How Much Retirement Corpus Do NRIs Need for a Comfortable Retirement?

Reading Time: 8 minutes

How Much Retirement Corpus Do NRIs Need for a Comfortable Retirement?

When contemplating retirement, individuals envision different lifestyles. Some retirees relish their golden years, while others barely maintain their previous living standards. Many live frugally, ensuring their savings last their lifetime and that of their spouse. However, some face the daunting reality of depleted funds towards the end of their journey. For Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) who plan to retire in India, this concern is magnified due to factors such as currency differentials and the lower cost of services in India.

Why Do NRIs Need a Retirement Corpus?

Retirement planning is a critical financial and personal matter for NRIs, directly impacting their lifestyle during retirement. NRIs must exert additional effort as they have been disconnected from the ground realities in India, including healthcare costs, cost of living, and tax regulations.

Many NRIs fall into the category of HENRYs (High Earners, Not Rich Yet). While their incomes are higher than the average population in their host country, a high-maintenance lifestyle limits their savings and investments. Typically, HENRYs are in their late 40s or early 50s and have only recently recognized the necessity of meticulous retirement planning. By retiring in India and converting their savings to Indian Rupees (INR), the retirement corpus often becomes substantial and sufficient.

Factors to Consider for NRIs to Determine their Retirement Corpus

NRIs need to address several crucial questions to determine their retirement corpus:

  • Can the retirement corpus sustain the current lifestyle in the host country, or would retirement in India be more viable?
  • What is the expected duration for the retirement corpus to last?
  • How much needs to be allocated for medical expenses?
  • What will the cost be for hobbies and new interests?
  • How will inflation, exchange rates, and market fluctuations affect the corpus?
  • What are the tax implications of retirement savings in the host country and India?
  • What investment options are available internationally and in India, and how secure is the portfolio against various risks?

NRI-Specific Dilemmas that they must consider when planning to retire

  • Relocation: NRIs often face the challenge of deciding whether to return to India or retire abroad.
  • Healthcare Quality: The perceived quality of healthcare in India versus abroad impacts the decision to return.
  • Investment Strategy: Identifying suitable investment options that cater to NRIs’ specific needs and risk profiles is vital.
  • Estate Planning: Ensuring a seamless transfer of wealth across jurisdictions requires careful planning.
  • Tax Implications: Understanding the tax consequences of retirement savings in both the host country and India is necessary to avoid double taxation.

Determining Retirement Needs in India

  • Choosing a Retirement Destination: The retirement destination should be a deliberate choice rather than one dictated by financial constraints. Many NRIs return to India because of family or business ties. The cost of living in India varies significantly; retiring in a tier-2 city like Jaipur, Kochi, or Lucknow may cost nearly half of what it would in a metro like Delhi or Mumbai. Smaller towns or villages require even less corpus.
  • When to Retire: With advancements in healthcare, many people in their 50s and 60s remain in excellent health and can continue to earn well into their 70s or beyond. While job retirement is age-linked, retiring from a business or profession is a personal choice. Many continue to undertake financially rewarding assignments in advisory roles even after retiring from regular jobs.
  • Life Expectancy: Life expectancy has increased due to better healthcare and nutrition, meaning retirees will need their savings to last longer. As individuals age, the likelihood of critical illnesses increases, thus elevating medical expenses. A substantial corpus is necessary to cover these eventualities.
  • Post-Retirement Goals: These may include funding children’s or grandchildren’s education and marriages, bequeathing family heirlooms, planning vacations, and indulging in long-desired hobbies. A well-structured financial plan can accommodate these goals while prioritizing them appropriately.
  • Exchange Rate Fluctuations: Current exchange rates might favour NRIs, but future uncertainties necessitate investments in INR-denominated assets in India to mitigate risks associated with currency fluctuations.
  • Expenses and Inflation: Real inflation often exceeds reported figures, especially for medical and comfort-related expenses. It’s prudent to anticipate higher inflation rates in retirement planning and maintain a contingency fund for unforeseen expenses.

Calculating the Target Retirement Corpus

A financial planner can help integrate various factors to determine a realistic retirement corpus range. The lower band represents the minimum required, while the upper band indicates the desired corpus. Surpassing the upper band is always advantageous. Once a target corpus is established, a financial planner can evaluate current investments and recommend adjustments to achieve the upper range.

Strategy for Achieving Retirement Corpus

Regardless of the required corpus, proactive financial planning is essential. A financial planner can assess the current portfolio, its internal rate of return (IRR), and the time left until retirement to suggest whether the current investment strategy is adequate or needs to be more aggressive.

