Forty percent of people surveyed across Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia are not confident that they can manage their finances without additional financial assistance, following the end of pandemic fuelled financial support from governments and employers and rising inflation, according to new research from Principal Financial Group.
Principal surveyed 1,500 respondents across Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. The survey found that macroeconomic headwinds have begun to impede people’s ability to save for retirement and plan for their financial future.
In the last two years, over half (51 per cent) of people surveyed across all Asia markets said their savings had decreased and 43 per cent said their debt levels had increased, making it harder to meet everyday expenses.
Over a third (34 per cent) of respondents say it is harder today to afford daily bills, such as mortgage, energy, insurance and fuel expenses, than it was two years ago.
The same proportion (34 per cent) are finding it harder to pay an unexpected expense without borrowing money or asking friends or family for help.
In the face of present-day financial challenges, 43 per cent said that saving for retirement is now more challenging while 40 per cent per cent are struggling to set financial plans for old age and longer term financial goals.
The report also said half of respondents (50 per cent) said their family members are more reliant on them financially than they were two years ago making it impossible for them to save up for the long term as they have increased financial demands of caring for elderly relatives and affording childcare costs.
Meanwhile, around one in three (36 per cent) respondents are dissatisfied with their current financial situation and feel materially worse financial position today compared to before the pandemic and the subsequent global rise in the cost of living.
When asked what, if anything, would be the most useful in helping people feel more financially supported, 21 per cent would like to see higher contributions towards their pension from the workplace.
These findings suggest employers have a role to play. Changes to the future of work can also make a difference, offering people greater flexibility in work location and working hours would be beneficial, said the report.
Source : NST