Financial planning is vital to wealth accumulation, no matter the gender. However, it is essential that women in Hong Kong save more money than their male counterparts for several reasons. Unfortunately, women face additional challenges that make it difficult to do so, but that doesn’t mean women can’t thrive – they can.
According to the SCMP, Hong Kong has the highest life expectancy in the world. Trends also suggest that life expectancy will continue to rise as it has for many years. However, the average life expectancy for women and men differs greatly. While most men in Hong Kong only live around 81 years, women live an average of 87. A six-year difference significantly impacts the amount of money initially needed for a comfortable retirement, which is already considerable.
Trading Economics data suggests the average retirement age for women is around 65 years of age. Women in Hong Kong therefore need to accumulate sufficient wealth in order to live comfortably for the remainder of their lives, along with additional money to offset inflation.
Though planning for an extra six years can be daunting, it is still possible to achieve this goal through a careful and well-developed financial planning. Thorough planning can and will provide a contingency fund to help with unexpected events that inevitably occur.
Despite progress over the past decades, the fact remains that women still earn less than men. Wage disparity is still a very real issue and is particularly evident in certain sectors. For instance, in 2019 alone, men in the education sector earned 9,800HKD more than women, and men in finance earned an additional 8,800HKD more than their female counterparts. Data provided by The Census and Statistics Department also confirms that the pay gap is widening and that the number of women working in higher level jobs decreases as wages increase.
Though the Department of Labour in Hong Kong claims that the first phase of addressing pay equity laws is underway, equal pay has still not become a reality. This lack of oversight is being slowly addressed, and is not helping women at this moment. Equal pay for equal work is still a long way off in Hong Kong.
In the meantime, women must plan for these wage disparities, which are considerable. Using the examples above, a woman working in education would need to save an additional 117,600 HKD annually to reach parity. Working in finance would mean that 105,500 HKD more needs to be saved to simply equate her finances to the same standard as men’s.
However, this is very doable with the right financial advisor and a thorough financial plan. Many women successfully invest and save to protect their family and future.
Women make up 43% of the workforce, and yet they are still the primary caregivers. A Robert Walters survey found that 56% of female professionals find that family pressures and commitments outside of work interfere with their job progress and leadership roles. A further 41% claimed that they found it was difficult to return to work after having children in Hong Kong.
Women often feel obligated to care for their children, parents, and grandparents, mainly due to cultural norms. Caring for relatives has a cost burden, but it is something that can be calculated into your financial plan.