Many would baulk at the idea of being so impetuous with their jobs. Not so Gopal Krishnan, 55, former group Chief Operating Officer of a financial services company. A Commerce graduate with a PG in Management from Chennai University, with more than 25 years in financial business, Gopal Krishnan started his professional life with Enfield in 1980.
He quit his last job to ‘climb mountains, trek undiscovered terrains, learn to play violin, pursue photography, put together a coffee table book, travel to Greenland,’ and literally play ‘house husband, buying vegetables, answering the doorbell, attending to small chores’—a role he is only just beginning to discover, “adjust to and loving” evebit of it! Seriously? Are these compelling enough reasons to quit a great job? “Apparently yes”, says the former COO and no regrets! It was not an “emotional decision”, he says, revealing he’d been toying with the idea of quitting corporate life since he turned 50, but was stalled by circumstances to do so. It had always been work and more work for him. But the
fear of what I would do when I stopped working”, brought the realisation that there was more to life than work! That’s when he decided to pursue his ‘passions’
A lot of people have been talking to me, since I left¬. The issue with most is ‘what do I do, after leaving the job. I don't know anything other than work’. My advice is to start something you like. Don’t postpone.
If you have a couple of things you want to do, then your decision, added with your financial stability becomes a lot easier because then you have something to pursue when you don't have a corporate life.
I have a passion for Carnatic music and instruments. I wanted to learn playing one and started with violin.”
“I do a lot of photography – landscape and wildlife. Last year, I released a coffee table book: A tale of trunks – A journey from creation to immersion. The book covers the Ganpati festival celebrated in Mumbai in 2017, from the making of the idols to the immersion which is a story and a visual treat of the festival.” Notably another book, on popular demand by friends, a travelogue of sorts replete with photos of places he has visited, is in the offing. Besides photography, Yoga and travelling, Mr Krishnan is an avid trekker with his very first trek in Sikkim 2009, towards Kanchenjunga peak, whetting his appetite for more. “I trek to stay physically and mentally fit and challenged. Trekking helps me to completely cut off from the routine. To be in the wild, meet different people, see different landscapes gives a completely different feeling,” he shares.
A man of many accomplishments, Gopal Krishnan admits that no decision in his life is sudden or on the spur of the moment…it is all part of a well-thought out strategy, crucially about financially securing the future for his family.
He is lucky to have the support of his wife and children who felt he would now get his “own space to do things” he wanted to. But his mother, of a generation not used to people quitting their jobs, was initially wary and concerned on how he would “support the family”, accepted the decision a¬fter he sat her down and explained the Math to her.
Given today’s fast-paced life, one comes across many professionals in the prime of their career, approaching burnout, wanting to quit, but unable to do so, largely due to financial concerns. Few have the courage to walk the talk unlike Gopal whose careful planning for future financial stability may well serve as an inspiration. “Financial stability is extremely important, if you have a family commitment,” he says. Ironically, “people don't understand what kind of financial stability they want. This hampers their decision-making. To understand your financial stability, you need to know what you have and want to do. Once you put this perspective together it is easy to take a call.”
Which is exactly what he did.
I’m risk averse, so I started investing on my own and planning. Obviously it was not a professional but a more intuitive planning. But once I got closer to taking the decision, I engaged with a financial consultant company to help me collate my financial goals, my family’s needs, my passion, what I wanted to do and how much money I’d need to take care of this. Once I put it together and saw my retirement excel sheet, I felt comfortable and took the call to quit.”
To meet his financial goals, Gopal “started investing small amounts in mutual funds and stocks. My current assets are mutual funds, predominantly in debt funds; direct equity stocks and real estate houses (three of them).” When the assets became unmanageable, he enlisted a firm to manage the portfolio. “They know my requirements, my risk appetite, so accordingly they shuffle my portfolio and invest. I’ve made a will, they have a copy of it and know exactly what is going to happen in case of any emergency.
