IFEC’s annual Hong Kong Money Month themed “Invest in Yourself” encourages the public to develop financial management skills and plan for the future
1 March 2022
- Around 70% of surveyed respondents became more prudent with spending, and 41% saved less due to reduced incomes amid the pandemic, an IFEC study shows
- Financial knowledge of the younger generation has improved, compared to the last survey in 2019
- Four in five surveyed respondents are receptive to financial learning
The Investor and Financial Education Council (IFEC) today launched Hong Kong Money Month 2022, an annual investor and financial education campaign to raise awareness of the importance of early financial planning and investor education in Hong Kong. The IFEC will work together with stakeholders and supporting organisations from various sectors to offer free activities and resources under the theme “Invest in Yourself”, to help people at different life stages to develop the knowledge and skills needed to support sound financial decision-making.
Speaking at the launch ceremony, IFEC Chairman Mr Victor Dawes said, “This year's Hong Kong Money Month theme, Invest in Yourself, is an open invitation to everyone in the community to start their financial planning early and acquire investment knowledge for self-improvement. In light of the challenging economic environment as a result of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, we are calling for the public to make use of IFEC’s free educational resources to strengthen their financial health and resilience.”
Financial literacy level and money management behaviour revealed by latest study
The IFEC examined the impact of COVID-19 on Hong Kong people’s money management and financial literacy levels in its latest Financial Literacy Monitor survey conducted in late 2021.
Over half (51%) of the surveyed respondents said that their household incomes had fallen during the pandemic, and consequently 41% said they saved less. Majority (83%) had to adjust their spending habits and became more financially prudent since the start of the pandemic. More than two-thirds of respondents (69%) said they had cut back on monthly spending, 37% compared prices more frequently, and 34% stopped or delayed the purchase of big-ticket items. In terms of financial goal setting, less than half (47%) reported having set long-term financial goals, down from 54% in 2019.
The overall 2021 Financial Literacy Score measuring financial knowledge, attitude and behaviour, stood at 14.8 out of 21, much the same as in the 2019 survey. The dip in financial behaviour was offset by an improvement in financial knowledge, in particular among tertiary students and young working adults under 30 who demonstrated a significantly better grasp of basic financial concepts than in 2019.
These two groups were also keen on investing to build wealth, with 28% of the surveyed young working adults saying they saved through stock investments, up from 15% in 2019. Some 18% of student respondents did so, compared with 2% in the previous study.
In such a dynamic market, majority (79%) of the respondents said they are open to learning about financial management matters to stay up-to-date with emerging trends and developments, with 35% being active learners. Mature working adults (aged 30-49) form the most active group, followed by young working adults and pre-retirees (aged over 50).
IFEC General Manager Ms Dora Li said, “Investor and financial education plays an important role in shaping the overall financial wellness of individuals and families in any segment. It is encouraging to see improvements in the level of financial knowledge across Hong Kong, in particular the working and younger population, despite the sustaining COVID-19 pandemic situation which seriously undermines the economic situation globally.”
“The IFEC will continue to partner with stakeholders to provide learning opportunities for the public to cultivate the right attitude and behaviour, along with good financial planning and investment habits, to further enhance their financial wellness,” Ms Li added.
Hong Kong Money Month 2022 will offer investor and financial education learning opportunities to all segments, ranging from kindergarten students to the elderly, to learn about the various aspects of financial management including money concepts, budgeting, financial planning, investing, insurance protection and frauds and scams prevention. Highlights of initiatives include:
- Money Management Online Quizzes to test young people’s knowledge of personal finance, and help primary school students learn basic money management concepts.
- Writing Contest to inspire secondary students to realise the importance of financial management to attain life goals.
- Hong Kong Financial Literacy Championship 2022, hosted by the Education Bureau, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and stakeholders, for secondary students to learn about green and sustainable finance and the value of prudent financial planning.
- Webinars to discuss green and sustainable investment opportunities; financial and retirement planning amid the pandemic; the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority will discuss MPF and retirement investment, and the Insurance Authority will explain insurance needs at different life stages.
- Financial Wellness Programme to provide an array of toolkits and seminars on money management and retirement planning for employers to offer to their employees.
- Training workshop for social workers to master the knowledge and skills to become financial trainers for the community.
Members of the public can visit the dedicated Hong Kong Money Month website (www.moneymonth.hk) to learn more about the free learning activities.
Investor and Financial Education Award
At the ceremony, the IFEC also unveiled the results of its inaugural Investor and Financial Education Award, which recognises the efforts of stakeholders in advancing investor and financial education. Over 70 applications were received and a total of 31 organisations and individuals were awarded for their outstanding contributions to the improving financial literacy of people in Hong Kong.
About the Financial Literacy Monitor
The IFEC conducted this quantitative research to gauge the financial literacy levels of Hong Kong people in 2015 and 2019. In the third round of research, data was collected through face-to-face interviews with 1,075 Hong Kong adults aged 18 to 79 years during the period from 24 September to 15 November 2021. A quota was applied on gender, age, ethnicity, working status, living district, household income and housing type to reflect the demographic structure in the target age bracket within the population. The survey questions are adopted from a toolkit developed by the OECD International Network on Financial Education.