MONEY IS a subject that people try to avoid discussing. It is considered a faux pas to discuss how much one earns, owes, or spends. However, in reality, money impacts some of the most important things in life, including personal relationships with family and friends.
These views are supported by the findings from the recently launched Prudential Relationship Index (PRI), the second edition of the inaugural 2016 study, aimed at understanding the state of personal relationships across Asia. The survey was conducted in nine markets across Asia.
In Thailand, 500 interviews were conducted online with adults between 25 and 55 years of age. Respondents were residents in Greater Bangkok with monthly household incomes of at least Bt30,000 , representing approximately the top two-thirds of household incomes in Bangkok.
CEO of Prudential Thailand, Aman Chowla said, “One of the interesting highlights of this year’s PRI is that financial security is important for Thais in order to have healthy family relationships. The survey reflects that couples who share their responsibilities with each other, even those as sensitive as finances, tend to have stronger relationships. The report also shows that couples who pool resources together achieve higher scores in the overall relationship index.”
This year, Thailand retains its fifth position on the PRI index among the markets surveyed, indicating that relationships in Thailand fulfil 70 per cent of people’s needs and expectations. Despite the relatively high levels of relationship fulfilment, people in Thailand experience a fair share of relationship tension caused by money-related issues – money is the number one source of arguments for Thai couples (46 per cent ). This is followed by arguments over time spent on the phone or computer (36 per cent) and children issues (35 per cent).
When it comes to financial security, people in Thailand are concerned about their financial situation in the future, with 66 per cent worrying about whether they will have sufficient savings for retirement and medical expenses.
Most Thais expect to rely on their own savings to support themselves in their old age (81 per cent), rather than relying on their children (26 per cent). More than a third (37per cent ) are concerned about becoming a burden to their family when they age.
Instead of relying on family or children for financial support, 48 per cent of Thais expect the government to provide financial assistance in their senior years, the highest across the region, while 50 per cent expect to continue working to support themselves.
Worrying about financial security also extends to concern for their loved ones. Close to half (49 per cent) of Thais surveyed express concern about their family’s financial situation should anything ever happen to them, with 11 per cent of them predicting that the impact would range from serious to catastrophic.
People who plan their finances together with their partners are more confident about their family’s financial situation in the event that one of them passes away (57 per cent), compared to couples who make financial plans separately (49 per cent).
Of the couples surveyed, 71 per cent believe that working with a financial consultant to plan their finances can make their relationships better.
Additionally, couples who plan their finances together believe they are more likely to see an improvement in their personal finances and family relationship in the next five years (69 per cent) than those who plan their finances separately (45 per cent). Of those who make financial plans together, 59 per cent expect their romantic relationships to improve over the next five years, compared to the 47 per cent who do not plan their finances together.