I don't get into micromanagement but they keep me updated. It is important for an expert to manage your portfolio rather than you doing it individually,” he says, adding, “You may have huge financial services experience, but could still make mistakes like I did. So you need somebody who does only that.” Candid that his source of income is “just my investments,”
Krishnan says, he hasn’t “compromised on my living, or maintaining a certain lifestyle.” As part of the financial planning he allocated an “annual budget for my travels that gets replenished eve 1st of January. There is an allocation for health; for my wife’s social causes; my son's education in the US. I’ve consciously made these allocations and they are clearly managed. I utilise these allocations year-on-year.”
Health insurance, he says is a must because “Today medical has become very expensive. There was a corporate medical policy while I was working. I have a personal policy for me and the family. The premiums are little more but I did this because it gives me a lot more comfort. I don't have life insurance as I felt that there is no need for it. I felt that sustenance is no more an issue for me. I don't need that insurance to take care of my sustenance. The moment I knew my entire portfolio and my financial stability I stopped it.”
- When one thinks of pursuing passion and retire from work, the first thing that takes a hit is the finances. And to keep pace with the rising inflation, a robust financial plan for post-retirement life is paramount.
- Planning your finances should be in a way such that it doesn’t affect the present lifestyle and ensures the financial needs of dependent family members, thereby having adequate funds to realize the dream.
- So, to cater to the above needs and ensure financial stability, one would require having a realistic retirement plan. The plan would include investments in different asset classes, family health insurance and an emergency fund.
Wealth Management-To manage your finances without compromising the current lifestyle of the family, one would require inflow of funds regularly. A diversified portfolio with investments in mutual funds, stocks, real estate and FDs would be necessary. This may arise the need for wealth management advisor to ensure your investments are adequately allocated across different asset classes, considering your risk appetite at various stage.
Health Insurance Plans-With the rising cost of expenses in the medical sector, one cannot deny that a health insurance policy for oneself, spouse and dependents in the family is mandatory. This acts like a comfort cushion where one is aware that the rising inflation towards the health sector would not hit finances majorly anytime in future.
Building an Emergency fund-Although one has a planned strategy and a proper retirement plan, some situations happen unplanned and they are inevitable. Having a fund to meet these situations would be essential. Keeping a small part of your fund in a high- interest savings account or investing in high liquidity vehicle would ensure a seamless post-retirement life.
The information contained herein is generic in nature and is meant for educational purposes only. Nothing here is to be construed as an investment or financial or taxation advice nor to be considered as an invitation or solicitation or advertisement for any financial product. Readers are advised to exercise discretion and should seek independent professional advice prior to making any investment decision in relation to any financial product. Aditya Birla Capital Group is not liable for any decision arising out of the use of this information.
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The Facilities Provider, ABC Companies and any of its Third Party Service Providers shall not be liable for any delay or failure in performance resulting directly or indirectly from acts of nature, forces, or causes beyond their reasonable control, including, without limitation, Internet failures, computer equipment failures, telecommunication equipment failures, other equipment failures, electrical power failures, strikes, virus, other malicious computer code, hacking, labour disputes, riots, insurrections, civil disturbances, shortages of labour or materials, fires, flood, storms, explosions, acts of God, war, earthquake, governmental actions, orders of domestic or foreign courts or tribunals, non-performance of third parties, or loss of or fluctuations in heat, light, or air conditioning.
The Facilities Provider, ABC Companies or any of its third party service providers and processor bank/merchants etc. shall not be deemed to have waived any of its/their rights or remedies hereunder, unless such waiver is in writing. No delay or omission on the part of Facilities Providers and ABC Companies, in exercising any rights or remedies shall operate as a waiver of such rights or remedies or any other rights or remedies. A waiver on any one occasion shall not be construed as a bar or waiver of any rights or remedies on future occasions.
Either party can terminate this Agreement by notifying the other party in writing. Upon such termination You will not be able to use the facilities of this Website.
Governing Law and Jurisdiction
These Terms and Conditions are governed by and to be interpreted in accordance with laws of India, without regard to the choice or conflicts of law provisions of any jurisdiction. You agree, in the event of any dispute arising in relation to these Terms and Conditions or any dispute arising in relation to the Website whether in contract or tort or otherwise, to submit to the jurisdiction of the courts located at Mumbai, India for the resolution of all such disputes.