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HSBC: Why some Hongkongers are worried about their financial future

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A recent retirement report by HSBC – “The Future of Retirement” – reveals Hong Kong men and women are still somewhat subscribed to traditional family gender roles.

Despite the public’s changing attitudes towards women in work, there is an innate readiness for many Hong Kong working women to make family sacrifices such as quitting their jobs for their children (26% versus 10% in men), which is de facto, the highest in Asia. This phenomenon is in some way yoked to women’s significant financial worries.

More than half (52%) of the female respondents are responsible for grocery shopping and day-to-day purchases (men: 33%); and only 33% see themselves as the decision maker of their own or family investments (men: 52%). When it comes to large, one-off payments on purchases, men (49%) double the amount of women who consider that as one of their family responsibilities.

Hence, only 38% of working age women in Hong Kong, as compared to 49% of working age men, are confident about their financial future, the lowest among the surveyed markets in Asia.

More than half (55%) of female interviewees predict they will struggle to pay for basic necessities (men: 51%), while 72% believe they will not have enough money to cover their medical and care expenses after retirement (men: 67%).

Working age women are also still far from equipping themselves well for the future, with only 39% saying they will actively move their money around in their investment portfolio to get the best return (men: 48%). Only a quarter of them see their financial knowledge as higher than their partners (men: 43%).

Elaine Lai, head of wealth development, retail banking and wealth management, Hong Kong for HSBC, said: “While Hong Kong women are very concerned about their future of retirement, they have different priorities such as raising children and are less prepared for their retirement. There is plenty women can do to ensure that they too can enjoy a better retirement. Today’s women at working age need to become more independent in managing their finances.”

Overall, Hong Kong people’s biggest concern is the ability to afford care costs in retirement, with 69% worrying about the rising costs of healthcare, and 47% showing concern about being able to afford residential home care.

The Future of Retirement is an independent research study into global retirement trends, commissioned by HSBC. The findings are based on a representative sample of people of working age (21-plus) and in retirement, in each country or territory.

The research was conducted online by Ipsos MORI in November and December 2017, with additional face-to-face interviews in the UAE. The 16 countries and territories are Australia, Argentina, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, Taiwan, Turkey, UAE, UK and the US.

The Hong Kong findings represent the views of 1,011 people in Hong Kong.

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