SINGAPORE: In the wake of global economic uncertainties, a recent Fidelity global sentiment survey conducted across 23 markets with over 25,000 participants has shed light on the financial sentiments of working adults, revealing that Singaporeans and Hong Kong residents are more likely than their global peers to have overspent in the last six months, The Edge Singapore reports.
Released on Dec 6, the 2023 survey highlighted that only 43% of Singaporeans and 46% of Hong Kong residents feel optimistic about their daily finances. The study, spanning finances, health, work, and life, noted that 2023 has been a turbulent year, yet individuals “generally feel good about their finances, health, and work” compared to 2022.
Fidelity International emphasised that the cost of living, inflation, and the economy continue to be stressors. As living costs and inflation surged globally, Asians emerged as some of the most likely to increase their savings. However, the opposite happens with Singaporeans and Australians, where individuals have decreased their savings.
The report outlined that heightened household expenses are the primary factor behind reduced savings, highlighting the inflationary pressures experienced across many markets. Meanwhile, citizens of Singapore, India, and mainland China were among the most likely in the region to have increased their retirement savings contributions.
Surprisingly, Singapore and Hong Kong stood out as countries where respondents anticipate retiring earlier rather than later. Fidelity attributed this trend to affordability concerns, with individuals expressing worries about supporting family members and grappling with post-redundancy job searches, particularly across Asia.
Despite economic challenges, the survey revealed that over half of the global working population is optimistic about the near future, marking a 15% increase in net optimism worldwide. Asia generally displays more optimism than Europe, with Singapore and mainland China leading the positive sentiment at 75% and 84%, respectively. In contrast, Japan is the most pessimistic, with 38% expressing negative sentiments.
The survey also delved into financial goals, revealing that respondents worldwide continue to prioritise maintaining their current lifestyle/income (96%), financial comfort in retirement (95%), and preparing for later life (92%). In Singapore, 82% of respondents cited buying property as a long-term financial goal, significantly surpassing the global average of 67%.
Head of Private Banking and Regional Lead for Wholesale and Wealth at Fidelity International, Johann Santer, commented on the findings, stating, “Despite the challenges faced by many global economies, people are feeling more optimistic about the future. As the cost of living continues to rise, people are noticing the importance of increasing their savings through investments. The best way to future-proof your savings and achieve your lifestyle and retirement goals is through consistent investment.”/TISG