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A third of Hong Kong children don’t know what their parents do to earn a living, says survey

Study by government agency suggests parents’ failure to educate their kids about money may lead to reliance on ‘bank of mum and dad’ later on

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 August, 2018, 4:06pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 August, 2018, 11:05pm

A third of Hong Kong children do not know what their parents do for a living, while only a half consider money to be important, according to a study by a government agency.

Less than a third (31 per cent) keep track of their spending, virtually none of them has a clue about household expenditure and only a fifth are aware they have a bank account, the survey by the Investor Education Centre showed.

The apparent lack of financial awareness revealed by the results may go some way to explaining why so many of the city’s youngsters need to rely on the “bank of mum and dad” to buy them a property or support them even in adulthood.

But perhaps it should come as no surprise; only 45 per cent of parents said they had talked to their children about money matters.

The survey showed 33 per cent of primary-school pupils, aged six to 12, could not put a name to their parents’ profession. Only 14 per cent knew how much it costs to run a household while just 38 per cent have any insight into the cost of their own education and extracurricular activities.

The Investor Education Centre is a government agency set up in 2012 to promote financial education.

Its survey of 800 respondents – half parents, half children – aimed to find out if Hong Kong parents are teaching their children about money and financial habits.

“The survey result showed a lot of Hong Kong children do not have a clear concept of financial planning. This may explain why so many youngsters rely on their parents to buy them a property and need their fathers and mothers to support their daily expense even after they go out to work,” said Kelvin Wong Tin-yau, chairman of the Investor Education Centre.

Home ownership a life goal for most Hong Kong students, with ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ expected to pay for it, survey finds

“While many parents want their children to be financially independent, many of them have clearly not guided their children to understand how much money they pay in rent or mortgage repayments every month. Sometimes the parents themselves may also lose track of their monthly spending and that can lead to the family overspending.”

The survey results suggest most parents are unaware of their offspring’s lack of financial nous, believing they have done a great job of teaching them about money. Some 87 per cent of those surveyed considered themselves to be a good financial role model for their children.

That appears at least to be true when it comes to encouraging their children to save and shop wisely. About three quarter of the children said they had short-term saving goals or planned ahead with how to use their pocket money, while 86 per cent said they would compares prices when shopping.

Offering ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ to their children eats into Hongkongers’ pension plans

A recent survey by the insurance company Sun Life found that half of young people in Hong Kong expect a financial leg-up from their parents to get onto the city’s famously expensive property ladder.

“More education needs to be done. The parents need to set a time aside to help their children develop a proper concept of money and financial planning so that they can be financially independent from them when they grow up,” said Wong, who is also executive director of Cosco Shipping Ports.