Affluent Hongkongers most pessimistic in Asia about affording their ideal retirement lifestyle, survey finds

10-Oct-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

About two thirds of affluent Hongkongers feel they are not on track financially to fulfil their retirement dreams, a pessimism that contrasts with those in China, according to the results of a survey published on Tuesday.

In a study of 1,000 respondents across Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Taiwan aged between 35 and 59, Standard Chartered looked at retirement trends among consumers who own between $116,200 and $352,100 in assets.

Just over a third of the respondents, at 36 per cent, in Hong Kong felt they were financially on track to achieve the retirement lifestyle they desire, which was the lowest among the five markets surveyed.

That was despite 63 per cent of those surveyed indicating they had started their retirement planning.

“With increased costs of living and education and a greater appetite for leisure and travel, many individuals in Hong Kong feel that they will not be able to achieve their desired retirement lifestyle,” said Eugene Puar, head of wealth management at Standard Chartered, Hong Kong.

In fact Hong Kong was the only market whereby respondents, when asked what retirement means to them, indicated a strong feeling of being burdened. Respondents in China and Taiwan expressed a feeling of freedom.

“Affluent consumers in Hong Kong flagged the unfavourable global financial climate, lack of investment opportunities that generate adequate returns, and lack of financial knowledge as the top three challenges,” Standard Chartered wrote in a press release outlining the results.

The survey, conducted in June and July, coincided with the start of protests in Hong Kong, now into their fourth month, which were initially triggered by a controversial extradition bill in early June. With the government having formally withdrawn the bill, the rallies have morphed into anti-government demonstrations marked by increased violence, clashes with police and vandalism.

The protests, combined with the US-China trade war, sent retail sales plunging by a record 23 per cent in August from a year ago, even worse than that posted in September 1998 during the Asian financial crisis. The city is now bracing for a recession in the third quarter.

But this relationship between a high level of retirement planning and a low level of optimism was apparently reversed in China, where almost three quarters of respondents were confident of being able to afford their perfect retirement.

Standard Chartered said that indicated respondents in China shared a greater sense of optimism and security.

The number who felt they are financially on track to achieve desired retirement lifestyle, at 73 per cent, was far higher than in Hong Kong.

Standard Chartered then asked respondents who indicated both having started planning, and financially on track to retire well, what actions they have taken to prepare for retirement planning.

Of those who had started planning for retirement and felt they were on track, 75 per cent said they invested in stocks, bonds and unit trusts. That was the most popular choice among Taiwanese respondents.

Just under half said they made additional contributions to government retirement savings schemes, the most popular option among Hong Kong respondents; and 46 per cent said they bought insurance retirement plans, the preferred choice in China.


Category: Hong Kong

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