Teenagers pick gambling over investing

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 April, 2006, 12:00am

What do you do with your pocket money? A recent survey has found that Hong Kong teenagers are more likely to gamble with their savings than invest them.

Last month, Citibank and ET Business College commissioned the Institute of Asia Pacific Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong to conduct a survey of teenagers' views on financial management and gambling.

The survey, conducted via telephone with 503 teenagers, included both secondary school and university students.

The results revealed that more than 50 per cent of secondary school students and 80 per cent of university students interviewed had participated in gambling.

Sixty per cent of those who had gambled learned how from peers and family members, and the average age at which these young people first tried their luck at gambling was 151/2.

While the survey found that the participation rate in gambling among teenagers tended to be high, it also found that teenagers had relatively less knowledge about investment options such as equity funds, insurance and real estate. More than 70 per cent admitted they did not know what these were.

Nevertheless, 21 per cent of university students said they had invested over the past year, and half of those said that equity was their first choice when investing.

When asked about how they would use their salaries after graduation, nearly 90 per cent of secondary school students said they would put their money into savings and only 10 per cent said they would invest it, whereas 68 per cent of university students chose savings and 32 per cent chose investing.

This indicates that university students are more receptive to investing than secondary school students, as the older students have started to realise the potential of investing to accumulate wealth.

In addition, 62 per cent of teenagers believed that they would earn their first $1 million before the age of 35, compared to 50 per cent last year, and secondary school students were the more optimistic group.

The executive director of ET Business College, Fanny Pang, said the survey showed that teenagers are readily exposed to gambling and their participation in it is relatively high. She therefore believed that it is important to help them build a healthier attitude towards personal financial management.