British multinational banking and financial services company Standard Chartered revealed in a latest report titled “Wealth Expectancy Report 2021” that 94 per cent Indians have reset their life goals post coronavirus pandemic. This report also states that for 48 per cent of the respondents, the pandemic has diminished their confidence in their finances, thus thwarting them from taking the actions necessary to achieve their goals.
As per this report, COVID-19 crisis has prompted the affluent class in India to focus on the future while resetting their priorities. Topmost goal of 42 per cent people is ‘to improve their health’ whereas 39 per cent have set being financially prepared for major life challenges (having a child and/or moving abroad). On the other hand 37 per cent have set aside more educational or financial support for their child’s future.
“To meet these new goals, the affluent need new strategies to grow their wealth, which often involves more proactive investment rather than just saving cash. However, their current ‘confidence gap’ has made many increasingly averse to risk, potentially stopping them from putting their money to work through investing or making use of digital tools that simplify wealth management,” the British firm said in an official release.
As per this report, the emerging affluent have suffered a disproportionate loss of confidence with 50 per cent reporting less confidence compared with 41 per cent of high-net-worth individuals. In case of the affluent individuals in India, three most common roadblocks in pursuing their financial goals are volatility in financial markets (30 per cent), insufficient knowledge about specific investment opportunities (28 per cent) and practical difficulties in shifting investment strategies (28 per cent).
It also underscored that late retirement planning combined with lowered risk appetite due to the coronavirus crisis leaves a significant proportion of affluent consumers at risk of a shortfall for their retirement. It found out that 33 per cent of those who have not yet retired have not started saving for the inevitable phase, 43 per cent of the affluent Indians look at depending on the investment income during their retirement phase.
It further states that 54 per cent plan to retire before reaching 65 years and in the last 18 months while 20 per cent have set a new financial goal of retiring early.
It not only highlighted the problem areas but also laid down the approach that can help affluent regain control over their finances. Diversifying into new asset classes, new investment strategies to rebalance portfolios, exploring sustainable investments and being more hands on with your investment are some ways one can be happy with their finances. 27 per cent investors ‘pursued new strategies to make the most of the stock market (short-term trading)’, followed by ‘invested in private markets (private equity, private debt, etc.).’
Almost 99 per cent of investors in India who have taken five or more actions related to their finances are satisfied with their portfolio, as per the report. “The report reveals that nearly half of the respondents feel less confident about their finances despite having taken some action related to it in the last year. Professional assistance can help consumers address this lack of confidence. We are committed to helping clients bridge this gap and realise their financial life goals by providing the right products, tools and information suited to their wealth needs,” says Samrat Khosla, Managing Director and Head of Wealth, Standard Chartered Bank, India.
StanChart surveyed consumers (emerging affluent, affluent and high net worth) in 12 markets across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the UK.
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