Retirement is a phase of life most of us look forward to, working for a good number of years in order to rest and relax when we retire. While this period is meant to be one without tension, financial issues could dampen this time. Lack of adequate planning could see one working even after retirement to make ends meet.
This is where an Annuity/Pension plan comes into play. Just like a traditional life insurance policy provides financial support to the family of an insured after his/her demise, a pension plan provides the insured a regular source of income even after retirement. In essence, it is a plan which covers the risk of losing your income post retirement, compensating for any drop in earnings by providing annuity.
It is ideal for individuals looking to supplement their retirement corpus, wherein insurers offer plans which typically require a single premium to be paid upfront, with the policy providing returns after one retires. One can choose the age at which they wish to receive this amount, thereby having solace in the fact that the policy will cover their financial needs as long as they live.
The frequency of payments can be chosen according to the needs of an insured individual, with certain plans offering a gradual increase in the amount paid, doubling as an investment.
There are over 20 insurance companies which offer pension plans in India, with a number of options available. These plans cater to different requirements, ensuring that one finds a plan which meets their retirement goals. Listed below are the top 5 pension plans in India as of 2017.
|Pension Plan||About the plan||Entry Age||Vesting Age||Policy Term||Annual Premium Amount||Sum Assured|
|LIC Jeevan Nidhi Plan||A deferred annuity plan which provides additional bonus, it offers multiple pension options. Bonus is accrued after the 6th year, with the premium paid eligible for tax exemption under the Income Tax Act.||Minimum: 20 years Maximum: 58 years (regular premium), 60 years (single premium)||Minimum: 55 years Maximum: 65 years||Minimum: 5 years Maximum: 35 years||Minimum: Rs.10,000 for single premium, Rs.3,000 for regular premium||Minimum: Rs.1 lakh (regular premium), Rs.1.5 lakh (single premium)|
|SBI Life Saral Pension Plan||A plan which offers guaranteed bonus ranging between 2.50% and 2.75%, it also provides an option for life cover through riders.||Minimum: 18 years Maximum: 60 years (regular premium), 65 years (single premium)||Minimum: 40 years Maximum: 70 years||Minimum: 5 years (single premium), 10 years (regular premium) Maximum: 40 years||Minimum: Rs.7,500 Maximum: No upper limit||Minimum: Rs.1 lakh Maximum: No upper limit|
|HDFC Life – Click2Retire Plan||An online pension plan which secures the retirement of an individual through assured vesting benefit. Being a unit linked plan it invests in funds which meet certain growth requirements||Minimum: 18 years Maximum: 65 years||Minimum: 45 years Maximum: 75 years||Minimum: 10 years Maximum: 35 years||Minimum: Rs.24,000 Maximum: No upper limit||Based on premium|
|LIC Jeevan Akshay VI Plan||An immediate annuity plan which provides pension immediately after paying the single premium.||Minimum: 30 years Maximum: 85 years||Pension is paid immediately, depending on the option chosen by the buyer||NA||Minimum: Rs.1 lakh Maximum: No upper limit||Based on premium|
|ICICI Pru-Easy Retirement Plan||A unit linked plan which provides an assured benefit to help meet financial requirements after retirement.||Minimum: 35 years Maximum: 70 years||Minimum: 45 years Maximum: 80 years||Minimum: 10 years Maximum: 30 years||Minimum: Rs.48,000 Maximum: No upper limit||Based on premium|
|Reliance Smart Pension Plan||This is a non-participating unit linked plan which offers a regular source of income after an individual retires.||NA||Minimum: 45 years Maximum: 75 years||Minimum: 10 years Maximum: 30 years||NA||Based on premium|
|Bajaj Allianz Pension Guarantee Plan||This is a non-linked, non-participating plan which provides immediate annuity to individuals, with an option to choose between 6 payout modes.||Minimum: Varies based on the payout mode chosen. Ranges from 0 years to 37 years. Maximum: 80 years||Varies based on annuity option chosen||Lifetime||Minimum: Rs.25,000 Maximum: No upper limit||Based on premium|
|Max Life Guaranteed Lifetime Income Plan||This is a non-linked, non-participating plan which offers a lifetime pension to policyholders.||Minimum: 50 years Maximum: 80 years||NA||Lifetime||NA||Based on premium|
|Birla Sun Life Empower Pension Plan||This is a unit linked non-participating plan which offers a death benefit in addition to annuity.||Minimum: 25 years Maximum: 70 years||Maximum: 80 years||Minimum: 5 years Maximum: 30 years||Minimum: Rs.18,000 Maximum: No upper limit||Based on premium|
|HDFC Life Assured Pension Plan||This is a unit linked plan which is suited to those looking at an investment cum protection plan.||Minimum: 18 years Maximum: 65 years||Minimum: 45 years Maximum: 75 years||Minimum: 10 years Maximum: 35 years||Minimum: Rs.24,000 Maximum: No upper limit||Based on premium|
Insurance companies offer a range of pension plans in India, and while each is unique in itself, one can classify pension plans into these 7 broad categories:
It is easy for one to overlook the fact that retirement brings with it financial strain. We work for a majority of our life hoping to lead a stress-free retired life, but lack of money could see one coming out of retirement to make ends meet. A good pension plan ensures that one is financially secure during retirement, with the plan providing a steady inflow of funds.
