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Young Chinese boost retirement savings

By ZHOU LANXU | China Daily | Updated: 2019-09-20 01:38
A coach teaches senior citizens how to exercise at a rehabilitation center in Tianjin. [Photo by Jia Chenglong/For China Daily]

More Chinese millennials are saving for retirement with increased awareness of retirement planning, while barriers remain for them to get financially prepared for their golden years, according to the China Retirement Readiness Survey 2019 on Thursday.

The survey found that half of the total respondents — 50,050 users of Ant Financial who are at least 18 years old — are saving for retirement this year, up from 46 percent a year earlier.

The younger respondents, who are between 18 and 34 years old and face stronger pressure of retirement saving amid the aging of China's population, are saving for retirement more readily than a year ago, with the ratio rising to 48 percent this year from 44 percent last year.

Fidelity International and Ant Fortune, a wealth management platform of Ant Financial, initiated the annual survey last year, as part of their five-year partnership to educate Chinese pension investors.

This year's survey is said to be one of the biggest of its kind globally and was released at the China Retirement Investment Forum in Beijing on Thursday.

Though more Chinese people save for retirement with increased awareness of retirement planning, they save less — respondents are saving 1,052 yuan ($148) per month on average this year, versus 1,389 yuan ($195) last year, the survey showed.

"Lack of capital" was highlighted as a key hurdle to saving, as competing financial needs, especially family commitments such as securing comfortable life for parents and good education for children, are limiting respondents' ability to save for retirement.

Chinese women may face a bigger challenge than men in getting financially prepared for retirement, as females earn less on average and prioritize family financial needs more. Lacking investment and retirement planning knowledge also comprises a key barrier for females' retirement savings, according to the survey.

"In addition to general retirement awareness, people need more specific guidance and customized support to help them balance their financial priories and set their individual retirement savings goals," said Jackson Lee, China country head at Fidelity International.

To address these needs and help Chinese savers build confidence in retirement planning, Fidelity International will strive to introduce more of its global best practices to the Chinese market, including a wide range of investor education content as well as retirement planning tools – all available on digital platforms, Lee said.

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