YOLO Living Leading to Financial Shocks and Heavy Debts


You Only Live Once! When it comes to finances, Hong Kong people are taking the “ YOLO ” approach, to the detriment of their long-term financial health. Asked about what people want most from their money and finance, 38% of survey respondents replied: “the ability to enjoy life and to treat themselves”, compared to only 18% who cited “to take care of my family and give them a more comfortable life”.

YOLO: Social Media to Blame?

What is the driving force behind this spending with reckless abandon? The answer lies in the palm of our hands – our phones. The likes of Facebook and Instagram are cited as a major reason for overspending.

When questioned about how often they purchased products, experiences or trips to destinations seen on social media, around 45% of respondents said once or twice a year, moving to 15% for every month. A shocking 5% bought something they saw on social media every day (that must be exhausting).

Financial Shock is Real

Eating, praying and loving are all good (especially for social media) until a firm dose of reality smacks you. In Hong Kong, that juggernaut is taxes. When asked what the main reason for taking out a personal loan was, 26% cited tax payments, while 25% said it was to pay off a credit card bill. Meanwhile, only 12% said to help out a family member or friend, reinforcing our observations about a demographic shift in priorities.

Get a Helping Hand

Luckily MoneySmart is on hand with tips on how to achieve long-term financial planning, saving for taxes, and borrowing sustainably.

At MoneySmart, we explore issues surrounding important life milestones such as graduation, having children, retirement, and making wills. We all love to live the YOLO way nowadays, let’s just make sure we all do it free from financial shock.

This research was conducted in November 2018 in partnership with Rakuten Insight who are leaders in market research and data solutions in Asia. We asked 1,000 people in Hong Kong what they wanted most from their finances, what they are spending their salary on, the factors that influence their decisions and how prepared they are for upcoming financial milestones. 50% of respondents were male and 50% were female with ages ranging from 18-55 years old.

YOLO personal loans debts

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