News Centre

4 Feb 2016

Survey Findings on Views on Retirement Protection in Hong Kong Released by Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at CUHK

4 Feb 2016

A telephone survey was conducted from 25 to 28 January 2016 by Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong to gauge public views on retirement protection in Hong Kong.  790 respondents aged 18 or above were successfully interviewed, with a response rate of 42.1%.  The sampling error is + or –3.49% at a confidence level of 95%. 

Major findings are summarized as follows: 

First, the respondents were asked which of the two proposed schemes of retirement protection they would support.  For the case where all elderly people above the age of 65 are provided a uniform payment, about half of the respondents (46.1%) agreed, 24.6% of the respondents disagreed, 27.0% said “in-between”. For the case where the elderly people have to pass a means test on asset to get the payment, about two-fifth (39.3%) of the respondents agreed, 31.1% disagreed, and 26.4% said “in-between”. When the respondents were asked to choose between the above two proposed schemes, however, 45.7% preferred the former non-means-tested scheme, while 43.1% preferred the latter means-tested scheme. Female, young respondents of age 30 or below and those with some tertiary education have higher support rates for means-tested scheme. Other subgroups tend to have higher support rates on the non-means-tested scheme. These differences are statistically significant according to Chi-square tests. 

For the source of finance of the retirement protection schemes proposed, more than half (52.7%) of the respondents supported the use of fiscal reserve, followed by imposition of new taxes such as sales tax or pension tax (24.4%), imposition of new contribution scheme (18.2%), raising the tax rates of existing taxes (15.2%) and transferring from the existing contribution to the Mandatory Provident Fund in part or in full (11.8%). 

The respondents were also asked if they agreed with the government’s proposal of setting the asset limit for the means test at $80,000. The results show that more than three-fifth (62.1%) of the respondents regarded it as too low, 17.4% regarded it as suitable, and 11.9% regarded it as too high. Among those who thought it is too low, 27.8% said it should be less than $200,000, 23.3% said it should be below $400,000, 23.5% said it should be below $600,000 and 11.2% said it should be above $600,000. 

Respondents were also asked if they agreed with certain viewpoints about retirement protection. , 38.2% of respondents disagreed with the statement that “if all the elderly above 65 can get the retirement payment, the government expenditure must increase substantially and the scheme cannot be sustainable”, 31.1% agreed, and 26.9% said “in-between”. When asked if they agreed “if a means test is imposed, it is the equivalent to welfare payment to the poor, but not real retirement protection”, 37.9% of the respondents agreed with this statement, 30.0% disagreed, and 25.5% said “in-between”. Another viewpoint is that “if all elderly people can get the retirement payment, people in the younger generations will have to pay more to support the scheme, and this is unfair to the younger generations”. 41.9% of the respondents disagreed with this statement, 25.6% agreed, and 27.0% said “in-between”. 

The respondents were also asked whether retirement protection should depend mainly on individual, family or government. More than two-fifth (41.8%) of the respondents said that individual means is the most important, followed by government support (23.7%) and family (11.0%). There were also 10.4% of the respondents said that all three are equally important. 

Overall, the researchers feel that a consensus is not yet found in public opinion about the best form of retirement protection in Hong Kong.