Wealthy in HK shoulder costs of elderly parents, survey shows

Business | 15 Sep 2020 6:26 pm

Asia's wealthy, including in Hong Kong, are bearing the financial strains of caring for their elderly parents, a bank survey found.

Nine out of 10 people in mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore support their elderly parents financially by paying recurring costs, higher than 69 percent on average globally, a survey by HSBC Premier found. The bank surveyed 2,200 in Canada, mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore and United Kingdom between November 2019 and February 2020. Respondents aged over 40 years old, supporting one or more parent, expect to support one or more parents in the next five years, or have supported in the past.

The survey shows that even the affluent – defined as those who earned US$100,000 (HK$780,000) annually or above – still worry about funding medical expenses for their parents, and in Hong Kong particularly, 41 percent said parents had suffered significant financial difficulty in their older years.

Respondents still face considerable difficulties in helping to plan for their elderly parents, ranging from ensuring inheritance tax efficiency (38 percent); being able to adjust the will or trust in case of changes (37 percent) or understanding the pros and cons of wills versus trust (38 percent).

Meanwhile, a good proportion of affluent respondents in mainland China (56 percent), Hong Kong (66 percent) and Singapore (73 percent) tend to keep their property inheritance for the next generations, the survey found.

In Hong Kong, the majority would keep the inherited property from their parents, which might reflects the city’s high property prices. They also showed similar cautiousness when it comes to using inheritance for investment.

Greg Hingston, Regional Head of Wealth and Personal Banking, Asia Pacific, HSBC said proper planning can take much of the stress out of saving for retirement and caring for retirees.

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