One in six young people in HK has no savings: survey

September 30, 2015 12:56
For many young people in Hong Kong, buying a home of their own is a distant dream, so they would rather spend their money on travel. Photo: HKEJ

Members of the "moonlight clan" are on the rise in Hong Kong. The term refers to people, usually young adults, who use up their entire salary before the next payday.

Young people would rather spend their money on travel and the latest gizmos than save it, which is why for many of them, owning a property in the city is a distant dream, Sky Post said, citing a recent survey.

About 500 people aged 18 to 35 were interviewed for the survey commissioned by insurer MassMutual Asia and conducted by the University of Hong Kong.

According to the findings, one in every six young people doesn’t have any savings each month. That's worse than in 2013 when one in every seven people didn’t save.

About 29 percent of the respondents consider buying their own flat as their biggest dream, a decline of 5 percentage points from 2013.

Meanwhile, 18 percent want to have a better job or start their own business, while 14 percent want to take a vacation or travel around the world.

This is a wealthy generation, said Billy Mak, an associate professor at the Hong Kong Baptist University, that's why they generally lack an understanding of wealth management.

“Some of them don't have the motivation to save as their income is too low, while some would think they still have lots of time,” Mak added.

Still, respondents expect their income will increase by 38 percent within the next five years.

That may seem a lot, but maybe not, if one considers that the average price of a unit in City One Shatin has risen from HK$1.77 million to HK$3.88 million over the past five years, an increase of 120 percent.

Clearly, the growth in the income of young people lags the surge in housing prices.

And as they think the chance of being able to buy their own flat is getting smaller through the years, young people would rather spend their time and money traveling around the world, and the percentage of those who want to become property owners drops as a result, according to Jeanne Sau, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at MassMutual Asia.

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