Salarymen feel pinch as pocket money hits post-bubble low

07/04/2011
By

Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo

TOKYO (majirox news) — Japanese salarymen have an average allowance of just 36,500 yen, (about $451), 4,100 yen (about $50) less than last year and marking a new post-bubble economy low, according to Shinsei Financial Co.

The 4,100 yen decline — the fourth consecutive annual fall — dropped the average allowance below 40,000 yen (about $494) for the first time in seven years and left pocket money at levels last seen in 1982.

Allowances are now less than half their peak of 76,000 yen(about $940) a month recorded in 1990, the year when Japan was booming due to speculation over asset values that created a bubble economy.

“There are few signs of economic recovery and fears for the future remain deep-seated,” a Shinsei Financial spokesman said to explain the continuing decline in salaryman spending. “Most probably think it’s not a time to be loosening the purse strings.”

Many Japanese household budgets are maintained by women who receive their husband’s monthly salary and hand out an allowance in return.

Salarymen are generally using the bulk of their allowances on food and drink, according to the Shinsei Financial survey. They average eating out on the way home 2.9 times a month, which is the same as last year, but spend only 3,540 yen (about $44) each time, a decline of 650 yen (about $8). Average lunch purchases also fell by 10 yen year-on-year to 490 yen (about $6). More salarymen are preparing lunches and taking them to work instead of buying at eateries near their workplaces.

Shinsei Financial, which surveyed salarymen about their allowances in the spring, is a consumer finance company forming part of the Shinsei Bank network.

robert@majiroxnews.com

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