People across Asia are taking proactive steps to prepare for the increasingly uncertain and volatile global environment, especially against health and income-related emergencies.
According to a recent survey, Empowering Aspirations: Financial Preparedness in Asia, by Prudential plc more than half (60%) of the 5,000 respondents surveyed across Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand stated their commitment to setting aside money specifically for health and income-related emergencies.
Empowering Aspirations explores how providing a safety net to people’s everyday lives is enabling individuals to live more fulfilling lives by gleaning insights into saving trends, insurance adoption, and aspirations for a more secure future.
Priscilla Ng, group chief customer and marketing officer, Prudential plc, said, “We are currently living in an uncertain world where the pandemic has highlighted the importance of being prepared amid constant disruption. With this in mind, we undertook the survey to understand the impact that having a financial safety net can have on individuals, and their ability to pursue personal and professional aspirations.”
Millennials demonstrate the highest inclination for emergency savings
Faced with uncertainties, individuals prioritise emergency savings as they seek to secure their future. Nearly two-thirds of participants (61%) attributed their increased savings to the social and economic impact of the ongoing pandemic.
Across different generations, it is Gen-Y or the millennials, that demonstrates the highest inclination for emergency savings, with 74% of individuals in this group prioritising saving for a rainy day. This figure surpasses the percentages observed among half of Gen-Z (49%), nearly two-thirds of Gen-X (62%), and close to half of baby boomers (49%).
A market-by-market comparison reveals that Malaysia leads in terms of savings, with 67% of respondents actively allocating funds for emergencies. In contrast, Hong Kong recorded the lowest figure amongst the five markets, where just half (52%) of the people in the city said they save for emergencies.
Insurance as a crucial financial safety net
Amid concerns regarding financial stability, the survey also highlights the critical role of insurance in providing a much-needed financial safety net.
Among the 5,000 respondents, close to 80% have health insurance, while 46% have income replacement protection, highlighting the significant role of insurance in safeguarding individuals against unforeseen circumstances that can impact their health and earning capacity.
Notably, individuals with insurance exhibited a stronger propensity for saving, with two-thirds (66%) of insured participants indicating that they save for emergencies. In contrast, only 39% of those without insurance reported saving for emergencies.
More than three-quarters (76%) of the respondents cited the provision of a crucial safety net as the primary motivation for acquiring insurance.
Additionally, a little less than two-thirds (62%) mentioned seeking protection against prevalent diseases in the market, while half of them attributed their decision to a family history of specific illnesses.
Aspirations for a secure future
Respondents were asked about their spending priorities if they didn’t have to allocate funds for emergencies. The results revealed a range of aspirations. Half of the respondents (49%) expressed a desire to save more for retirement, acknowledging the need for long-term financial security.
Additionally, nearly one-third of the respondents (31%) expressed a desire to travel more, while more than a quarter (26%) considered investments in property or home improvements and emphasised the importance of investing in better education for their children (28%).
“We are in the business of assuring people’s futures and therefore we strive to safeguard their well-being and financial security. Prudential is committed to addressing these challenges by bridging the protection gap and empowering individuals to face the future with confidence,” said Ng.
She added, “Our new purpose statement ‘For Every Life, For Every Future’ reflects our mission to be a trusted partner and protector by providing simple and accessible financial and health solutions”.