Indians are the most optimistic people about their future and are largely satisfied with their daily lives, says a latest survey.
About 87.2 per cent of Indians are most optimistic about their lives for the next five years, according to a global survey by AXA Asia-Life, part of the AXA Asia Pacific Holdings of the global insurer.
Spread across India, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, AXA's Life Outlook Index showed the most optimistic people after Indians were Filipinos, who polled 85 per cent.
The Indian regional average was just 71.6 per cent on the index based on a scale of 1 to 100, from least to most optimistic.
Further, 85 per cent of Indians are satisfied with their current life, the highest for any country, whereas the regional average is only 49 per cent for the mass affluent Asians.
"India and the Philippines stand out as the most satisfied markets while the more developed markets of Hong Kong and Singapore show the least current satisfaction," it says.
According to the study, job security and the opportunity to use one's skills in the next five years have the greatest impact on career outlook.
Also, India and China attribute optimism mainly to job security, prospects and work-life-balance; but China also attributes it highly to the opportunity to use one's skills and ability.
Interestingly, Singaporeans were the least optimistic about their future (59.2 per cent) compared to 75.1 per cent of the Chinese.
The survey, which covered 2,400 respondents from eight countries, focused on mass affluent population aged between 25-50 years in each market.
It was conducted through online and face-to-face interviews in August 2007.
In addition, for Indians and Filipinos, career is seen more as a financial means to support oneself compared to people from other countries.
"Most mass affluent Asians are not willing to sacrifice their existing living standards to achieve an earlier retirement, with the exception of India and the Philippines, where the need for some trade-off is more readily accepted," adds the report.
Another conclusion is that for India and the Philippines, the positive outlook is tied closely to changes in their personal income and financial burdens.
Moreover, these people along with those from Thailand are more sensitive to changes in income from family members, indicative of a higher reliance on family income for the future.
Ironically, mass affluent with the highest optimism are also seen to be the least prepared for their retirement -- 82 per cent from India and 78 per cent from the Philippines have not started planning seriously or taken action for their retirement.
In contrast, mass affluent with lower optimism have been driven to better plan for their future retirement -- 41 per cent of respondents from Singapore, 47 per cent from Hong Kong and 36 per cent from Malaysia have started planning seriously for their retirement.
Further, for Indians, career is the first priority followed by health, family and retirement.