Survey: Half of Hong Kong Adults Belong to the "Sandwich Generation" and Couples Face Escalating Tension from Housing Needs
Buying an apartment is a key financial goal for almost half of the respondents (41%)
Although 73% of the people surveyed support parents’ daily expenses, only 19% expect to rely on their children for financial support when they age
Housing issues cause relationship stress for both married and unmarried couples
Personal relationships are under financial strain, while housing and living arrangements are of major concern to Hong Kong people according to the 2017 Prudential Relationship Index ("PRI"), announced by Prudential Hong Kong Limited ("Prudential") today. The findings highlight a need for more fulfilling relationships and comprehensive financial planning for the people in the city.
The PRI explores how relationships measure against people’s needs and expectations. In the 2017 findings, Hong Kong records a PRI score of 64 out of 100, representing a six-point rise in relationship satisfaction year-on-year, but also indicating that Hong Kong people are the second-least satisfied among the surveyed markets in Asia in terms of relationship fulfilment.
Among the findings, the PRI highlights Hong Kong’s "Sandwich Generation" and the significant contrast between the need for them to feed their family and their expectation to be fed in old age. The study also shows that housing and living arrangements often lead to tension between couples and constitute a major cause for arguments.
"Sandwich Generation" faces two-way burden
The 2017 PRI provides strong proof points to the presence of a "Sandwich Generation" in Hong Kong – adults who currently provide day-to-day financial support to both their parents and children, despite not expecting the same in return.
Almost three in four adults (73%) support their parents’ daily expenses, while 50% of Hong Kong parents give money to their children on a weekly basis. Despite these family responsibilities, only 19% of adults expect to rely on their children for financial support in their old age – lowest in Asia.
Housing issues cause relationship stress for couples in Hong Kong
Living arrangements are also a significant stressor for relationships in the city according to the latest PRI findings – 62% of unmarried adults and 17% of married couples in Hong Kong live with their own parents or parents-in-law.
From the 2017 PRI, we see that 41% of adults and more than half of unmarried couples (53%) cite buying an apartment or flat as a key financial goal.
Housing arrangements have a clear impact on relationships in Hong Kong. While 23% of Hong Kong couples argue about their living situation, the figure increases to 26% among those who live with their parents.
Hong Kong people lack a reliable financial safety net
Hong Kong people also admit concerns over financial security. Sixty-two percent (62%) of respondents worry about their savings for retirement and future medical expenses. Around one in four (24%) are concerned about becoming a burden to their family.
In line with the above results, the highest-ranked financial priority in Hong Kong is saving for retirement (55%). Eighty-seven percent (87%) of Hong Kong people plan to use their personal savings and financial assets in old age, while one in three (30%) even expect to continue working after reaching the age of retirement.
The 2017 PRI also reveals that overwhelmingly nine out of ten people in Hong Kong (91%) worry about their family’s financial situation in case anything happens to them, while one in three (34%) expect the impacts to range from serious to catastrophic – both figures are the highest in Asia.
"People in Hong Kong endure a combination of work, family and financial pressure, which echoes the 2017 PRI findings. It is crucial for them to look ahead and have a comprehensive financial security plan in place that can provide them with peace of mind and empower them to protect their loved ones at all times. This is in line with Prudential’s commitment to providing tailored products and solutions to its customers to help them support their families and safeguard their futures," Mr. Derek Yung, Chief Executive Officer of Prudential concluded.
 The 2017 Prudential Relationship Index involved 500 interviews in Hong Kong through online sampling between 26 June and 20 July 2017 with adults between 25 and 55 years of age. Respondents are residents representing approximately the top two-thirds of household incomes in Hong Kong.
For more information of the Prudential Relationship Index, please download the 2017 PRI Report.