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Unexpected $1,000 expense too much for most Canadians under 55: new survey


Many Canadians “lack a financial cushion” according to a new Angus Reid survey, which found majority of respondents under 55 could not handle an unexpected expense of more than $1,000.

“As housing costs continue to rise from this period of high interest rates, renters and mortgage holders feel squeezed,” the Angus Reid survey said.

This financial concern is compounded by half of those surveyed in the same age group, worrying about losing their jobs.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Canadians report thinner financial cushion than two years ago
  • Most renters, mortgage holders could not manage sudden $1,000 expense
  • 2 in 5 respondents typically don’t contribute to TFSA or RRSP
  • Half of those under 55 worry of job loss
  • Likely Conservative Party of Canada voters more stressed about money, potential job loss

Women aged 35 to 54 years old are most likely to report they can’t manage any unplanned bills, with a quarter saying they are “already too stretched” financially.

40 per cent of people told the survey they are not contributing to their Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) or Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) because “they don’t have enough to save.”

‘Break the bank’

Higher interest rates are putting a strain on mortgage holders, with 29 per cent saying an unexpected $250 expense “would break the bank.”

John Lock, the director of marketing at Credit Counselling Society, a non-profit organization that provides financial advice to indebted Canadians, said his office has been flooded with calls this January.

“It has been busier that the last few years for sure,” Lock told CTV News. “The folks that we’re seeing are just overwhelmed with the costs that are bearing down on them.”

Lock says the combination of high food, gasoline, housing and debt servicing costs are squeezing household budgets.

“With folks not able to pay for their expenses or repay their lines of credit we’re seeing higher delinquency rates,” he said.

The Angus Reid survey goes on to say that the “Bank of Canada’s campaign against high inflation appears to have at least decelerated the rising cost of living.”

As the economy slows, the independent research company says there is evidence Canadians are anticipating a recession with “further dips in spending and job losses.”

Half of survey respondents under 55 fear they, or someone in their household, will lose their jobs.

“The last time fear of job loss was this high was during the uncertainty of the beginning of the second year of the pandemic,” the survey said.

The online survey reached a representative randomized 1,620 Canadian adults on January 16 and 17. A sample of this size would carry a margin error of +/-2 percentage points, Angus Reid said. Top Stories

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