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News   March 27, 2024   by Adam Malik

What Canadians are prioritizing with their finances

Scotiabank’s fifth Worry Poll has unveiled Canadians’ complex feelings about their financial situations, revealing a landscape of both concern and resilience.

While the overall time spent worrying about finances has decreased, those who do worry are spending more hours than before, averaging 17.7 hours, with the main concerns being day-to-day expenses (50 per cent), debt reduction (40 per cent), and emergency savings (40 per cent).

Nearly a quarter of Canadians (23 per cent) anticipate an improvement in their personal finance situation over the next six months.

“Despite a small percentage of Canadians feeling cautiously optimistic, the majority are still experiencing significant financial stress,” said Kingsley Chak, senior vice president of deposits, savings and investments at Scotiabank, highlighting the dual nature of current financial attitudes. “However, it’s promising to see proactive steps being taken to seek financial advice,” he said.

The poll also spotlighted Gen Z’s proactive approach to managing finances, engaging in cost-saving measures more than older generations. Notably, 42 per cent of Gen Z shoppers compare prices at multiple grocery stores, and 43 per cent redeem loyalty points, significantly higher than the figures for Boomers. Both Gen Z and Millennials are heavily reliant on their financial institutions for advice on investment, financial management, and tuition payments, with around a quarter having extra money to invest.

Chak expressed optimism about the proactive stance of younger Canadians. “We’re encouraged by the optimism of younger generations and their eagerness to seek financial advice.”

The report also provides a geographical perspective on financial stress across Canada, indicating that financial concerns vary by region. Ontarians (35 per cent) report the highest levels of financial stress, attributed to the high cost of living, followed by Atlantic Canada (27 per cent) and Manitoba/Saskatchewan (26 per cent). In contrast, Quebecers report the lowest levels of financial stress (14 per cent).

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