Thu, 02 Sep 2010

Thu, 02 Sep 2010

From: The Jakarta Globe

By Irvan Tisnabudi
Jakarta. Indonesian consumers, who are fueling the country’s powerful economy, are spending too much and not saving enough, according to a Citibank survey released on Wednesday.

Citibank concluded that workers were not saving enough of their salaries to provide for themselves if they lost their jobs, much less for their retirement.

Analysts and economists blamed “live for today” consumerism and a lack of education about financial planning.

The online survey, called the 2009 Financial Quotient, drew 400 respondents who had worked for at least two and a half years. It was conducted last year.

Only 32 percent of respondents said they had savings equaling six months of their salary or more, and only 44 percent had savings equaling at least three months, the survey found.

Twenty percent had savings amounting to only one month’s salary.

“Ideally, we should allocate 20 percent of our monthly salary to our savings,” said Sonitha Poernomo, Citibank’s vice president of corporate affairs. “After working for two and a half years, we should have savings totaling about six months of our monthly salary.”

She said people were advised to have the equivalent of at least six months of their salary in savings to cushion them from any unexpected financial shocks.

“Can you imagine what would happen if these people were to suddenly lose their jobs?”

“Most Indonesians don’t realize this, because they are not educated enough on financial management,” Sonitha added.

The survey also found that only 26 percent of respondents had retirement plans, and only 30 percent had formal budgets for allocating their monthly salary.

“The rest of the respondents, who admitted they had no retirement plans, had no idea [how they would support themselves] once they retired from their jobs,” Sonitha said.

She said those who managed their monthly spending and had retirement plans would be more likely to reach a state of financial independence in which they would have no problems covering their expenses in retirement.

Juniman, an economist at Bank International Indonesia, said Indonesian culture tended to promote consumption.

“Indonesians, in general, tend to overspend,” he said. “To make things worse, they tend to not give much thought to their futures. Instead, they focus too much on their present needs.”