Hong Kong residents face confidence gap in financial and personal wellbeing

Rising healthcare costs deemed major concern

Hong Kong residents face confidence gap in financial and personal wellbeing

Life & Health

By Roxanne Libatique

A recent Manulife Asia Care Survey has highlighted a significant confidence gap among Hong Kong residents regarding their financial, mental, and physical wellbeing for the next decade.

This gap underscores the interplay between financial stress, emotional health, and physical wellbeing, suggesting a need for an integrated approach to personal health.

Conducted in January and February, the survey involved over 1,000 adults aged 25 to 60 in Hong Kong.

The respondents rated their confidence in achieving their desired wellbeing on a scale from 1 to 100. They aimed for scores of 85 for financial and mental wellbeing and 86 for physical wellbeing. However, their expected scores were only 70 for financial, 71 for mental, and 71 for physical wellbeing, revealing significant shortfalls of 15, 14, and 15 points, respectively.

Healthcare costs challenge Hong Kong residents’ financial stability

The survey identified rising healthcare costs as a primary obstacle to achieving financial wellbeing, with 69% of participants expressing concern.

Respondents perceived an 18% increase in healthcare expenses over the past year, particularly in out-patient services (22%), medications (15%), and preventive care (14%). These rising costs impose a considerable financial strain on individuals.

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In response to these rising costs, respondents reported taking various actions to manage their finances, such as:

  • paying closer attention to their diet (41%)
  • opting for less expensive healthcare services (25%)
  • delaying or forgoing medical check-ups (19%)
  • selecting insurance plans with lower premiums and fewer benefits (18%)

These responses illustrate the financial pressures and complex decisions people face in maintaining their financial and physical health.

Mental health’s impact on physical wellbeing

The survey also examined the relationship between mental and physical wellbeing.

Stress (34%) and anxiety (28%) were identified as leading potential mental health issues affecting future wellbeing. This finding reflects the known connection between mental health and physical conditions.

Concerns about severe illnesses like cancer and heart disease were also noted as major barriers to achieving physical well-being goals.

Patrick Graham, CEO of Manulife Hong Kong and Macau, highlighted the importance of a balanced approach to wellbeing.

“Given the escalating healthcare costs and resulting financial stress, combined with the prevalence of mental health concerns, it is important for people in Hong Kong to reconsider their approach to holistic wellbeing,” he said. “As a steadfast advocate of the ‘mind-body wealth’ concept, which stresses the importance of achieving balance in financial, mental, and physical aspects of wellbeing for a healthier and more fulfilling life, we are dedicated to improving the overall wellbeing of Hong Kong people across these aspects.”

Changing expectations for financial support and retirement

The survey revealed shifts in financial expectations regarding support from future generations.

About 37% of Hong Kong adults with children, or planning to have children, do not expect financial support from their offspring in old age. Consequently, 70% of married respondents with children plan to delay their retirement age, which could affect retirement planning products and services.

“Proactive financial planning is a potent tool for addressing the evolving needs of various life stages,” Graham said. “We encourage Hongkongers not to limit themselves to saving for the future but to adopt an informed, forward-thinking financial planning approach. By consulting with a financial planner, they can uncover comprehensive solutions tailored to their long-term aspirations. This not only empowers them but also puts them in command of their journey towards a secure financial future.”

The Manulife Asia Care Survey was conducted online with participants from mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam. In the Philippines, the survey found that Filipinos prioritise managing healthcare costs to improve their financial and mental wellbeing.

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