Hong Kong Christian Service

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Issue 002
2014 July

Dispelling the myth that the relationship is ruined
when talking about money
Asking the elders to make early planning of assets

Talking about money or management one’s assets were taboos next to "death" for traditional Chinese families. However, with longer life expectancy, early financial planning for elders has become more imminent, apart from guaranteeing a certain quality of living, ensuring autonomy of finance, and to a large extent of preventing family crises, annexation of property or breaking up the family.

We conducted a survey on "Understanding the financial management and habit for aged 50s to 70s" in support of the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day concern on 15 June. It is hoped that through the survey, we could know their habits and needs of the 200 participants, offering our advice for financial autonomy from a preventive perspective.

Elders of this generation tend to manage their assets on their own

According to our findings, more than 90% of interviewees chose to manage their assets on their own, and the higher education they received, the more likely they are to manage by themselves.

At the same time, there are 75% and 85% of interviewees estimated that when their physical or cognitive abilities to look after themselves deteriorated, they would need others to manage their assets. Among them, more than 30% worried that such a measure might not meet their requirement, cannot avoid conflicts within the family and does not help much to reduce the chance that their assets would be snatched away.

Even so, the findings uncovered that about half of the interviewees would have earlier dialogue with their families about their wish, and there were 12% to 20% would draft their will and consult legal opinions regarding the arrangement when they aged.

Prevention is better than remedy Multiple methods to help financial autonomy

In order to be free of worries when one ages, elders could be more proactive in learning about financial management and setting up short term and long term plans and participate actively in decision making. Do not be deterred by the trouble and let other people to take care of your finance. Elders could even choose an appropriate authorisation to his asset in case of future needs, to guarantee the best of their interest. Family members of elders who are responsible for taking care of the finance of the elders, could put down records or make periodic report, or even hold family meetings, to enhance direct communication, to ensure they are also for the best of interest of the elders. Besides, from an age-friendly perspective, simplifying procedures for financial planning, designing them to be more age-friendly facilities and tools, promoting the message of safeguarding personal financial rights to prevent seizure of their assets are helpful for financial autonomy for elders.

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