Chinese New Year (CNY) Ang Bao Rates 2020: Ang Bao Guides Are Unhealthy And Here's Why
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Chinese New Year (CNY) Ang Bao Rates 2020: Ang Bao Guides Are Unhealthy And Here's Why

Ming Feng
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In Chinese tradition, the giving of Red Packet (Ang Pao) during Chinese New Year from the married to the unmarried (mainly children), is a meaningful one.

Source: Young Parents

The actual significance of this tradition is mainly on the red packet. The money that comes in it is secondary, and an add on bonus for the recipient of the Ang Bao.

The meaning behind giving of red packets during Chinese New Year is a way for married working adults to share their wealth and blessings with the young ones.

On top of that, red colour in Chinese tradition signifies:

  • Good luck
  • Happiness

While the money in the red packet signifies the gift of fortune and luck.


TL;DR: Here’s the Ang Bao Rates for 2020 Chinese New Year!

So… How much money should you be giving in your CNY Ang Bao?

While the gifting of an Ang Bao is really meaningful.

Things get a little complicated when money gets involved.

After doing our research and polling the team, we came up with this guide:

cny ang bao rate 2020 singapore how much to give relatives red packet chinese new year

RelationshipAmountReason
Parents/ In-laws/ Grandparents$250 - $800Out of everyone, parents should get the most as a sign of respect.
Husband to Wife$200 - $500Husbands can opt to give their wives ang pows and vice versa. But this isn't a common practise in modern households.
Siblings$50 - $200Depending on how old your siblings are and whether they are working, this is a safe and reasonable amount to give.
Own Children / Grandchildren$50 - $200Some parents choose to give more, but this is a general amount that most parents give.

This rate is also most commonly adopted by grandparents as well.
Cousins/ Nieces/ Nephews$10 - $20They are not immediate family members, therefore can be given lower ang pow amounts.
Friends/ Children of friends$2 - $8As these are people who you would give the most out to (assuming you have a small family), you might want to keep the budget lower for this.
Public workers $5 - $10
This may be for the migrant worker that cleans your block, maids of relatives, etc.

Should I Peg The Ang Bao Rate To The Inflation Rate?

Source: Giphy

For those who are a little more into finance, the inflation rate may play a key role in determining the Ang Bao rate during Chinese New Year.

I remember back in 2003, $2 was kind of the minimum for Ang Bao rates.

Let’s take this and factor in the consumer price inflation rate since then:

YearConsumer prices inflation rateMinimum Ang Bao rate
20030.5%$2
20041.7%$2.01
20050.5%$2.04
20061.0%$2.05
20072.1%$2.07
20086.6%$2.12
20090.6%$2.26
20102.8%$2.27
20115.2%$2.34
20124.6%$2.46
20132.4%$2.57
20141.0%$2.63
2015-0.5%$2.66
2016-0.5%$2.64
20170.9%$2.63
20180.7%$2.82
20190.99% $2.85
2020$2.85

Yep, the minimum Ang Bao rate should then be $2.85 for 2020.

Determining the “CNY Ang Bao Rate” For 2020

Well… we did a little research online and averaged the rates we found.

And also polled the Seedly team to get a feel for what they think is the ideal CNY Ang Bao rate.

After that, this is what we got:

RelationshipAmountReason
Parents/ In-laws/ Grandparents$250 - $800Out of everyone, parents should get the most as a sign of respect.
Husband to Wife$200 - $500Husbands can opt to give their wives ang pows and vice versa. But this isn't a common practise in modern households.
Siblings$50 - $200Depending on how old your siblings are and whether they are working, this is a safe and reasonable amount to give.
Own Children / Grandchildren$50 - $200Some parents choose to give more, but this is a general amount that most parents give.

This rate is also most commonly adopted by grandparents as well.
Cousins/ Nieces/ Nephews$10 - $20They are not immediate family members, therefore can be given lower ang pow amounts.
Friends/ Children of friends$2 - $8As these are people who you would give the most out to (assuming you have a small family), you might want to keep the budget lower for this.
Public workers $5 - $10
This may be for the migrant worker that cleans your block, maids of relatives, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions On Giving Ang Baos During Chinese New Year

Source: Giphy

Who should be giving ang baos for CNY?

Traditionally, only those who are married will give ang baos to the younger ones, or those who are single. This may vary from different families, so there is no hard and fast rule, at least.

Is there a minimum amount to give?

Source: Giphy

There’s no hard rule that says that you have to give at least $XX amount in your ang baos. However, you may refrain from giving odd number amounts like $5, or $7, as to the older generation, chinses traditionally don’t consider odd numbers to be auspicious.

Ang Bao rates are however dependent on hierarchy. As seen above, usually those who are closer to you will receive a higher ang bao rate. That said, it should also be dependent on your financial situation, and you should always give within your means.

Should I Really Follow an Ang Bao Rate Guide?

While it is convenient to come out with a guide for everyone to follow, maybe it is time to take a step back and reflect on the values that will be translated down to the next generation.

Some of the Ang Bao guides we see circulating online can lead to unhealthy values being passed down.

By indicating the income bracket and pegging it to a rate can result in the younger generation receiving Ang Bao to judge their relative based on the amount they give.

Judging your relative based on income bracket is definitely something to avoid, and the meaning behind this meaningful tradition should not be lost in translation due to money.

About Ming Feng
A stint in Bloomberg gifted me with a beer belly, which only grew larger when I moved on to become a Professional Trader. Now I turn caffeine into digestible finance-related content.
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