As the Chinese New Year approaches, besides the usual hustle and bustle of doing spring cleaning, clearing out the trash, buying some new clothes, coordinating the reunion dinner on New Year’s Eve, the next big thing on everyone’s mind, especially if you are the giver and not the recipient, is: how much Ang Pow money should I be giving?
When surveyed, it is interesting to know that Ang Pow rates can actually be pegged to various factors such as:
1) Who the recipient is:
a. more senior the recipient, the ‘bigger’ the ang pow should be in order for the juniors to show the respect and gratitude towards their elders
b. the closer you feel towards the recipient, the more you would willingly ‘lavish’ ang pow money eg towards your favorite nephew so that he can buy that expensive basketball that NBA players are rumored to be using.
2) How much you earn:
This factor is particularly interesting as no one really brings their income tax returns to ‘declare’ to their relatives how much they make every Chinese New Year. Then how do relatives judge the ‘wealth index’ of their peers? The answer: through the car they drive! Yes! If you drive a Mercedes, BMW or Porsche and you happen to be giving out $4 worth of Ang Pows, you can be sure that you are branded as the ultimate ‘Giam-Siap Gui’ (or stingy ghost in Hokkien) within your circle of relatives. Never mind if you happen to overhear anyone saying that or not. Perhaps, to test water, you can ask your child to ask their cousins how you are often addressed as when you are physically absent. So driving that Toyota or Honda is not too bad at all, not to mention the fuel efficiency and lower cost of vehicle maintenance.
Having said the above, Ang Pow money is not exactly about how much they are worth as long as you give them with sincerity of wanting to bless the recipient for good health or longevity as 压岁钱 or just a simple way of giving the recipients a head-start to save up in the new year. It is a fantastic way of educating the young on the good habit of saving, starting with their ang pow money.
For interest sake, the below shows the ‘market rates’ for ang pow as tied to a couple’s combined income:
Higher Income – Combined income of more than $150k annually
Parents, in-laws $88 – $200
Own children $20 – $88
Grandchildren, nephews and nieces $20 – $50
Children of friends and colleagues $10 – $30
Middle Income – Combined income of $50k – $150k annually
Parents, in-laws $38 – $100
Own children $18 – $38
Grandchildren, nephews and nieces $8 – $28
Children of friends and colleagues $6 – $18
Lower Income – Combined income of $50k and below annually
Parents $10 – $68
Own children $8 – $30
Grandchildren, nephews and nieces $6 – $18
Children of friends and colleagues $4 – $10
Whatever the amount you are receiving as Ang Pow money this Lunar New Year, remember to give thanks and be grateful as no one is really obliged to be giving you anything in the first place, meaning you can’t really report police for not getting an ang pow from someone.
Happy new year everyone! Wishing you a fantastic year ahead!
Insure yourself, protect others.
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The author of this article is Mr Sean Ong. He is a Certified Life Coach and a Chartered Financial Consultant with more than 14 years of experience in the finance industry. A shareholder with the one of the largest independently-owned financial advisory company in Singapore, Sean also leads a top financial advisory group and has been featured on the local TV and radio. In his efforts to contribute to the society, Sean ran 1,000km over 87 days to successfully raise more than $13,000 for a children charity in Year 2012. He also published a book called “Mend Your Socks!” where sales proceeds were donated to charity. Sean can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.