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How Financial Planning is Different for Women in Hong Kong and Why It Matters

blog.added_on 11-09-2018

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Financial planning is critical in wealth accumulation and it is particularly important for women, and especially women in Hong Kong, to adopt such practices. Women face unique circumstances that require us to save more than our male counterparts as well as challenges that hinder us from accumulating more than what we could have if we were men. These include:

1. Longer Life Expectancy:

According to SCMP, Hong Kong women enjoy the world’s longest life expectancy of 87.3 years, approximately 6 years more than Hong Kong men. With medical advancement, the number is expected to rise in the foreseeable future.

What it means for financial planning

According to Trading Economics, the average retirement age of women in Hong Kong since 2015 has been 65. This means, given existing data, on average women will need to have enough funds to sustain themselves for another 22.3 years by the time they retire, and this is discounting the inflation. Crazy.

2. Gender Pay Gap:

Despite the emergence of campaigns advocating for women rights and gender equality, there is still an existing issue in Hong Kong that sees pay divide between male and females. For example, women working in Hong Kong’s education sector earned HKD9,800 less than men each month, followed by those in the finance industry where women earned HKD8,800 less. Hong Kong is not getting close to following the footsteps of Iceland, where equal pay has been legalised, as its Labour and Welfare Bureau does not even have a designated team to focus on gender pay gap issues.

What it means for financial planning

The existence of gender pay gap given in the above example would mean around an annual income disparity of HKD117,600 and HKD105,500 for those in the education and finance sectors respectively. This means a gap of HKD4.7m and HKD4.2m if we take into account a 40 year labour force participation period. Pay may be gender biased, but products and services in the market are priced regardless of your sex, which means women will need to make more effort to save/invest in order to achieve the same standard of living as men.

3. Family Commitments:

Although domestic helpers are estimated to be in 1 in every 3 households in Hong Kong which lessen the burden for Hong Kong mothers, according to Robert Walters, 56% of female professionals claim family pressures and commitments outside of work as the main reason for lack of work progression, while 41% cited difficulties in returning to work after having children (versus an average of 36% in APAC). This is prevalent in many cultures, but especially the case for places like Hong Kong where women tend to feel obligated to take care of their children and the elderlies in their household.

What it means for financial planning

Having enough funds to take care of yourself is already not a stroll in a park, imagine having to take care and plan for 1 or 2 additional family members? It is clearly self-explanatory here why financial planning is crucial.

Despite the above challenges, research have shown that women who conduct proper financial planning do extremely well. Dubbed as the SMART women by BlackRock, they are the women who save and invest more, consider retirement their priority and take financial planning and advice seriously. An example is our Singaporean female counterparts who, wait for it, are HKD1m (SGD236,000) better off in household assets than the average woman just by taking simple steps.

So how much is HKD1m?

1 U.S.A dollar banknotes We all know it is a lot, but what can you actually do with this much money?

  • Travel around the world.. 5.1 times

  • Buy 11.7 Hermes Birkin Bags

  • Pay for 2.1 MBA degrees

shallow focus photography of woman holding shopping bags during day More importantly:

  • You can live off it for another 8 years

  • It materially reduces the pressure one has to have to buy a home by cutting the potential debt owed to lenders and allows one to focus more on the welfare of their family

  • Allows you to be an independent woman who can take more risk in pursuing your true career aspirations

…And imagine how much more you can get with the power of investing? For example, if you invested HKD1m in the Hong Kong Tracker Fund a year ago, with a dividend yield of of 3.41% , you get HKD34.1k from dividends alone!*

Like many of you, I am still early in my journey in accumulating the necessary wealth to achieve the success I want in life. I hope I have encouraged you to start taking financial planning seriously and start becoming a SMART woman.

*Based on a dividend yield as per Sept 11th, 2018.

About Planto

Planto is a fast growing startup incubated at the University of Hong Kong Entrepreneurship Center, with additional supports from Cyberport, and an experienced group of investors and advisors from Hong Kong, the UK and Canada to assist Hong Kong consumers in achieving their life goals. Visit us at www.planto.hk.

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