Forget the confectionery: Hong Kong children more likely to save ‘lai see’ packet haul, survey says

11-Feb-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Instead of buying confectionery or toys, Hong Kong’s next generation is focused on the future as they count their annual haul from “lai see” packets they receive from family and friends during Lunar New Year, according to a survey by AXA Investment Managers.

More than three-quarters of children in Hong Kong are actively saving into bank accounts and enjoy a weekly income of HK$180 (US$23) on average, the survey found.

The city’s children receive about HK$9,400 a year in pocket money either as gifts or incentives for doing chores, said AXA Investment Managers, a unit of the insurer and asset manager AXA Group.

“It is heartening to see that today’s children in Hong Kong are financially engaged from an early age and keen to learn more about money – and it seems they are even thinking long-term,” Terence Lam, head of sales and marketing in Asia for AXA Investment Managers, said.

“We believe that financial education needs to start early when habits are being formed, with no better place to learn than at home.”

The online survey interviewed 120 children between the ages of 8 and 15 years old.

The survey was conducted as part of AXA Investment Managers’ new “Voices” report on Hongkongers’ attitudes to money and investing.

More half of those surveyed said they were confident about their personal finance situation and 59 per cent said they were confident about how their finances will look in the future.

Hong Kong companies are spending big on this ‘lai see’ envelope tradition that dates back to the 1960s

The city’s economy grew at its slowest quarterly pace in two years in the third quarter, according to the most recent data available from the Hong Kong government. Fourth quarter GDP numbers will be released later this month.

However, only 31 per cent of Hong Kong residents who responded said they were very likely or extremely likely to take out a new investment in the next 12 months and more than half had not ruled out the possibility of reducing their investments.

The “Voices” report separately surveyed more than 1,000 people in Hong Kong in June 2018, focusing on the top 80 per cent of earners.

“Hong Kong’s investment approach is heavily influenced by short-term, speculative attitudes that find their roots in the Mark Six Lottery, horse racing, property and stock trading, or even in temporary trends like trading in action figures,” AXA Investment Managers said.

“Therefore, long-term investment thinking seems to suffer in Hong Kong.”

About 80 per cent of the children believed that saving money was the right thing to do and 65 per cent were happy to wait if it meant they would have more money from savings – HK$20 in three weeks’ time vs HK$10 today, according to the survey.

The survey also found that money was not the main focus of children in Hong Kong, instead they were more immediately concerned about the impact of their behaviour on the environment and social issues.


Category: Hong Kong

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