Global meltdown impacts Indians’ early retirement plans, pilgrimages

February 21st, 2009 - 5:50 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) The global economic crisis has had a deep impact on the elderly in India, forcing them to push back voluntary retirement plans, tighten medical expenditures and postpone pilgrimages, a study conducted by an NGO has revealed.
Agewell Foundation, an NGO working for the elderly, found in a study conducted across the country that following the meltdown, almost half of those interviewed have decided for the moment to shelve their plans of retiring early.

“In the government and private sectors, people in the age group of 55-65 had shelved their plans of voluntary retirement in order to cope with the economical stress,” said Prithvi Haldea of the Agewell Foundation.

“It was also found that 60 percent of the respondents owned stocks and mutual funds and over 80 percent lost money in them. Therefore, 60 percent of the elderly have changed their investment strategies to ones which involve less risk like the National Saving Certificate, fixed deposits and Kisan Vikas Patra,” he added.

The study also found that 52 percent of the elderly in the age group of 55-75 years have also postponed their pilgrimage plans, 60 percent have postponed any expensive purchase and 61 percent have given up any recreational activity.

In Assam and Orissa, where food shortage is a big problem, it was found that older people’s strategies included reduction in meal size (33 percent) and even skipping meals (17 percent).

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