Chinese New Year (CNY) 2018 Ang Bao Guide: What Matters The Most

2 min read

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.

The actual significance of this tradition is mainly on the red packet, and the money in it is secondary.

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 luck.

How much should you be giving in your Ang Bao this CNY?

Giving of Ang Bao has a really great meaning behind it, but when money is involved, things get a little complicated, and at times, tradition loses its meaning.

A commonly asked question, especially amongst newlywed couples, will be the amount to put in their red packet this Chinese New Year.

Well, here’s a few ways to look at it.

If we determine “Ang Bao rate” 2018 by what is circulating online

We did a quick search on the rates online, and here are some of our findings for “Ang Bao rate 2018”.

ParentsAs much as you can affordYou would give your parents the most, as a token of appreciation for raising you.
Siblings$20 and upThis depends whether your family usually gives ang baos to unmarried siblings.
Children$20 - $100The amount you would give your children really varies depending on how old they are and the attitude you want them to cultivate towards money. If you have more than one child, each one should receive the same amount.
Cousins/ Nieces/ Nephews$6 - $20Depends on how close you are and their age
Other children/ acquaintances$2 - $8This really depends on your financial situation, as you have no ties to this category of people.

source: Asia.finance

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$50 - $200Some parents choose to give more, but this is a general amount that most parents give.
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.

source: Asianmoneyguide

Parents and in-laws$200 - $500
Own Children and grandchildren$50 - $200
Siblings$30 - $100
Extended family$18 - $38
Other children who visit$2 - $8
Public workers$5 - $10

source: shopback.sg


If we determine Ang Bao rate by pegging it to inflation rate

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

I remember vividly that about 15 years ago in the year 2003, $2 was the minimum for Ang Bao rate. With this, if we were to factor in the consumer prices inflation rate since then

YearConsumer prices inflation rateMinimum Ang Bao rate

Well, definitely not the rate which we are looking at currently.

Ang Bao rate according to Seedly Personal Finance Community

We open up the questions to Seedly Personal Finance Community and here are some of the interesting replies (just for laugh!):

  • Ivan Lim on the other hand, recommends booking a flight overseas over the weekend to escape from giving Ang Bao. Whereas Huijuns feels the need to fly overseas too.
  • Edna Chew states that while it used to be $2, now it is higher due to inflation.
  • Damien Png has a formula to determine the rate based on relationship and income bracket:
    Income BracketFormula for Ang Bao
    Below $2,000$2(X)
    Up to $3,500$5(X)
    Up to $5,000$10(X)
    Up to $10,000$20(X)
    More than $10,000$25(X) to $50(X)
    What is X?
    Parents/ Grandparents30X
    Siblings and cousins10X
    other relatives5X
  • Fitri Khamis on the other hand will only give if they have BTC wallets.

Further Reading: Ang Bao – What Matters The Most?

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 lead the 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.

Here are what some of the community have to say:

  • Justine Carys: No fixed amount. See what you are comfortable with.
  • Alan Kor: No fixed rate. See heart and thought, not see money.
    If relationships are based on monetary value, “good game” to your relationships.
  • William Seah: Give what your heart is willing. If you give according to market rate, and if you are unwilling, then the gift is meaningless.
  • Guillaume Low: It is the thought that counts.

Check out our blog for more unbiased opinions on your personal finance journey.

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