Old age is often associated with increased medical expenses, which can be a strain on financial resources, especially when one is retired. While those with a government job would receive regular pension, this might not be sufficient for the daily needs. A pension plan can enhance this income, ensuring that one doesn’t have to make changes in their lifestyle.
Additionally, pension plans can offer decent returns on investment, ensuring that inflation doesn’t reduce the value of one’s money. Certain pension plans also provide life cover, wherein the family of the insured is protected in the event of his/her demise.
The biggest factor which warrants the need of a pension plan is the peace of mind which it provides, ensuring that we can have a peaceful and fulfilling retired life without the strain of finances on our head.
Some of the popular features of pension plans are highlighted below:
Listed below are the benefits/advantages which pension plans provide:
Choosing a good pension plan is critical to plan for retirement. Given the number of options available, one might get confused and opt for a plan which doesn’t conform to their needs. Listed below are a few simple points to consider before choosing a pension plan.
More often than not we are told to enjoy the moment. It is essential to do so and we all love to expend on an occasional trip, a car, an electronic gadget, etc. We like to make the most of what we have and spend on things we love. Along with the present expenditures, there is no harm in saving up some money to spend in the future too. Various insurance companies, today, offer pension plans that help individuals plan a comfortable tomorrow. Each of the plans come with unique features that you can choose based on your requirements, income and age.
Planning your retirement is no rocket science. All you need is a plan and some financial help.
By making the right plan and purchasing the best pension plan, you are sure to lead a blissful post-retirement life without having to worry about making ends meet or letting go of things you dream to do.
Mistakes to Avoid when Planning for your Retirement
In order to truly enjoy the golden years of your life without any financial troubles, it is vital to start planning for this stage of your life from a young age. Retirement planning involves assessing your current stage of life, determining your retirement goals, estimating the expenses that you might have to incur during your retirement, and creating and implementing a savings plan that you will need to follow diligently throughout your employment years. There are also certain mistakes that you need to look out for and avoid when planning for your retirement, such as:
After years of hard work, you should be able to enjoy your retirement without any financial hassles. Thus, make sure to create a retirement plan today and review it regularly. Ideally, as you start to earn more, you should also be saving more. Doing this on a consistent basis will ensure that you have a significant amount of money saved up in time for your retirement.
Most pension plans do not have strict eligibility criteria, with insurance providers concentrating on three main aspects when it comes to pension plans:
It is possible to enhance the protection offered by a pension plan by choosing additional riders. Listed below are some of the popular riders which can be availed in the country.
A participating pension plan is one in which the insured receives a bonus component in addition to the regular sum assured. This could be in the form of a reversionary bonus, which is at the discretion of the company. It is basically a plan which participates in the profits of the fund in which the money is invested. The insurance company has the discretion to supplement the sum assured with any bonus in these plans.
A non-participating pension plan is one which does not accrue any reversionary bonus, with all benefits clearly stated to the policyholder. It does not partake in any profits earned by the fund.
The Directive Principles of State Policy state that the government shall try its best to ensure that citizens of the country have means to meet basic requirements, including those arising out of old age. As such, the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation was set up to monitor the Provident Fund Scheme and a Pension Scheme, in addition to an insurance scheme.
The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS) are designed to provide financial assistance to individuals during their retired life. They act as a savings tool, whereby employers and employees contribute a certain portion of their monthly income into a pool, with this investment earning interest.
EPF applies to any organisation which undertakes a task under Section 1 of the Employees’ Provident Fund Act, and employs over 20 people. Both the employer and employee make a contribution equivalent to 12% of the basic DA of an employee’s salary. This contribution is split into two components, with one going to the EPF pool and the other to the EPS.
|Scheme||Employee contribution||Employer contribution|
As indicated in the table, both the funds now get a certain deposit each month. The only difference between both of them is the fact that while the EPF account earns an interest which is compounded annually, there is no provision for interest under EPS.
