HK's affluent feel strain of helping out parents

Top News | Avery Chen 16 Sep 2020

Taking care of elderly parents is placing a financial strain on Asia's affluent, especially those from Hong Kong, a survey has found.

Nine out of 10 respondents from Hong Kong, the mainland and Singapore support their elderly parents financially by paying recurring costs, according to the survey by the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.

That compares to the global average of 69 percent.

In Hong Kong, 94 percent of respondents contributed money to their parents by paying recurring costs. This is higher than the 88 percent in the mainland and 84 percent in Singapore, the survey showed.

HSBC interviewed over 2,200 respondents in Hong Kong, the mainland, Canada, Singapore and the United Kingdom between November last year and February this year.

Respondents were over 40 years old, are currently supporting one or more parents and expect to support one or more parents in the next five years or have supported them in the past.

The affluent - defined as those who earn US$100,000 (HK$780,000) or more annually - still worry about paying their parents' medical expenses.

For Hong Kong in particular, 41 percent of respondents said their parents had suffered significant financial difficulty in their older years.

More than 60 percent of Hong Kong respondents said finding or funding medical support - identifying and acting on specific illnesses in particular - is their biggest concern in personal care.

With regard to personal challenges in supporting parents, the biggest worries of affluent Asians are financial stress associated with supporting parents (46 percent), managing personal stress (43 percent) and developing their own career while supporting their parents (39 percent).

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

In Hong Kong, majority of respondents said they would keep the inherited property from their parents - an attitude that might reflect the city's high property prices.

They showed similar cautiousness with using their inheritance for investment, the survey found.

Greg Hingston, regional head of wealth and personal banking, Asia Pacific, said: "The pandemic has put extra pressure on the 'sandwich generation' - those who provide caring and financial support for both their children and elderly parents - making smart, long-term wealth planning more important than ever."

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