Sun Life’s latest survey on the attitudes and patterns of paying and receiving housekeeping money between two generations. The survey revealed that the median amount of housekeeping money received per month is HK$6,000. As such, retired parents are not very satisfied with the amount of housekeeping money received, with score just 6.9 out of 10. About 40% of retired parents said they felt ashamed to ask for housekeeping money from their children.

The survey was conducted by Cimigo Limited, commissioned by Sun Life, interviewed 500 working adults aged 25-54 with monthly household incomes of HK$25,000 or above via online questionnaires and 205 retired parents aged 55-69 with at least one working child via street intercepts, during mid-April 2019 in Hong Kong. The aim of this research was to gain a greater understanding about the attitudes and concerns related to the paying and receiving of housekeeping money as well as the retirement and wealth management goals of the two generations.

“It is the children’s duty to support their parents…”

The results of the survey pointed out that there is a gap of HK$3,000 between monthly expenses and retirement income, and that retired parents rely heavily on housekeeping money paid by their children, which accounts for 49% of their total monthly retirement income. About 98% of retired parents receive housekeeping money from their children, with a majority of them receiving it once a month and at a median amount of of HK$6,000. The survey also revealed that 67% of retired parents and 73% of working adults agree that paying housekeeping money is an unshakeable familial responsibilty, reflecting the fact that many people still agree with the notion of taking care of one’s parents being a prime duty of children.

Retire in comfort or with worries?

The survey also reflected that that retired parents are not truly satisified with the present arrangement of children paying housekeeping money, with an average score 6.9 out of 10, and hope for an increase in amount or frequency. The data also shows that the higher the amount of housekeeping money received by retired parents, the greater the level of satisfaction.

Around 37% of retired parents are not satsified with the amount or frequency of housekeeping money received. However, they worry if children are incapable of supporting themselves, which shows a dilemma among the parents. 39% of retired parents even feel ashamed to ask for housekeeping money.

The survey also revealed that working adults who are already parents themselves are keenly aware of the importance of wealth management, 33% of them agree MPF and other retirement wealth management products can alleviate the pressure on children to support their parents. In fact, 69% of working adults say they have plans financial products like MPF, pension, regular retirement income and retirement savings to avoid reliance on their children, relatively higher than their previous generations (about 44%).

To raise a greater public awareness on the above situation, Sun Life has launched a short video online entitled “If You Are Going to Retire Tomorrow…” whch provides an overview of the issues behind the paying and receiving of housekeeping money with a deeper understanding. The video has been uploaded to Sun Life's facebook page and the Youtube channel.