Date
24 September 2017
About 75 percent of Hong Kong parents rank Britain as their top choice for their children's schooling. Photo: Cambridge
About 75 percent of Hong Kong parents rank Britain as their top choice for their children's schooling. Photo: Cambridge

HK parents balk at cost of overseas education

Nearly nine in 10 Hong Kong parents would consider sending their children overseas to study but find the expense daunting, according to a survey by HSBC Holdings Plc.   

“Parents believe that education is the best investment for their children but the huge expense overseas brings difficulties when parents make the planning,” Diana Cesar, head of retail banking and wealth management, said.

“They should make sure the education savings of the kids are part of their long-term financial planning.”

The survey was conducted between December and January and polled 4,592 parents in 15 countries with at least one child aged below 23.

About 77 percent of Hong Kong parents put improved language skills as the top advantage of an overseas education compared with 69 percent who said learning to become independent is the most important takeaway.

About 75 percent ranked Britain as their top choice for their children’s schooling, followed by Australia at 56 percent and the United States at 52 percent.

Six in 10 Hong Kong parents said they have difficulty deciding on an education plan for their children, HSBC said.

An international student spends more than HK$280,000 (US$36,129) a year on average in the US and more than HK$320,000 in Australia.

Meanwhile, 85 percent of parents in China and 68 percent in Taiwan are planning to send their children abroad for education.

They listed the US as having the highest quality of education, followed by Britain and Germany.

Management of foreign assets is an important part of saving money for a child’s overseas education, HSBC said.

The cost could double if parents don’t manage these resources carefully.

Elaine Lai, head of wealth development, retail banking and wealth management, said parents who send their children to a foreign school should use the currency of the host country for savings and investment to avoid costs associated with exchange rate fluctuations.

Also, parents should start saving early for their children’s education in diversified portfolios to enjoy better returns, she said.

– Contact the reporter at [email protected]

RA

Ayishah Ma is a financial reporter on Greater China issues.

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