It is possible to withdraw the money under EPF if one is unemployed for a period of two months or more. One can also appoint a nominee who will receive the funds in the event of death of EPF accountholder.
The Pradhan Mantri Atal Pension Yojana is a scheme designed to offer retirement solutions to individuals belonging to the unorganised sector. With a majority of the Indian population working in unorganised sectors, there was a need for a pension plan for them. Anyone between the age of 18 and 40 years can participate in this scheme, with them receiving a pension once they are 60 years old.
Individuals who joined the scheme before December 31, 2015 will be eligible for a government co-pay wherein the government will contribute an amount equivalent to half the contribution of the individual, subject to a maximum of Rs.1,000 per year for a period of five years.
A savings bank account should be opened by the individual looking to contribute towards this pension scheme. One will receive a pension ranging between Rs.1,000 and Rs.5,000 per month after retirement. The scheme provides a provision for a nominee, wherein he/she will receive the pension if the accountholder dies.
The Atal Pension Yojana (APY) is a pension scheme that is backed by the Government of India. This scheme was launched in order to help individuals save for their post-employment years. This scheme is ideal for individuals working in unorganised sectors and people without a steady flow of income. The scheme was announced as part of the 2015-2016 Union Budget and is currently being administered by the PFRDA (Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority), through the NPS architecture.
The key benefit of this scheme is that individuals can choose to either invest a sum of Rs.210 every month for a period of 42 years or invest Rs.1,454 every month for two decades. This scheme provides a guaranteed monthly pension ranging between Rs.1,000 and Rs.5,000, based on your investment amount. In order to avail the benefits offered by this scheme, individuals will have to open a savings account with a post office or a bank.
In order to apply for the Atal Pension Yojana scheme, you will first need to download the APY subscriber form from the official website of the bank in which you hold your savings account. APY forms are usually available on all bank websites. After downloading the page, you will need to fill it up with the required details and submit it to your bank branch. You will also be required to submit certain additional documents, after which your APY account will be opened.
The National Pension System (NPS) was launched by the government in 2004 with a vision to provide a pension to all retired citizens of the country. Open to employees from both, the government sector and private sector, it invests the money in funds which are managed by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).
One can choose between two account types, namely a Tier-1 account, which is designed to promote savings for retirement and a Tier-2 account. Individuals cannot withdraw any money from a Tier-1 account, ensuring that they have a corpus for retired life.
A Tier-2 account, on the other hand permits one to withdraw money from it. It is designed to promote voluntary savings.
The National Pension System offers a range of benefits to those looking for steady pension after retirement. Some of them are highlighted below:
In an immediate annuity plan, the insurer will start paying annuity to the policyholder as soon as the due premium amount is paid. On the other hand, in the case of deferred annuity plans, the policyholder is expected to pay the due premiums during the deferment period. After the completion of the deferment period, the insurer will start paying annuity to the policyholder.
The minimum age at entry for a policy will vary based on the insurer’s terms and conditions. The eligibility criteria of a policy can be found in the policy brochure.
Not all pension plans offer a risk cover against death to the policyholder. Thus, make sure to read through the policy brochure carefully and familiarise yourself with the inclusions, exclusions, and policy benefits before purchasing the policy.
You will receive annuity payments as per the annuity option chosen by you. Most insurers offer a number of annuity payout options to policy buyers. Thus, you can choose a payout option as per your financial needs.
In order to keep your policy in force, you will need to pay the due premiums to your insurance provider as per the premium payment mode that you opted for while buying the policy. However, insurance providers also offer a grace period after the premium payment due date, within which the premium will have to be paid. If the premium is not paid during the grace period, the policy coverage may lapse. The grace period that is usually offered by an insurance company ranges between 15 days and 30 days.
Most insurers give policy buyers the option to choose the annuity payout frequency. Thus, you can opt to receive payments on an annual, half-yearly, quarterly, or monthly basis.
Most insurance providers give policyholders the choice to pay the premium for a limited number of years during the policy term or as a lump sum at the time of purchasing the policy. However, the premium payment mode will vary from plan to plan. Thus, make sure to opt for a pension plan with a premium payment mode that is well-suited to you.
Yes, you can choose to purchase any rider that the insurance provider offers along with the base policy.
Pension plans are ideal for individuals looking to secure their post-employment years. Thus, if you wish to receive a fixed source of income during your retirement, you should consider purchasing a pension plan. It is advisable to purchase a pension plan as soon as you can to ensure your retirement years are financially secure.