Key Considerations for Transferring Foreign Pension Funds to India

  • Transferring Funds: Funds can be transferred to NRE or NRO bank accounts in India, complying with FEMA guidelines.
  • Investing in Indian Pension Plans: NRIs can invest in plans from top insurance companies like LIC and Bajaj Allianz, offering options for lifetime annuity and tax benefits under Section 80CCC. The National Pension Scheme (NPS) is another viable option with additional tax benefits.
  • Tax Considerations: Tax implications in both the host country and India should be evaluated to avoid double taxation. Engaging a tax specialist is advisable.
  • Retirement Corpus Planning: Estimating the required retirement corpus involves considering living expenses in India, accounting for inflation and exchange rate fluctuations.
  • Documentation: Ensuring all documents related to the stay in the host country are safeguarded is crucial.

By effectively transferring foreign pension funds to India and investing in suitable plans, NRIs can secure a financially stable and comfortable retirement in their home country.

Retirement Planning Dilemmas for NRIs

Retirement planning presents dilemmas for everyone, but NRIs face additional complexities. These dilemmas can be broadly categorized into general retirement issues and those specific to NRIs. The issues experienced by NRIs are mentioned above. This section of the blog will cover the key considerations that may cause General Retirement Dilemmas. These are the considerations that will affect a retirement plan:

  • Definition of Retirement: Modern retirement often involves active engagement in meaningful work rather than complete cessation of activities.
  • Early Retirement: The increasing average lifespan necessitates careful consideration of the retirement corpus.
  • Perception of Retirement Age: The societal view of retirement age impacts individual planning and attitudes.
  • Underestimating Life Expectancy: Misjudging life expectancy can lead to insufficient retirement savings.
  • Retirement Location: Choosing where to retire involves considering financial, social, and environmental factors.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Adequate planning for medical emergencies is crucial.
  • Family Financial Support: Balancing the support for children and grandchildren with one’s retirement needs is essential.
  • Coping with Inflation: Accounting for inflation ensures the retirement corpus retains value.
  • Financial Independence: Financial stability during retirement is the primary goal for all individuals.
  • Late Start in Retirement Planning: Starting early significantly impacts the adequacy of the retirement corpus.
  • Debt Management: Minimizing debt ensures a smoother transition to retirement.


The actual monthly investment, avenues, and returns depend on one’s risk profile, current disposable income, and potential income growth. Precision in rates and amounts is challenging due to the long-term nature of retirement planning. Flexibility to adjust plans and expectations is crucial.

Retirement planning is an ongoing process, necessitating periodic reviews and adjustments. Starting retirement planning early ensures a robust foundation for a dream retirement. Asking the right questions and working closely with a financial advisor can help NRIs transition from their working years to a dignified and comfortable retirement by establishing a comprehensive plan that ensures that NRIs can enjoy a financially secure and fulfilling retirement, whether in India or abroad.


1. What is a retirement corpus, and why is it important for NRIs?

Answer – A retirement corpus is the total amount of savings and investments needed to sustain one’s lifestyle during retirement. For NRIs, it is essential to consider factors like currency exchange rates, cost of living in India, and future healthcare needs.

2. How can NRIs estimate the amount they need for a comfortable retirement in India?

Answer – NRIs should consider their desired retirement lifestyle, healthcare costs, inflation, life expectancy, and potential future expenses. Consulting with a financial planner can help create a detailed and personalized plan.

3. What are the benefits of retiring in India for NRIs?

Answer – Retiring in India can offer a lower cost of living, favorable exchange rates, cultural familiarity, and proximity to family. The value of foreign savings can also stretch further in India compared to other countries.

4. What factors should NRIs consider when choosing a retirement destination in India?

Answer – NRIs should consider the cost of living, healthcare facilities, infrastructure, climate, and proximity to family and friends. Smaller cities or towns may offer a lower cost of living compared to major metropolitan areas.

5. How do exchange rate fluctuations impact the retirement corpus for NRIs?

Answer – Exchange rate fluctuations can affect the value of savings when converting foreign currency to Indian Rupees. Investing in INR-denominated assets can help mitigate this risk and provide more stability.

6. What are the tax implications for NRIs on their retirement savings?

Answer – NRIs need to understand the tax regulations in both their host country and India. Consulting with a tax specialist can help navigate double taxation issues and optimize tax efficiency.

7. What investment options are available for NRIs to build their retirement corpus?

Answer – NRIs can invest in a variety of options including mutual funds, fixed deposits, real estate, and Indian pension plans like the National Pension Scheme (NPS). Diversifying investments can help manage risk and maximize returns.

8. How should NRIs plan for healthcare expenses during retirement in India?

Answer – NRIs should allocate a portion of their retirement corpus specifically for healthcare. Considering health insurance and setting aside funds for potential medical emergencies is crucial for financial security.

9. What challenges do NRIs face when transferring foreign pension funds to India?

Answer – Transferring foreign pension funds can involve complex regulations and tax implications. Understanding the rules of both the host country and India, and seeking professional advice, can facilitate a smoother transfer.

10. How often should NRIs review and adjust their retirement plans?

Answer  – Retirement planning is an ongoing process. NRIs should review their plans periodically, ideally every year or when there are significant life changes, to ensure their strategies remain aligned with their goals and financial situation.

Subscribe for Latest News and Resources