Beijing families take on the financial crisis
As economies around the globe have slowed or fallen into recession, families in Beijing are reevaluating their budgets to prepare for potentially tough times ahead. Find out how different families make decisions about spending and saving money, whether they feel the effects of the financial crisis, and what their strategies are for making it through the downturn in one piece – or even ahead.
THE MASTER SAVERS
Gina Wang and her husband put most of us to shame; they sock away 60 to 70 percent of their monthly earnings. Since marrying in 2000, the couple has purchased a two-bedroom apartment near Oriental Plaza in Wangfujing, paid off the mortgage, tucked away a good amount of money for retirement, had a baby, and saved up USD 24,000 in cash to buy a Nissan sedan this January.
It helps that the husband and wife are pros when it comes to money – Wang works in the finance department of a global public relations firm and her husband is an investment manager at a state-owned bank. “We’re very cautious when it comes to spending money; we watch every penny,” says Wang, who has no credit card because she prefers to be debt-free. The family is thrifty, though they don’t mind spending a lot for vacations to Hong Kong. Wang is also saving up to buy a larger apartment, and also to send her young son to university overseas one day.
The Wangs track income and spending on a spreadsheet and makes investments – almost 90 percent in bonds – for retirement. Last year, they saw the stock market weakening and converted the family’s stock holdings into cash. So even as world economies keep wobbling, Wang and her family haven’t felt any effects. Michelle Tsai
The Monthly Budget (RMB)
Travel (per year) 23,000