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Monday, January 20, 2014

M’sians optimistic about financial goals, Indonesians most upbeat: Nielsen

Published: Wednesday January 15, 2014 MYT 3:20:00 PM 
Updated: Wednesday January 15, 2014 MYT 3:34:23 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: About three quarters (74%) of Malaysians believe they will achieve their financial goals for the future, with only 26% expressing no confidence, according to a new study by Nielsen.

The Nielsen Global Survey of Savings and Investment Strategies, which polled more than 30,000 Internet respondents in 60 countries, found Malaysians to be more confident of achieving their financial goals than those in Vietnam (72%), Thailand (71%), or Singapore (65%).

The most optimistic nationalities were Indonesians (88%) and Filipinos (83%).

“Recent events, such as price increases on certain essential goods and utilities, coupled with the upcoming introduction of GST in April 2015 are affecting Malaysian consumers’ financial planning, and encouraging them to proactively review their financial planning,” said Luca Griseri, Head of Nielsen’s Financial Services in Singapore and Malaysia.

According to the Nielsen survey, around seven out of 10 Malaysian consumers (71%) commit at least 20% of their monthly income towards achieving their financial goals, compared to in the Philippines and Vietnam (62%), Singapore (61%), Indonesia (58%) and Thailand (51%).

The survey also revealed that health issues, unexpected household emergencies and retirement funds are the top three savings and investment priorities among Malaysian respondents, with an overwhelming majority of Malaysians actively saving or investing in these areas or planning to do so in the future.

Malaysian consumers were also concerned about longer-term issues such as their children’s futures and the purchase of their first home, as well as building financial contingency plans in the event of job loss.

The survey found nearly half of Malaysians (48%) were actively saving to cover future health issues, while a further 48% planned to start saving to cover health issues in the future. Unexpected household emergencies (46%) and retirement funds (43%) also drove savings and investment among Malaysians.

Of the 48% of Malaysians actively saving to cover health issues, their most common approach was to use a diversified strategy that involved local bank accounts, life insurance and saving plans.

Among those Malaysians saving for retirement and household emergencies, at least half rely on current savings and time deposits, while life insurance and government and private investment schemes were also popular choices for Malaysians looking to achieve long-term financial goals.

“It’s encouraging to see Malaysian consumers planning ahead when it comes to their finances and having set targets for savings and investments,” said Griseri.

“Many Malaysians rely on private savings as well as the Employee Provident Funds(EPF) to fund their retirement ,” notes Griseri. "This multi-pronged approach is encouraging, as it shows a realistic understanding of what is required to fund one’s golden years and a desire to not depend on the government alone.”

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