MUMBAI: Indians are striving for a better work-life balance with aspirations such as overseas travel and physical fitness emerging as new life goals. Also, the top priority for working Indians across segments is providing for their child’s education.
A survey conducted by Kantar IMRB, which was commissioned by Bajaj Allianz Life to understand Indians’ life goals and preparedness, has thrown up some surprises. While the conventional goals of owning a house, spending time with family and having financial freedom on retirement are part of the top 10 objectives, there are emerging aspirations that indicates Indians are serious about work-life balance.
“Travel is becoming a mainstream goal with one in four Indians wanting to travel abroad. One in three Indians are talking about fitness and health as a goal,” said Tarun Chugh, CEO, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance. “One thing that has come as a surprise is that women are turning out to be more oriented towards travel and health than men,” he added. More than 40% of women in the survey have health and fitness goals and one in three aspire to travel to new and exotic locations!
According to Chugh, the focus on children’s education reflects social conditioning in India. As families have turned nuclear, parents’ lives revolve around children. Also, unlike in the West where children upon reaching adulthood are expected to fend for themselves or finance their higher education through loans, Indian parents see this as their responsibility.
While goals of millennials are inclined toward career development and possessions, 42% of them are already thinking about saving for retirement. A sharp difference between respondents in metros and non-metros is that only 33% of non-metro respondents are thinking about preparing for retirement as against 56% in the metros. According to Chandramohan Mehra, chief marketing officer, Bajaj Allianz, what’s changing is also the influencers for the aspirations. “For conventional goals like owning a house or child’s education, the influencers continue to be family and friends. But when it comes to unconventional life goals, like travel or health and fitness, it is social media, movies, books and celebrities. This is particularly true for millennials where the impact of movies is 50% higher than for non-millennials,” he said. According to Mehra, Indians are highly optimistic about achieving their life goals. But when asked to go further and speak of their preparedness to achieve their goals, the percentage drops sharply with lack of financial support and lack of time being cited as the main barriers to achieving their goal.
Chugh feels that the higher level of optimism is because of India’s demographics with a large chunk of the population being below 25 years. For Bajaj Allianz, the finding reaffirms the company’s philosophy to focus on living benefits rather than just benefits for survivors. “Most of the goals are long-term and insurance is the longest term product,” said Chugh.