Creating the “ideal” retirement plan with income flooring!

Creating the ideal retirement plan

Published: September 6, 2019 at 9:51 am

Last Updated on

Let us think about it for a moment: What is the ideal retirement plan? One that guarantees income for our lifetime, one that helps tackle inflation and unexpected expenses after retirement. All this with as low a corpus as possible! Yes, that does sound too good to be true. However, we can get close to this situation if there is enough time on our hands. Let us see how to set up an ideal retirement plan with an idea known as income flooring (video example included).

While we are young, many of us tend to look down upon the idea of a pension or an annuity. However, as we age, the idea of guaranteed income each month becomes more and more enticing. However, the problem with a pension is that it fails to combat inflation which is anywhere between 6-8% and unexpected huge/recurring expenses. Also to get a pension a large portion of the corpus should be locked up for life. So the ideal retirement plan should combine the two ideas of constant income and liquid wealth.

This automatically means we cannot aim for minimising the retirement corpus,  but that is fine as long as we have at least ten years to retirement. Most people who are reading this should have considerably more time and should not get scared about what they need to accumulate for retirement. See why: Do not be scared by what you need to accumulate for retirement!

The conventional retirement calculation assumes a corpus X. After retirement, we invest this X in different buckets – low risk for immediate income, medium risk and high risk for future income. You can use the freefincal robo advisory template for the full calculation.

Now from this X, we keep withdrawing monthly expenses and assume that each year the monthly expenses increase at some rate of inflation (6-8% typically). If we expect to live for say 30 years post-retirement,  the X will reduce to zero at that age. So the retirement planning calculation has two parts: What is X? How much should I invest to get X upon retirement? The robo template will also tell you the asset allocation (how much in equity and how much in fixed income) for each year up to retirement.

Let us redo this calculation with a “minimum guarantee”. Assume we are 55 years of age and the current annual expense is Rs. six lakh. Those younger will have to inflate their current expenses to what it would be at age 55 at say 6% inflation. This is important, but you can do this later.

Now, this annual expense of six lakh will increase each year at say 6%. My retirement corpus is X and I now divide this X into two parts. X = X1 + X2. I will invest this X1 in secure investments (eg. PO schemes) and get a post-tax return of 6% and annual interest = the annual expense in the first year of retirement.

Table of Contents

Hate ads but would like to support the site? Subscribe to our ad-free newsletter and get beautifully formatted full articles delivered to your inbox!

What is income flooring?

We guarantee throughout our retirement a secure income equal to the annual expenses in the first year of retirement. This is known as income flooring. For the current example, X1 is one crore. Now since annual expenses will keep increasing due to inflation, I need some extra corpus to handle this. This extra corpus is X2.

Finding X1 is trivial (6L/6%) and finding X2 is easy enough. The only problem is, X1 + X2 will be a bit more than X from the conventional calculation, but it is far more secure. Also, my equity exposure can be lower (see video below)

Income flooring example

 Pros and cons of the “ideal retirement plan”

Even an idean plan has some disadvantages. In this case, it is a bit higher corpus! So my suggestion would be to use a standard retirement calculator and get started. This is a simple approach:

Once you start investing, you can consider graduating to the robo advisory template for better control of parameters and understanding.  Then after you are confident that you will be able to achieve that corpus of X (crores!) you can try this income flooring approach, check how much you need to invest more and strive towards that. The income flooring approach is likely to be too late for those who are 50-plus.

Do share if you found this useful
Hate ads but would like to support the site? Subscribe to our ad-free newsletter and get beautifully formatted full articles delivered to your inbox!

About the Author M Pattabiraman author of freefincal.comM. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the author and owner of  He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras since Aug 2006. Pattu” as he is popularly known, has co-authored two print-books, You can be rich too with goal based investing (CNBC TV18) and Gamechanger and seven other free e-books on various topics of money management.  He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India” an organisation to promote unbiased, commission-free investment advice. Pattu publishes unbiased, promotion-free research, analysis and holistic money management advice. Freefincal serves more than one million readers a year (2.5 million page views) with numbers based analysis on topical issues and has more than a 100 free calculators on different aspects of insurance and investment analysis. He conducts free money management sessions for corporates  and associations(see details below). Previous engagements include World Bank, RBI, BHEL, Asian Paints, TamilNadu Investors Association etc. Contact information: freefincal {at} Gmail {dot} com (sponsored posts or paid collaborations will not be entertained)
Want to conduct a sales-free "basics of money management" session in your office?
I conduct free seminars to employees or societies. Only the very basics and getting-started steps are discussed (no scary math):For example: How to define financial goals, how to save tax with a clear goal in mind; How to use a credit card for maximum benefit; When to buy a house; How to start investing; where to invest; how to invest for and after retirement etc. depending on the audience. If you are interested, you can contact me: freefincal [at] Gmail [dot] com. I can do the talk via conferencing software, so there is no cost for your company. If you want me to travel, you need to cover my airfare (I live in Chennai)

Connect with us on social media

Content Policy

Freefincal has original unbiased, conflict-of-interest-free,  topical reports, reviews, commentary and analysis on all aspects of personal finance like mutual funds, stocks, insurance etc. All guest authors and contributors to the site also do not have any conflict of interest. If you find the content useful, please consider supporting us by (1) sharing our articles and (2) disabling ad-blockers for our site if you are using one. No promotional content We do not accept sponsored posts and link exchange requests from content writers and agencies. This is our privacy policy Our website is non-profit in nature. The revenue from the advertisement will only be used for hosting charges, domain registration charges, specific plugins necessary for traffic growth and analytics services for search engine optimisation.

Do check out my books

You Can Be Rich Too with Goal-Based Investing

You can be rich too with goal based investingMy first book is meant to help you ask the right questions, seek the right answers and since it comes with nine online calculators, you can also create custom solutions for your lifestyle! Get it now.  It is also available in Kindle format.
Gamechanger: Forget Startups, Join Corporate & Still Live the Rich Life You WantGamechanger: Forget Start-ups, Join Corporate and Still Live the Rich Life you wantMy second book is meant for young earners to get their basics right from day one! It will also help you travel to exotic places at low cost! Get it or gift it to a young earner

The ultimate guide to travel by Pranav Surya

Travel-Training-Kit-Cover This is a deep dive analysis into vacation planning, finding cheap flights, budget accommodation, what to do when travelling, how travelling slowly is better financially and psychologically with links to the web pages and hand-holding at every step.  Get the pdf for ₹199 (instant download)

Free Apps for your Android Phone

All calculators from our book, “You can be Rich Too” are now available on Google Play!
Install Financial Freedom App! (Google Play Store)
Install Freefincal Retirement Planner App! (Google Play Store)
Find out if you have enough to say "FU" to your employer (Google Play Store)

Blog Comment Policy

Your thoughts are vital to the health of this blog and are the driving force behind the analysis and calculators that you see here. We welcome criticism and differing opinions. I will do my very best to respond to all comments asap. Please do not include hyperlinks or email ids in the comment body. Such comments will be moderated and I reserve the right to delete the entire comment or remove the links before approving them.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Pattu,
    This is good and thought provoking.

    Two questions
    1. While incoming flooring for upto 10 years looks oke BUT beyond it and considering inflation, does that floor itself not be raised? (yes, it add more to the required corpus!)
    2. In the second method that you illustrated, the 1Cr (for the floor income) remains intact at the end of 30yrs. Should that also not be bought down to 0 at the end of 30yrs?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *