Asia-Pacific workers are worried about their retirement funds

Author: PM editorial | Date: 7 Jun 2016

A quarter have financial worries that are negatively affecting their lives, says survey

More than two-fifths of workers in Asia Pacific “often worry about their future financial state,” according to new research by Willis Towers Watson.

And a quarter of those surveyed said they have financial problems which negatively affect their lives.

The Global Benefits Attitudes Survey asked more than 9,000 employees how they felt about their current and future finances. Financial wellbeing plays a big part in employee performance, engagement and job satisfaction. The study found that more than two-thirds of employees (68 per cent) with current worries say money concerns prevent them from producing their best work.

“Many employees struggle with long-term financial planning and are unaware what a comfortable retirement will require in terms of savings,” says Andrew Heard, head of retirement for APAC at Willis Towers Watson. “Employers are in an excellent position to help employees achieve retirement and financial security as well as reinforce good personal financial habits.”

The country with the highest proportion of financially ‘unworried’ respondents was China, where 59 per cent were happy with the state of their current and future finances. In South Korea however, only 19 per cent declared themselves to be ‘unworried’.

Absenteeism also increases in those who have worries outside of work; the average numbers of days taken off work sick is 3.1 for people who are ‘unworried’ about their finances and 3.7 for those who are ‘struggling’ with their finances. There’s a big difference in engagement too: just 20 per cent that were ‘unworried’ said they were disengaged at work – but that figure doubled to 40 per cent for workers who are ‘struggling’ financially.

As many countries in the region reassess their options to cope with ageing populations, a universal pension in Hong Kong has been a hotly debated topic for some time now, while Singapore’s pension rating was downgraded by Mercer last year.

The six-month consultation on Hong Kong’s pension ends this month and the government has proposed two options: a universal scheme in which every elderly person receives HK$3,000 a month, or a means-tested scheme, where only those with assets of less than HK$80,000 would get such an allowance.