Fin’l Expertise Of Filipinos Improving, Latest Survey Of Citibank Reveals

Financial awareness as translated through savings, budgeting and retirement plans are more intrinsically woven into the daily lives of the average Filipino as finances and job security improves.

In its latest survey on the financial quotient or “Fin-Q” of local consumers, Citibank Philippines said that for the second year in a row, the tally of financially-driven and “money-wise” Filipinos remain on the high side and further noted record-high scores on budgeting, insurance and retirement plans.

Sustaining last year’s high mark, Filipino consumers scored a high of 53 out of 100 in the survey.

“The improved score was driven by increased awareness among respondents of the importance of planning personal finances, ownership of several financial products such as investments and insurance, and a general optimism on their financial future,” according to the American bank Citibank, considered the largest foreign bank in the Philippines. “More and more Filipinos now understand the value of budgeting and planning for their retirement, and claim building their savings has become a personal priority.”

Based on the latest survey results, 9 out 10 Filipinos are budgeting, planning and working around getting retirement plans as part of their long-term financial future and security.

“They create a budget on a monthly basis, and 65 percent acknowledged the importance of sticking to their budget,” said Citibank.

“In preparing for their future,” the bank concluded, “Filipinos seem to be right on track as well. In fact, it was a record year in terms of their confidence in their insurance coverage, with nearly 8 out of 10 saying they own insurance products or enjoy income protection.”

The survey noted especially that as far as preparing for a retirement plan, 63 percent of respondents said they are on track with their financial condition as far as savings are concerned.

“As they prepare for retirement, a total of 63% said they are on track with their retirement savings or had already started to set aside some savings for it.

The online survey, which started in 2007, covered the bank’s account holders and credit card holders. It included 80 basic questions on financial habits and know-how and a scoring of 11 different questions with 100 as being the maximum possible score.

The latest survey data was conducted in 2012 and culled 3,500 online respondents located in seven countries including the Philippines. Citibank said about 500 interviews were conducted in Australia, India, Indonesia, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan.

According to Citibank Country Officer Sanjiv Vohra, “when consumers are engaged in discussions on saving, budgeting and investing, it raises awareness on the importance of being able to make smart financial decisions for their future.”

As for the region-wide survey, Citibank said that consumers across Asia Pacific generally have scoring of above the 50-point market or an average of 53.2 points.

About 67 percent of those surveyed show optimism in their financial futures while 44 percent have started to build up their savings. A higher number of 63 percent are aware of their need to secure retirement plans while 57 percent already have insurance policies.

Last December, Citi hosted the regional conference Citi-FT Financial Education Summit in Manila.