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National Bonds announces results of financial health check survey for Q2 2015.

National Bonds Corporation has announced the Q2 results of its ongoing financial health check survey.

Findings for this period indicate 42 per cent of the respondents save for retirement, marking a six per cent increase compared to Q1 results, while 31 per cent save regularly to buy a home, a three per cent increase over previous results. Meanwhile, 14 per cent save for their children's education, 10 per cent lower than those in Q1. The survey also indicates that 13 per cent of the respondents save for basic needs.

Designed by financial advisers at National Bonds, the financial health check was launched in February 2015 to help customers assess their financial status and take corrective action towards achieving a more resilient financial future. To date, the survey has received responses from more than 1,000 customers across cultures and nationalities. The results for the first quarter of this year had revealed positive financial practices for most respondents, especially the youth.

The majority of the survey respondents are married couples (81 per cent), with bachelors comprising 18 per cent and divorcees accounting for only one per cent. Most respondents (64 per cent) have children. While 72 per cent of them fall within the 26-40 year age group, 19 per cent are from the 41-55 years age category and only seven per cent fall within the 18-25 years age group.

The survey's results divide the majority of respondents with children (64 per cent) into two categories - 19 per cent say they save for their children's education, while 48 per cent do not have an emergency fund.

In additional findings from the survey, 47 per cent of the respondents said they make monthly payments towards personal loans, a three per cent increase compared to the previous quarter. Furthermore, 38 per cent of respondents admitted to paying off debts towards credit cards, while 15 per cent pay out home mortgages in comparison to 18 per cent in the prior survey.

The survey has also recorded a notable decline in saving among the 18 - 25 year age group, with 73 per cent of them saving regularly - nine per cent lower than the last quarter's results. Also, 27 per cent of the respondents from this segment admit to not having a specific savings plan, compared to 18 per cent in Q1 2015.

In the 41-55 year age group, 49 per cent of the respondents said they make payments towards personal loans, a four per cent increase compared to previous results. Savers for retirement in this group surged to 53 per cent, while 43 per cent make monthly payments towards credit cards, an increase from 36 per cent in Q1.

The financial health check results also indicate that 54 per cent of respondents in the 26-40 year age group keep a regular record of their expenses, while 46 per cent do not. In the same age category, 71 per cent of respondents said they regularly pay for credit card expenses. The survey also found that 28 per cent of respondents have a written will of inheritance.

In yet another interesting outcome, 86 per cent of respondents said they do not have a financial agent or planner to help them manage their finance and money issues, which is a five per cent increase compared to Q1 results. Additionally, 78 per cent of respondents admitted to not having Takaful insurance.

Commenting on the results, Mohammed Qasim Al-Ali, CEO, National Bonds, said, "The results of this survey are somewhat different from the previous one. This is logical and can be attributed to varying socio-economic factors that affect financial behavior positively or negatively. For example, priority is usually given to education or buying a house at the beginning of the year, while behaviors change in the second quarter with the onset of the holiday and summer seasons."

He added: "We also notice a change in financial behavior within the 18-25 year age group, with a fall in savers to 73 per cent from 82 per cent, given their interest in mirroring latest trends and fashions that leads to a shift in priorities. As for the 41-55 year age group, we notice a rise in the number of respondents making payments towards personal loans compared to the results in Q1, taking into consideration that the majority of them save for retirement."

Al-Ali further explained: "We utilise these survey results to come up with best plans designed for each age group according to their priorities, commitments and financial behavior. We need to inculcate the concept of regular saving so it becomes a year-long practice regardless of priorities or seasonal variations. Everyone needs to control their financial expenditure, and ensure enabling circumstances that help them enhance their financial stability and security and limit possibilities of falling into debt."

"Although 86 per cent of respondents say they do not have a certified financial advisor to manage their financial issues and help them make the right decisions, we still choose to see a positive outlook from this survey. We should take into consideration that the culture of saving is totally alien to our current societies. This culture is slowly becoming prevalent and has become a viable option for those keen to combat rising inflation and achieve their dreams."

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Publication:CPI Financial
Date:Aug 19, 2015
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