June 17, 2016

Why Educating Kids in India is Economically a Bad Idea and How is it Ruining their Parent's Retirement Plan?

India is a poor country.

The GNI (Gross National Income) per capita using Atlas method (used by the World Bank to estimate the size of economies) in terms of current US$ in 2014 for India was USD 1570.

(Source: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GNP.PCAP.CD/countries/IN-8S-XN?display=graph)

That roughly translates to INR 102050 (assuming 1 USD = 65 INR at current rates).

Note - the above numbers haven't been adjusted for the same time period and for this post that is not really that relevant.

So an average Indian family of 4 members will be having an annual income of INR 408200. Ignoring the taxes altogether, this would mean the monthly income comes to around INR 34017.

Is that good enough to educate your kids and then be in a position where you will still have enough left to spend money on the essential stuff?

Looking at the abnormal school fees, the above would be a herculean task.

How much money is needed to educate a kid in a school in India in a city like Delhi and Gurgaon?

Assuming an average monthly fee of INR 10000 (which includes fees, annual charges, books, stationary, uniform, charges for events like annual day, school bus) for two kids the yearly expenses will come to be INR 240000. Or around 59% of yearly income!

Which mean for the 15 years of school education (Play Group, LKG, UKG and then from class I to class XII) the total cost for one kid would come to an astounding amount of  INR 18 lacs.

So how will the family eat? how will they pay home rent or home loan EMI or both, in some cases? how will they pay water and electricity bills? how will they pay for doctor's fees and medicine? how will they pay bus and auto fares?

The list of even the essential stuff is really too long. And the costs would be much higher than what a comfortable number should like.

This shows something is clearly wrong. When 59% of an average Indian family's income is needed for kid's education it has a drastically adverse on their overall standard of living.

The other problem is as severe as the one above. This has a direct, negative impact on the parent's retirement plan also.

Given the lack of social security in India, the problem gets compounded many times for  an average Indian parent. They find life tough now and will find it perhaps even tougher in the future!

Where is the money to save and invest for retirement?

Saving and investing for retirement is slowly becoming a dream that may alas remain a dream for many of the parents in India.

There was a song in movie which had the following lines:

Where is the time to hate, when there is so little time to love
Come on let' s sing sing sing

Come on let' s dance dance dance
Come on have fun fun fun 

(Source - http://www.hindilyrics.net/lyrics/of-Where%20Is%20The%20Time%20To%20Hate.html)

For parents in India this could be written as:

Where is the money for retirement, when there is so little money for living now
Come on let' s cry cry cry (what else is there to do?)

Come on let' s pray pray pray (to God, who else?)
Come on have fun fun fun (this part shouldn't change!)

May the force be with the parents in India. May they get more money. May they be in a position to save some for retirement as well.

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