【英语中国】香港人养家糊口没余粮

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所属分类:双语中国

2012-11-22 00:18

小艾摘要: With its gleaming shopping malls and omnipresent luxury brands, Hong Kong is an easy place to turn spendthrift.And if a survey last month of 1,000 Hong Kong residents is any indicator, it's a hard pla ...
With its gleaming shopping malls and omnipresent luxury brands, Hong Kong is an easy place to turn spendthrift.

And if a survey last month of 1,000 Hong Kong residents is any indicator, it's a hard place to hold onto cash. Fully two-thirds of primary income earners reported having less than a month's income saved in the bank.

Those numbers come as a surprise, given that Hong Kong is 'quite a wealthy zone,' says Peter Barrett, global managing director of lifestyle protection for insurance company Genworth, which commissioned the survey. They're also alarming, he says. 'If they suffer a fall in income, for example a job loss, there'll be a [financial] gap,' says Mr. Barrett.

The survey, carried out by research company TNS, also found that among the primary income earners without a month's income saved, 62% use credit cards -- and of those, nearly a quarter don't pay off the balance every month.

While Hong Kong's household savings rate as a percentage of gross domestic product can't quite match mainland China's 50%, it remains a relatively high 27%. (The U.S. rate, by contrast, is 13%.) That figure, though, could be skewed by the outsized savings of city's class of the very wealthy, says Betty Ng of Fidelity Worldwide Investment. Hong Kong’s wealth gap has been stretching ever wider for years, and currently outstrips those of cities from Singapore to New York, and even that of mainland China as a whole.

In addition to the growth of the wealth gap, the number of people living in working poor households has also been on the rise, and recently reached record levels, Oxfam reported last week. Fully one in six people in Hong Kong live below the poverty line.

Rising real-estate prices -- up more than 90% just since 2008 -- raise the specter of a bubble like the one that burst in 1997 during the Asian financial crisis, leaving many families under water. Property, a popular investment choice in Hong Kong, is hard to sell off quickly in times of duress, says Ms. Ng.

'If you don't have very liquid assets,' says Ms. Ng, 'that's quite a bit of risk. That's why a lot of people ended up declaring bankruptcy when the property market plunged before.' People are typically advised to keep a cash cushion of between three to six months of monthly income, she says.

European Pressphoto Agency图为2012年9月16日,香港一座摩天楼的一侧被一张高档眼镜的巨幅广告覆盖。
香港拥有众多金碧辉煌的购物广场,还有无处不在的奢侈品牌,很容易让人变得挥霍无度。

如果上个月针对1,000名香港居民的一项调查能说明什么的话,那就是香港还是个让人难以留住现金的地方。身为家庭主要收入来源的人士当中,足足三分之二的人说自己存在银行的积蓄还不足一个月的收入。

保险公司Genworth的生活保障全球董事总经理巴雷特(Peter Barrett)说,考虑到香港是个相当富裕的地方,这些数据出人意料。Genworth委托进行了上述调查。巴雷特说,调查结果还发出了警告;如果这些人遭遇收入下降的情形,比如说失业,就会出现财务缺口。

由研究公司TNS进行的这项调查还发现,在积蓄不足一个月收入的家庭主要收入者当中,62%的人使用信用卡──其中近四分之一的人不能每个月都还清欠款。

以占GDP百分比计算的香港家庭储蓄率为27%,虽无法与中国内地的50%相比,但仍然相对较高。(美国的家庭储蓄率为13%。)但富达国际投资(Fidelity Worldwide Investment)的吴玉慈(Betty Ng)说,香港超级富豪阶层的庞大积蓄可能扭曲了储蓄率数字。多年来香港贫富差距一直在不断扩大,目前已经超过新加坡和纽约等城市,甚至超过中国内地的总体水平。

国际救援组织乐施会(Oxfam)上周报告说,除了贫富差距的加剧,工薪贫困家庭的人数也在增加,最近达到了创纪录的水平。香港有整整六分之一的人生活在贫困线以下。

不断上涨的房产价格(2008年以来上涨逾90%)引起人们对泡沫的恐惧,1997年亚洲金融危机期间香港就出现过房价泡沫破裂,导致许多家庭资不抵债。吴玉慈说,作为香港广受欢迎的投资选择,房产在被迫出售的情形下很难迅速变现。

吴玉慈说,如果你没有流动性很强的资产,那会是相当大的风险。以前在房产市场暴跌时很多人最终宣告破产,原因正在于此。她说,人们通常会得到的建议是,保有相当于三到六个月的收入的现金储备。

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