Canadians have a mixed outlook of their personal finances: CPA Canada study

More than four in 10 (41 per cent) of survey participants believe their financial situation will improve over the next 12 months, according to a study conducted by Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada).

Toronto, November 1, 2018 – More than four in 10 (41 per cent) of survey participants believe their financial situation will improve over the next 12 months, according to a study conducted by Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada).

However, the research examining the behaviours and attitudes of Canadian adults also reveals that 11 percent of those surveyed are pessimistic about their finances while 45 percent think little will change and three percent don’t know what the future holds.

The CPA Canada 2018 Canadian Finance Study found that 74 per cent of the survey participants contribute to their savings on a monthly basis. For investments, the majority of those surveyed (63 per cent) have a savings account and 52 per cent have money in a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA). Of the TFSA investors, 66 per cent made contributions in 2017. Only nine percent of respondents indicated they have no investments or accounts at all.

Other key discoveries from the study:
  • Canadians are split in terms of how they view their overall personal financial skills with 48 per cent giving themselves a grade of B or higher and 49 percent grading themselves C or lower, with three percent unsure
  • 62 per cent have made cutbacks to day-to-day spending in the previous five years
  • Thirty-nine per cent indicate that a significant rise in interest rates would make it challenging to keep up on their mortgage and/or debt payments
  • Twenty-three per cent plan to carry over credit card debt to the following month
Forty-two per cent of respondents who are not already retired plan to work past 65 years of age – the top reason cited being unable to afford to retire. Of the Canadians surveyed, the most substantial personal financial concerns are saving for retirement (20 per cent) or managing debt (17 per cent).

“It’s welcome news to have a significant number of respondents expecting their financial situation to improve,” says Doretta Thompson, director, corporate citizenship, CPA Canada. “But while the vast majority of Canadians expect to be in the same or better financial position next year, there is still lingering anxiety among others about saving for the future and managing current debt. This highlights the importance of financial literacy education, in particular, around retirement saving and debt management.”
 
The research does address parents teaching their children about money. Sixty-one per cent of the survey participants with children reported doing just that in the past five years and 44 per cent of the parents believe they were successful in those efforts. In fact, almost half the parents surveyed, who have adult children, scored their child an eight or higher for money management skills.

Many parents are also looking out for the future education of their children. More than half of the respondents with children under 18 have invested money into a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP).

The CPA Canada research is timely with November being Financial Literacy Month in Canada.
 
Nielsen conducted the CPA Canada 2018 Canadian Finance Study via an online questionnaire, from September 27, 2018 and October 3, 2018, with 2,042 randomly selected Canadian adults, aged 18 years and over, who are members of their online panel. A background document can be found online at: cpacanada.ca/canadianfinancestudy2018.