Rise of the 'living inheritance' puts pressure on Asian retirees: HSBC report (Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka))

HSBC’s report, ‘The Future of Retirement – Choices For Later Life’, reveals the existence of a ‘living inheritance’ whereby 65 percent of retirees in Asia on average are providing regular financial support to their family and friends, compared with the global average of 60 percent. The numbers peak at 86 percent in Malaysia, followed by 83 percent in Indonesia and 80 percent in India.

In particular, it found that wealth is already being passed down the generations, with over a fifth (22 percent) of Asian retirees regularly giving to grown-up children and more than one in 10 (15 percent) doing the same for their grandchildren.

While ‘giving while living’ is on the increase, the traditional inheritance may be dying out. Only 30 percent of working age people in Asia are confident about leaving an inheritance to their children.

The ‘living inheritance’ is a cause for concern for retirees in Asia, where more than two in five (44 percent) retirees in Asia are worried about not being able to support family or friends financially, or of being reliant on family or friends for financial support (42 percent).

Also, more retirees in Asia (80 percent against the global average of 73 percent) have been unable to realise at least one of their hopes and dreams since retiring, a potential consequence of ‘giving while living’. The mismatch between dreams and reality is predominant among retirees in Hong Kong and Indonesia (88 percent) followed by India and Malaysia (87 percent) and Taiwan (86 percent).

HSBC Regional Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management Asia-Pacific Kevin Martin said, Asia’s strong family support system is a key factor to the rise of the ‘living inheritance’, which adds another dimension to the already complex financial pressures faced by Asian retirees. Helping out other family members during one’s working life through to retirement is remarkable. The reality is, it can put your retirement plans at risk.

To ensure a comfortable later life, retirees should consider their wider financial commitments, including continued financial support to their loved ones. The level of retirement income they planned for earlier as workers may no longer be sufficient for their needs in retirement. Retirees today may even need to generate additional income to cope with these expenses, the rising costs of their own requirements such as healthcare or to ensure they can still refill the inheritance pots they intend to leave with their children. Regular financial reviews remain integral to wealth planning at post-retirement.

Living abroad is a retirement aspiration that the survey covered in more detail. Australia and New Zealand figured among the top six retirement locations, especially among Asians. Of working age people who plan to move to another country, 43 percent, 37 percent and 20 percent in Singapore, Malaysia and India, respectively, aspired to spend later life in Australia, while 28 percent, 24 percent and 23 percent of those in Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore, respectively, opted for New Zealand.

However, only 8 percent of surveyed retirees in Asia say they have realised their hope of living abroad since retiring.

Kevin added, As Asian families become more mobile and international, spending their retirement in two or more locations is an increasingly common goal. The costs of maintaining such a lifestyle could be daunting as people spend for travel, varied costs of living and property. With continued financial planning and active FX management, people with such aspirations can avoid surprises and enjoy the retirement of their dreams.

HSBC’s research identified four actions that may help today’s retirement savers plan a better financial future for themselves:

1. Be realistic about your retirement aspirations

2. Review your long-term working plans

3. Consider your wider financial commitments

4. Have a clear retirement plan