You may be able to surrender a pension plan based on the policy terms and conditions. However, in most cases, insurance companies do give policyholders the option of surrendering their insurance policy if the policy has acquired a surrender value. That being said, it is advisable to keep your policy in force in order to fully enjoy the coverage and payouts that will be offered to you as part of the policy benefits by the insurance provider.
A. The age from which the pension is paid is called the vesting age. The vesting date is the date from which the pension starts. For example, a policy with a vesting age of 60 years will begin paying pension only after the individual turns 60 years old.
A. Annuity is a defined amount of money paid to an individual at regular intervals of time, typically after he/she retires. An annuity plan is a contract between the insurer and the insured, wherein the insured makes payments to the insurer, with the insurer providing regular payouts after a specified period of time.
A. Yes, most insurance companies provide the option to purchase a pension plan online. There are a few pension plans which can be purchased only online.
A. Most pension plans do not provide the option to modify the payout amount after the plan has been purchased. An insurer can, however, make exceptions based on the rapport a customer shares with them. It is advisable to check this with the insurer before purchasing a policy.
A. Most pension plans do not offer the liquidity to withdraw money before the vesting age. This could vary from plan to plan and one should check this with the insurer before buying it.
A. Both schemes are designed with a specific purpose in mind. One should consider the purpose before choosing one. Government pension schemes are primarily targeted to those who have no other means of income after retirement. These are more affordable but have limitations on the amount one can receive. Pension insurance plans, however, provide one an opportunity to customise a plan based on their requirement.
With the country on the brink of launching the biggest healthcare service in history, labelled ModiCare by the media after Obama’s historic Obama care in the states, the Government which is looking into all facets of society to make some considerable improvements in the lifestyle of its citizens. The Ayushman Bharat healthcare service will benefit 500 individuals and comes with a host of benefits including a insurance of Rs.5 lakh per year. While the healthcare service is still in its setting up phase, the Government has rolled out the senior citizen’s scheme that will help the elderly population in the country immensely. The senior citizen scheme in the last few days has been rolled out in Jaipur, supported by both the Central and the State Governments. Coming with a host of benefits, the Senior citizen scheme comes with benefits such as a number of devices to help them cope with their situation and in addition, the Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India, a PSU under the Central government, will take care of one-year free maintenance of the aids and devices including walking sticks, elbow crutches, walkers, tripods, hearing aids, artificial dentures, and spectacles. To be eligible for the scheme, subscribers have to be in the BPL category, have to submit their aadhaar card, PPO of national old age pension scheme or state old age pension scheme, and should be over 60 years old.
16 July 2018
With government employees in Kerala utterly displeased with the current pension scheme, deeming that the returns from the scheme are irrelevant, the Government of Kerala said they will review the schemes and analyse what can be done. According to Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac, who is looking into the matter, he said that a complete scrapping of the current pension scheme which was formulated by the previous government will be almost impossible and will result in serious ramifications.
He added that due to the pension schemes formulated by the previous government, even tax collectors have taken a hit. The government apparently set a tax bracket of 20% so that they use these collections to benefit other schemes. However, to put things in place, Cooperation Minister Kadakampally Surendran announced that cooperative banks of Kerala will come into existence by Onam and will assist government employees with pensions, tax collections and so on. He also added that they will rolling out the ‘Muttathe Mulla’ scheme for women that will benefit women with a 9% interest over deposits and help them avoid banking on moneylenders in times of need.
25 June 2018
A senior official from the Finance Ministry said that the government will soon release Rs.500 crore credit enhancement fund. The fund which is expected to be unveiled next month will be utilised to further infrastructure investments. The idea of the fund was initially made known in the budget for FY 2016-2017. The Joint Secretary (Infrastructure, Policy and Finance), Kumar Vinay Pratap of the Ministry of Finance said that the separate fund will help improve the credit ratings of the bonds provided by infrastructure companies. The fund will be raised by pension and insurance funds. The India Infrastructure Finance Company (IIFC) will act as a non-banking financial organisation and provide the initial corpus for the dedicated fund.
Pratap said that while regulatory bodies have mandated the rating for long-term insurance and pension funds to have an ‘AA’ rating, the infrastructure bonds usually have a ‘BBB’ rating. This is hence giving rise to a mismatch.
13 June 2018
The Government recently expanded the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) by adding 3 new members to it, 2 bureaucrats and a Junior Finance Minister, thus increasing the number of council members to 12.
The Union Finance Minister chairs the FSDC which was founded in December 2010. The FSDC aims to establish and strengthen the processes that contribute to the country’s financial stability, by enhancing coordination between various regulateries and promoting the development of financial sector.
