‘Life After’ Seminar Presents Strategies for Sustainable Income in Retirement

BY PRAMOD KULKARNI

Participants in the India House/SOS “Life After” seminar were Vipin Kumar (left), Mani Subramanian, Jaya Mittakanti, A.J. John, Anasuya Kabad, Mohan Kuruvilla, Randhir Sahni and Atma Ram.

HOUSTON: Among the major milestones in one’s life is retirement. Most retirees and soon-to-be Retiree’s desire to live a healthy and comfortable retired life, travel to exotic places on their bucket list, and spend quality time with family and friends. However, it is natural to feel anxious of whether their life savings will outlast theirs and their spouse’s lives and whether they are able to leave some legacy. This anxiety is exacerbated by the increasing turbulence in the geopolitical environment and the information overload from the internet economy.

Share Our Secrets (SOS), in partnership with India House, organized a free educational program, which provided suggestions on how retirees and soon-to-be retirees may achieve some of their retirement goals.

About 200 people attended the fifth in the series of “Life After” seminars: “Sustainable Income Stream for Retirement” on Sunday, June 9, 2019 from 4 to 6:30 pm at India House.
Share Our Secrets (SOS) coordinator Atma Ram welcomed the gathering and provided a background on SOS. Ram described how SOS is an educational organization, which conducts a gamut of programs for educated young people to teach them skills that are not taught in college curriculums and enabling them to succeed in their careers. SOS also conducts various community outreach events, on topics of interest to Houstonians, and specifically for seniors that could benefit them in their retired lives.

Following Atma Ram, Col. Vipin Kumar (retired), Executive India House, explained how India House is a community center, which provides a myriad of services and activities, either free or at a highly discounted price, including Charity Clinic, Sareen Clinic, Yoga, Meditation, After School, Technology Classes for Seniors, Vedanta Study, Hindi Language, Sanskrit Language, Legal Consultations, Dance Classes, Cricket and informative/ educational seminars. India House, in partnership with Food Bank of Houston, has recently started a program to distribute food to disadvantaged members of the community.

Retirement planning experts, who participated in the seminar, included A. J. John, an insurance executive with Wheatstone LLC, who served as the emcee. The keynote speaker was Dr. Mohan Kuruvilla, Senior Professor of Practice at the University of Houston Bauer College of Business and current President of the Houston CPA Society.
Participants in the Q&A portion with Dr. Kuruvilla were Anasuya Kabad, CFP® from Jaykay Wealth Advisors Inc, and Randhir Sanhi, a well known architect as well as a financial planner. Representing the financial planning consumer was Jaya Mittakanti, a retired business owner.

Emcee A.J. John urged the audience not to depend on social security as their main source of income. “There is no magic formula. You have to look at your sources of income and build savings and investments for retirement and look upon social security as an income supplement.”

Dr. Kuruvilla presented a series of topics that prepped the audience for the panel discussion. “Retirement is expensive,” Dr. Kuruvilla explained at the outset. “We have to preserve our investments and make them grow. We also have to keep in mind how to maintain that income stream for our spouse. And don’t forget Uncle Sam. Taxes are going to be with you right to the grave.”

Financial Planner Randhir Sahni, said “You need to know your assets — what you have, where you have them and what return each asset is earning. The key is compounding your assets over time and getting a better growth rate.”

Mrs. Mittakanti said, “While we were working and raising our children, it was difficult to focus on retirement planning. In my 40s, we decided to invest in instruments such as IRAs and REITS through the advice of a financial advisor.”

Ms. Kabad said that in her firm’s financial practice we make sure to find out from our clients what is important to them regarding money. “It is not just sufficient money for comfortable day-to-day living, but it is about crossing items off your bucket list such as travel, spending time with family and friends, and even donating funds to a charity.”
Over a period of 20 minutes, the panelists answered many specific questions relating to various financial instruments such as annuities and IRAs, particularly conversion of conventional IRAs to Roth IRAs which are not subject to minimum required distribution after age 70.5.

In conclusion, Atma Ram urged the audience to provide feedback on the seminar so that the organizers could design future “Life After” seminars to suit the needs of the attendees.
A feedback survey link was sent out to all seminar participants. Any other feedback, suggestions, and offers to support the outreach educational programs can also be sent to sosoutreachteam@gmail.com.

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