“The Moonlight Clan,” a movement in Asia where young employees spend their entire salary each month

In several Asian countries, a phenomenon is becoming more and more common. It consists in spending the whole of one’s salary each month.

In several Asian countries, sociologists and economists are warning of the rise of a new generation of consumers. Young people under the age of 35 who are rather well off and have decided never to save anything and always to spend their entire salary. This movement even has a name: “The Moonlight Gang”.

This concept can be found regularly in traditional media or online platforms. This phenomenon is particularly present in China, but also in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. In China, the expression also has a double meaning.

For example, if “moonlight clan” is translated as it is in Mandarin, it also means “a group of people who spend everything they earn every month”.

More surprisingly, this phenomenon does not affect underprivileged young people who would not be able to finish their month end, but rather young executives, who have good salaries, around 2,000 dollars per month.

They spend everything on designer clothes, luxury goods, spa treatments, trendy restaurants and travel. They refuse to save, to hoard or to put aside money to buy an apartment that is too expensive per square meter anyway. It’s almost a philosophy. The exact opposite of what their parents did, who sacrificed themselves to save more and more.

An underlying trend

Recently, an online survey in Taiwan on the job search site Yes123 showed that 46% of young workers said they identified with this “moonlight clan” movement. A significant 26% of those surveyed said that they spend their entire salary every month, but in addition they were getting into debt to indulge themselves even more.

The macro-economic impact of this phenomenon on a national scale could be enormous, because, for example, these people do not buy houses or apartments. So the real estate market is going to have to adjust.

A large part of the moonlight clan will never have children. They have become accustomed to a life built around their person and do not want to “clutter up” with other humans. Already, there is a collapse of the birth rate in all these countries: Taiwan now has the lowest fertility rate on the planet.