30 May 2018
The Himachal Pradesh cabinet recently decided to prepare the draft notifications for Mukhya Mantri Swavlamban Yojana which is a self-employment scheme exclusively for the youngsters and Grihni Suvidha Yojna for the conservation of environment and for empowering women. The cabinet meeting was presided by the chief minister, Jai Ram Thakur who also approved an increase in the honorarium of state panchayat members.
The government decided to make changes to the existing pension scheme by offering full pension to those seeking to retire early or voluntarily after working in their respective profession for at least 20 years as opposed to the 33 years of service qualification to avail the same.
The 2018-Mukhya Mantri Swavlamban Yojana aims to aid the youngsters today, by offering opportunities for self-employment and encouraging growth of local businesses within Himachal Pradesh. Himachal Grihni Suvidha Yojna on the other hand aims at empowering women and conserving the environment. The government of Himachal Pradesh under the scheme will provide gas stoves and LPG connections to every household in the state. Apart from the schemes, the cabinet has also decided to increase honorarium of the state panchayat members.
28 May 2018
With Ministers from different states looking to get the best for Government officials, recently a letter from the CMO (Chief Minister Office) was sent to the Finance Ministry to consider the request by Government employees to abolish the National Pension Scheme and bring back the old, much favored, Old Pension Scheme. The reason why Government officials want the Old Pension Scheme back is because the Old Pension Scheme assured government officials of a fixed pension amount once they have attained the age of retirement - 60 years old. This however, unfortunately is not the case with the National Pension Scheme. For the NPS, 60% of the accumulated corpus can be withdrawn at the time of retirement - which is subject to TDS - and 40% can be converted to annuities - which is tax-free. NPS subscribers can also increase the percentage which they want to convert into annuities - reducing the amount of tax applicable on their pension corpus. The Old Pension scheme functions like the NPS, where 10% of the basic salary of the Government official is directed to the scheme, but the Old Pension Scheme guarantees Government officials of a fixed pension - which currently government employees are pleading for.
25 May 2018
Regulated by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), in just three years since May 2015, the Atal Pension Yojana which was also an initiative by the Government of India has crossed a subscriber base of 1 crore people. According to a report released by the PFRDA, the pension scheme has crossed Rs.3,950 crore and has been on the receiving end of a 9.10 per cent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) as of March, 2018. Pensioners are guaranteed a pension a regular monthly pension between Rs.1,000 and Rs.5,000 depending on their contribution through the tenure of the scheme. Hailing their achievement, the PFRDA said that they have reached this remarkable milestone due to their constant campaigns “AYP formations” that have been carried out by them and the Department of Financial Services. In addition, they have attributed this feat to the bank and post offices across the country that have been offering this scheme to all segments of the population.
23 May 2018
In line with the Government of India’s ‘Digital India’ initiatives, the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Pensions), Allahabad has recently started issuing electronic-Pension Payment Orders (e-PPOs) to pensioners along with their pension disbursement centres/agencies, such as post offices, banks, Defence Pension Disbursement Offices, etc. While this was initially only available to Commissioned Officers and JCOs/ORs of the Armed Forces from October 2017, it is now being provided to all defence pensioners and defence civilians.
It is expected that this shift from the manual system to the digitally-advanced e-PPO system will minimise delay in disbursement of pension. This will also eliminate human error in data entry and other levels to a large extent.
15 May 2018
The Government of India has recently announced that the investment limit for the Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY) scheme will be increased to Rs.15 lakh. Further, the subscription period has also been extended by 2 years. The PMVVY scheme, which was designed to provide pension to individuals aged 60 years and above at the rate of 8% p.a. for a period of 10 years, was initially open for subscription from 4 May 2017 to 3 May 2018. The Government of India has now extended the subscription period to 31 March 2020.
This decision was taken after approval from the Cabinet, as part of the government’s social security and financial inclusion initiatives. This move will provide pension of up to Rs.10,000 per month for individuals who are 60 years and above. The PMVVY scheme is currently implemented by Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC).
3 May 2018
The equity market which has risen in recent times will now be endorsed by the national pension regulator.
Hemant Contractor, Chairman of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) said that they have asked the government to increase the equity proportion to 50% for employees belonging to the government sector as they look to match the pension provided to people working in the government sector. Contractor said that he was hopeful of receiving a positive response from the government.
A new stewardship code will be rolled out for Indian fund managers in order to boost governance-corporate practices which the PFRDA will be pursuing.
2 May 2018