A new global study by HSBC Life – the HSBC Group’s insurance business – shows that a health legacy is emerging as people look forward to a life beyond the pandemic.
The +Factor study – a survey of over 10,000 participants aged 18 to over 80 across mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore and UK – reveals that more than four in five (81%) respondents believe that passing on healthy lifestyle habits is becoming more important than passing on wealth; the belief in health & wellbeing as a priority is stronger amongst people in the 25 to 34 age group (84%).
Health is wealth
The study highlights the extent that physical, mental and financial wellbeing are interlinked.
Three quarters (75%) of respondents feel that their mental health and financial position are connected, and most say they need to feel both physically healthy (84%) and mentally healthy (82%) to enjoy their wealth. Furthermore, four in five (80%) rank their physical health higher in importance than their financial health.
Financial fitness and holistic wellbeing
Respondents were asked questions relating to their current physical fitness, mental health and financial wellbeing, and grouped them according to their responses².
Overall, the results highlighted a strong correlation between physical health, mental wellbeing and financial fitness. A majority (85%) of the physically fit group scored ‘average’ or ‘above average’ for mental health (versus 38% in the unfit group), and 52% scored ‘very fit’ in financial wellbeing, (versus only 24% in the ‘unfit’ group).
Of those with above average mental health, 73% reported high levels of physical fitness (versus only 12% with ‘very low’ mental health), whilst 55% scored ‘very fit’ for financial wellbeing (versus only 22% with ‘very low’ mental health).
Bryce Johns, Global CEO of HSBC Life and Insurance Partnerships, commented: “The COVID-19 pandemic is an acute reminder of the importance of health and wellness. Our +Factor study indicates how our customers are expanding their horizons when it comes to legacy planning – from just wealth to securing a financially secure, physically fit and mentally healthy lifestyle, for their families and themselves.”
Healthy habits start young
The study also reveals that physical activity from a young age can lead to greater financial and mental wellbeing later in life. People who regularly played sport as a child (74%) were found to be mentally, financially and physically fitter today than those who didn’t.
Of this group, 84% said they feel physically fit today, 83% currently reported above average mental health and 83% scored ‘very fit’ for financial wellbeing. For those who did not have a sporting habit as a child (26%), the results were significantly lower with only 16% said they were physically fit today, 17% having above average mental health and 17% scoring ‘very fit’ for financial wellbeing.
The Societal +Factor and Covid-19 impact
The study highlights how achieving holistic wellbeing through high levels of physical, mental and financial health, doesn’t merely benefit the individual, it can also help to contribute to society at large. For example, 86% of those who felt physically fit volunteer for charitable initiatives and 81% opt for sustainable or ESG investments, compared with only 60% and 41% respectively who felt they were physically unfit.
Furthermore, respondents’ inclination to contribute to society has also been influenced by Covid-19. When comparing pre-pandemic life with their current lifestyle, more than a fifth (23%) said that it had influenced how they are giving back to society and helping the environment.
Financial planning – a driver for wellbeing
The survey suggests that Covid-19 has been a key driver for people to save money for the future and improve their financial planning, as more than one in four respondents (28%) said their financial behaviour had changed when comparing their lifestyle pre-Covid to now.
It also revealed a link between people’s financial habits and their mental wellbeing – small financial planning habits are having a positive impact on mental health. For example, almost two-thirds (61%) of those with above average mental health said they have used financial products to increase the value of their assets in the past six months, versus just under half (46%) of those feeling very low mental health.
Furthermore, many people (73%) with above average mental health had a comprehensive financial plan for retirement versus only 31% with below average mental health.
“Our +Factor study highlights the connection between physical health, mental wellness and financial fitness, and how holistic wellbeing can also impact contribution to society. It is also significant to see the links between financial planning and improved mental health. All of the findings reinforce our strategy and positioning as a leading bancassurer in guiding people to achieve financial fitness as an essential element of their holistic wellbeing,” said Bryce Johns.
A report of the of key global findings is available to download at: www.life.hsbc.co.uk/customers/health-and-wellbeing-centre/health-and-wellbeing-study/