Financial tsunami affecting teens' pocket money

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 September, 2009, 12:00am


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More than 60 per cent of children from working-class families are getting less than HK$30 in pocket money a month as their parents continue to cut back spending a year into the economic meltdown.

A St James' Settlement survey of almost 300 children aged eight to 10 also found 20 per cent did not have any savings.

Half of the respondents usually spent their money on snacks.

The amount of pocket money children receive in Britain has been on the decline since the beginning of the year, according to a July survey by AXA Insurance which included 200 teenagers. It found one in six parents had cut back or stopped pocket money since January.

AXA spokeswoman Alison Green said more than half of the teens polled got their money from the 'Bank of Mum and Dad' after they ran out of their own.

'But all that may change as parents find their finances stretched to breaking point for the first time in years. Parents are getting tough and kids are not going to like it,' she said.

A survey by British bank Halifax found British youths aged eight to 15 were getting an average of HK$75 a week before the meltdown, compared to HK$14.45 in 1987.

A study conducted by British company Callcredit of 2,218 parents last October found one in 15 of them had slashed their children's pocket money, with 72 per cent doing so because of financial difficulties. Some 30 per cent had cut pocket money by more than half.

While young people are starting to feel the pinch, a Federation of New Territories Youth survey of 1,246 people aged 11 to 21 found more than half thought borrowing money was acceptable.

A federation spokeswoman said many young people had developed a habit of borrowing money even if they had no means of paying it back.

The survey found some teens spend as much as HK$10,000 a month on clothing, snacks and stationery.

Around 3 per cent of those surveyed saw nothing wrong with resorting to illegal means to finance their lifestyle, including robbery.

Lawmaker Gary Chan Hak-kan said controls on television advertisements which suggest borrowing is one way to resolve financial problems should be tightened.

He also said parents should give allowances in the form of cash instead of credit cards because 'young people will become more money-conscious'.