Financial anxieties heightened by pandemic: survey

17% of Canadians need help with their finances

Some 27% of Canadians are anxious about their finances, according to the Credit Counselling Society’s 2020 Consumer Debt Report released Dec. 2.

“We know that many people never learned about money management growing up and the pandemic amplified the stresses and concerns that were already present,” society president Scott Hannah said.

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Even as the country continues to face uncertain times, 49% of respondents said they feel optimistic heading into 2021, while 21% expressed pessimism.

The top five areas of concern of those surveyed were cost of living expenses increasing (51%); economic factors being outside of a person’s control (e.g. COVID-19, economic downturn, housing market downturn, etc.) (50%); losing a job/source of income (24%), debt levels increasing/becoming unmanageable (22%) and not having enough to pay bills (20%). Twelve percent said they had no concerns.

However, the report said, there’s a disconnect between how Canadians are managing their money and their openness to receiving support.

Some 86% said they could improve on at least one aspect of financial management and planning such as maintaining emergency savings, saving for retirement or making monthly bill payments.

Only 17% of Canadians said they needed help with their finances.

The study found 64% of Canadians are carrying non-mortgage debt. And, of those, 54% feel anxious about that debt, 51% feel frustrated and 28% are unbothered by it.

“The perception that they don’t need financial help is the primary barrier for indebted Canadians reaching out,” the survey report said. “Canadians need to understand the ways that financial advice can benefit them to overcome this barrier.”

“Heading into 2021, we expect many Canadians to be faced with difficult decisions about their finances and spending habits due to the impacts of COVID-19,” society director Isaiah Chan said. “As a society, we must work together to reduce the longstanding stigmas around talking about our finances, and encourage Canadians to reach out for help.”

jhainsworth@glaciermedia.ca

@jhainswo

 

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