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Study shows local couples value financial planning

Children blow out candles on a birthday cake at a restaurant in Phnom Penh.
Children blow out candles on a birthday cake at a restaurant in Phnom Penh. Sahiba Chawdhary

Study shows local couples value financial planning

As the Kingdom struggles to establish a stable middle-class, Cambodian couples are more interested in financial planning than ever before but remain at risk to financial shocks that could be prevented by the expansion of the insurance market, according to a recent survey.

The survey, which was funded by Prudential Life Assurance Company and conducted by market research firm Ipsos Loyalty, was carried out in nine Asian markets: Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Mark Kidd, associate director of Ipsos Loyalty, explained that the company interviewed 513 Phnom Penh residents, all with a monthly income of at least $375 and aged between 25 and 55. The survey revealed that Cambodian couples are both happy in their relationships and highly financially motivated.

“Cambodia has ranked the first in all Asian markets for relationship fulfillment,” Kidd said, “But one in four couples argue about money.”

He said that most interviewees reported they would rather work longer hours for more money than enjoy free time with their spouses. The report added that 82 percent of families were saving to buy a home while 70 percent were saving to establish their own businesses.

“Even so, money is not the most important thing,” he clarified. “Most interviewed said they would rather have their spouses be healthier, rather than just wealthier.”

Financial shocks could be protected by insurance policies, according to David Nutman, CEO of Prudential Cambodia.

Nutman said that the results of the survey can be used as a valuable business tool that can assist Prudential in how it designs its insurance products for the local market.

“Protecting relationships requires financial planning, protection and security,” he said.

Cambodians were revealed by the study to be the most family-centric of the nine Asian markets analysed, with 41 percent of interviewees still providing daily financial support to their parents and 55 percent expecting their children to support them in their old age.

“Families are facing a lot of financial strain, taking care of both their parents and their own children,” Nutman said. “This makes having access to sound financial advice even more important.”

The study also showed that couples are highly invested in their children’s education, and that 71 percent of interviewees felt their families would suffer financially if anything were to happen to them.

Nutman explained that insurance policies could protect from the negative financial effects incurred by children when an adult family member becomes deceased, helping to minimise the debt which could ruin children’s chances of attending school.

“The biggest goal for couples in Cambodia now is to own a home, and many take out loans for that – but if they pass on, the debt passes to the existing family members,” he explained. “There are loan insurance programs to help pay off that debt before it grows, and educational security is wrapped around that.”

Currently there are seven or eight insurance companies at play in the Kingdom, and he urged that competition in the sector would only benefit Cambodians.

“This is one of the newest and most underpenetrated markets in Asia when it comes to insurance,” he said. “There’s a lot of potential for growth, as the numbers of people with disposable income grow too.”

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