retirement is closer than you think
With the threats to your job, the standard retirement age in India of 60 years, may remain a standard only a paper. Individuals may be compelled to face up to reality and embrace retirement much earlier, even if they are good for a few more years of employment.

So, you will have to prepare yourself for the eventuality accordingly. More so when you consider that life expectancy could climb to over 80 years, which leaves you with post-retirement life of 20 years. If you retire earlier say at 50 years, which as we have seen could become a reality for many, post-retirement tenure will rise to 30 years and so on.

Thankfully, there is a solution
Life insurance has many options that can help individuals fund retirement . The sooner you start availing of these options, the more chance you give yourself of securing your retirement.

Some individuals prefer traditional pension plans to invest and save for retirement. Traditional plans are biased towards investments in debt funds as they assure a guaranteed sum assured at the end of the policy tenure.

Unit-linked plans or ULIPs are another alternative.

ULIPs offer a host of high, medium and low risk investment options under the same policy. You can choose an appropriate policy according to your risk-taking appetite. In a ULIP, your returns are expected to be higher as the money is invested in equity markets. Put differently, you can build a bigger corpus on retirement.

While tennis is a fun game to watch, especially when you have talents like Federer and Nadal battling each other, it’s a good idea to step back and think about and plan for your own life when you are nearing your sunset at the workplace.

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