Hong Kong, Sept 13: In an era of increasing global uncertainty, particularly due to health and income-related emergencies, individuals across Asia are taking proactive measures to safeguard their financial futures. A recent survey conducted by Prudential plc, titled “Empowering Aspirations: Financial Preparedness in Asia,” sheds light on the financial habits and aspirations of 5,000 respondents from Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. The survey explores how having a financial safety net impacts people’s lives, revealing insights into saving patterns, insurance adoption, and aspirations for a more secure future.
Priscilla Ng, Group Chief Customer and Marketing Officer at Prudential plc, commented on the survey’s significance, saying, “We are currently living in an uncertain world where the pandemic has highlighted the importance of being prepared amid constant disruption. With this in mind, we undertook the survey to understand the impact that having a financial safety net can have on individuals, and their ability to pursue personal and professional aspirations.”
One of the key findings of the survey is the strong commitment individuals show towards setting aside money specifically for health and income-related emergencies. A striking 60 percent of the respondents expressed their dedication to building a financial safety net.
In the wake of uncertainties brought about by the ongoing pandemic, it comes as no surprise that emergency savings have become a priority for many.
A substantial 61 percent of participants attributed their increased savings to the social and economic impacts of the pandemic.
Interestingly, the survey reveals generational differences in savings habits. Millennials, also known as Gen-Y, lead the pack when it comes to emergency savings, with a remarkable 74 percent of individuals in this group prioritizing saving for unforeseen circumstances. This figure outpaces the percentages observed among Gen-Z (49 percent), Gen-X (62 percent), and even baby boomers (49 percent).
Breaking down the results by market, Malaysia emerges as the leader in savings, with 67 percent of respondents actively allocating funds for emergencies. In contrast, Hong Kong recorded the lowest figure among the five markets, where just half (52 percent) of the city’s residents reported saving for emergencies.
The survey also highlights the crucial role of insurance in providing a financial safety net. Close to 80 percent of the 5,000 respondents reported having health insurance, while 46 percent had income replacement protection. These statistics underscore the significant role of insurance in safeguarding individuals against unforeseen circumstances that can impact their health and earning capacity.
Moreover, individuals with insurance exhibited a stronger propensity for saving.
A notable 66 percent of insured participants indicated that they save for emergencies, compared to only 39 percent of those without insurance.
The survey delves into the motivations behind acquiring insurance.
Over three-quarters (76 percent) of the respondents cited the provision of a crucial safety net as the primary reason for obtaining insurance. Additionally, just under two-thirds (62 percent) mentioned seeking protection against prevalent diseases in the market, while half of them attributed their decision to a family history of specific illnesses.
When asked about their spending priorities if they didn’t have to allocate funds for emergencies, respondents expressed a range of aspirations. Nearly half (49 percent) desired to save more for retirement, acknowledging the need for long-term financial security. Additionally, almost one-third (31 percent) expressed a desire to travel more, while more than a quarter (26 percent) considered investments in property or home improvements.
The importance of investing in better education for their children was emphasized by 28 percent of respondents.
Priscilla Ng summed up Prudential’s mission in light of the survey’s findings, stating, “We are in the business of assuring people’s futures and therefore we strive to safeguard their well-being and financial security. Prudential is committed to addressing these challenges by bridging the protection gap and empowering individuals to face the future with confidence. Our new purpose statement ‘For Every Life, For Every Future’ reflects our mission to be a trusted partner and protector by providing simple and accessible financial and health solutions.”
In conclusion, the “Empowering Aspirations: Financial Preparedness in Asia” survey illuminates the evolving financial landscape in Asia. As individuals adapt to a world marked by uncertainty, they are increasingly prioritizing emergency savings and recognizing the pivotal role of insurance. These financial habits reflect a desire for security and a commitment to achieving personal and professional aspirations in an ever-changing world.
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