Three in five take no responsibility for their own financial stability

Sixty per cent of people say that someone other than themselves should be responsible for ensuring they and their family are financially stable if something were to happen and they were no longer able to earn, according to a new HSBC report, The Power of Protection Confidence in the future.

Expectations of who should be responsible for ensuring financial stability

Average 60% 26% 20% 14%
China 77% 33% 23% 21%
Argentina 70% 34% 22% 14%
UAE 71% 20% 29% 22%
Indonesia 64% 20% 24% 20%
France 62% 36% 12% 14%
Hong Kong 60% 27% 20% 13%
Taiwan 60% 26% 19% 15%
Malaysia 57% 17% 28% 12%
Singapore 56% 22% 23% 11%
Mexico 53% 24% 15% 14%
UK 48% 33% 9% 6%
USA 46% 23% 15% 8%

While 40% of people say their financial stability is their own responsibility, 26% say the responsibility should lie with the State or government, 20% say their family and a further 14% say it should be their employer. People in the USA are most likely to take responsibility for themselves (54%) while those in China (77%), the UAE (71%) and Argentina (70%) are the most likely to say someone else (State, employer or family) should be responsible.

In the survey of over 11,000 people in 12 countries around the world, HSBC found that almost half (47%) say that what they worry most about in life is their long-term financial security, rising to 58% in Malaysia, 56% in Singapore and 55% in the USA.

Despite this, 49% of these people say they could not manage well financially if something unforeseen were to happen to their long-term financial security; of these 38% say they are not prepared at all and a further 11% say they would manage financially but admit they have nothing specific in place. The proportion who could not manage well financially for their long term financial security rises to 74% in Argentina and 69% in the UK and France.

More than half (51%) of people who say they could not manage well financially if something unforeseen were to happen, say this is because they believe they cannot afford to prepare for the unknown. Thirty-one per cent believe there is nothing they can do to prepare for the unknown and a further 18% say they haven’t thought about it.

More than half (53%) of people who are actively considering taking out insurance but have not yet done so say cost-related issues are the main barrier; they either expect or know the product to be too expensive. Other reasons for not taking out insurance are that they do not know how to go about it or are concerned about exclusions or pay-out (38%), they haven’t needed it so far or it hasn’t been a priority (31%) or relying on someone else to arrange it or have been too busy (20%).

Charlie Nunn, Group Head of Wealth Management, HSBC comments:

“It’s the most natural feeling in the world to want to make sure you and your family are protected. By taking simple steps now, you can ensure you are better prepared to provide for the people who are important to you, whatever happens.”

HSBC’s research identified four actions that may help people to better prepare for the future:

  1. Identify your biggest concerns
    Review the financial protection you have in place today. See if it is enough to cover any concerns you have about providing for you and your family's lifestyle, home, health and future, if something unexpected should happen.
  2. Know your future aspirations
    Think about your aspirations for the future. Seeking professional advice could help you understand what protection you may need to put in place to achieve them.
  3. Have an action plan
    Once you understand what protection you have and what you need, explore the options available and take action to bridge the gap.
  4. Review it regularly
    Employer and state provision may not be sufficient for all your needs, and your circumstances will change over time. Review your plan regularly so you can take corrective action early.

Media contacts:

For more information, a copy of the full report or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Suman Hughes
+44 207 992 2748

Notes to editors

The Power of Protection is an independent consumer research study into global protection needs and trends, commissioned by HSBC. This report, Confidence in the future, is the inaugural report and represents the views of 11,496 people in 12 countries and territories (Argentina, China, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States). The findings are based on a nationally representative survey of people aged 25 and over in each country or territory. The research was conducted by TNS in October and November 2015, online in 11 countries and by face-to-face interviews in the UAE.

HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of the HSBC Group, is headquartered in London. The Group serves customers worldwide from around 6,000 offices in 71 countries and territories in Europe, Asia, North and Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa. With assets of US$2,410bn at 31 December 2015, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.

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