Privileged Lives

Expat Bankers in Hong Kong Live Unusually Privileged Lives

Adam Chao eFinancial Careers Sept 15, 2022 

I’m a finance professional and grew up in public housing in Hong Kong. I have lived in the U.S. and now live in Hong Kong again. And although I can easily afford it, I don’t employ maids or “helpers.”

This is in contrast to most bankers in the expat community here. My experience is that my expat friends in Hong Kong enjoy very privileged lives. They hang out in private clubs with other expats with a few maids at home – many have one maid per child. 

As a native Hong Konger, I dislike this culture, which is why I’ve always refused to get full time helpers even if I have the means. 

The approach to domestic help in Hong Kong is very different to elsewhere in the world. I know many people in the US with net worth easily above $100 million and they refuse to get full time maids. In Hong Kong, it’s very different. It’s really cheap to get a maid so most people do it – even if they’re in the back office. 

The prevalence of household help means expat Hong Kong bankers are divorced from reality. In the U.S. and Canada people are much more down to earth. They try to live frugal lives, especially if they entered the industry after 2008. The finance culture is very different here. 

Edited for length. Emphasis added. Read the entire article here.

Expat bankers in Singapore and Hong Kong can’t get by without their house maids anymore

Simon Mortlock, Business Insider, October 7, 2015 

Westerners were drawn in droves to banking jobs in Singapore and Hong Kong after the financial crisis

What’s keeping them from going home?”

One reason really stood out: their working lives have been made immeasurably easier by the wide availability and affordability of live-in maids.

Most expats say they quickly overcame their initial skepticism about employing a helper and now can’t live without her.

Finance professionals in Hong Kong … are delighted with having one. There are many stories of couples staying much longer than anticipated because of their helper,” says a Hong Kong management consultant.

Expats at banks in Singapore and Hong Kong tend to be in stressful senior management jobs that demand long hours – and helpers make this kind of existence more bearable. “Since I get home from work late most nights, having a cooked meal on the table allows us time to relax together as a family,” says the finance professional.

Having a domestic worker helps expats better fulfill regional roles.

Singapore and Hong Kong expats say they started to perform better in their jobs after taking on a helper. “My very good helper makes me healthier, happier and more productive at work. That’s because my stress is reduced due to her assistance in my day-to-day living,” says another Hong Kong banking professional.

Edited for length, emphasis added. The entire article is available here.

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