A short-haired woman in a sari stares into the distance
In an emerging trend, NRIs are looking at investing and retiring in India (image courtesy: Unsplash)

NRI’s want to retire to India

Manjiri Thomare, a non-resident Indian entrepreneur based in the San Francisco Bay area says that she wants to return to India after retirement. Thomare and her family had relocated to the States nearly a decade ago owing to her husband’s transfer and for better prospects for the children. After her children have established themselves, Thomare and her husband plan to return to India and reconnect with family and friends.

In India, hiring reliable home help is a game-changer, especially as one gets older, she feels. Thomare believes friends, acquaintances, and neighbors are also a big part of India’s companionship and social interaction scene. It’s been proven that social connections can make life less stressful and longer.

“The cost of living in India is way lower than in the USA. Housing is super affordable, and healthcare doesn’t break the bank. Everyday stuff like food, transportation, and household services won’t drain your wallet either. So, living in India means you can make your retirement savings last longer, allowing you to follow your passions, travel, and have a blast during your golden years. It’s all about having a great quality of life without burning through your hard-earned cash!” she says. 

A recent survey by the Fintech platform SBNRI found that more than half of NRIs in countries like the USA, Australia, Canada, Singapore, and the UK want to invest and retire in India.

Earlier most Indians who left the country for better opportunities abroad preferred to retire in the developed nations they migrated to. However, in recent years, the retirement trends have changed and many NRIs are now aspiring to invest and retire in India. 

Shubham Banerjee from the Founder’s Office of SBNRI feels there are several reasons for this change. In some developed nations, Indians go on work trips for a few years and these countries do not offer permanent residency or citizenship, so they must return to India. 

“Many Indians want to have global exposure and move abroad for short durations. They also have emotional ties to their home country and want to come back and retire here,” Banerjee says. 

Reasons to return

SBNRI found that more non-resident Indians are investing in India now and the potential has been rising in the last few years. Economic growth and the rise in tech, startups, and investment platforms have been the major reasons. Return from investments has also been higher in the last ten years, Banerjee believes. 

Abhay Kumar Singh, a Senior Director at Oracle moved to the United States two years ago. While he feels the US is a great place to be in, he plans to move back to India with his wife after his son gets into an undergrad college in the US. 

“We do feel that we live far away from my aging parents who are in India. While I do have my brother and sister there, my parents have mostly stayed with me when I was in India, and they are very close to my kids,” Singh says. 

“While the US has several great things, we personally love India. Everybody’s life is very, very busy here, and most people would have a self-contained, family-centric upbringing. In India, we would go and meet our friends, brothers, sisters, and parents more often and the social attachment is stronger in India compared to the US,” he adds.

Reasons to leave

In India, there’s immense competition in terms of education and careers, and Singh’s family’s move was fueled by the fact that his kids could get better opportunities in the US. Quality in terms of education in America is much more practical-oriented and explorative compared to India where learning by rote is still prevalent. 

“We felt our son could get a better platform for education in the US and choose from a wider variety of choices in terms of subjects,” Singh adds. 

U.S. vs India

Healthcare costs in the US are much higher than in India, and people are often put on a long waitlist to see a medical practitioner unless it is an emergency. While most employers take care of health insurance, there can be cases where it is not fully covered. If paid out of one’s own pocket, medical costs could be too high for many people to afford.

“India is also growing at a much higher pace compared to other countries now. We came to the US to explore and see how things are. Both my wife and I are working now. We have seen what we wanted. After another 5-7 years, when we’re no longer working, we would like to be closer to our families and friends and mingle with the culture, traditions and festivities back home in India,” Singh says.

Photo by Zohair Mirza on Unsplash

Arundhati Nath, a freelance content writer, children's author, and independent journalist who has written for top national and international publications such as The Guardian, CNN, BBC News, South China...