Facing multiple dilemmas, such as mounting debt, a weakening economy, and the rising cost of living, many Canadians are hard pressed to meet their financial obligations. According to the Canadian Payroll Association’s eighth annual Research Survey of Employed Canadians (released ahead of National Payroll Week), a significant portion of the working population is living from pay cheque to pay cheque.
The online research survey polled more than 5,600 employees from across the country and from a wide range of industry sectors. Almost half (48%) of respondents said they rely on each payday to cover their bills, and 40% of respondents said they spend all or more than their net pay. Meanwhile, 47% of respondents said they were able to save just 5% or less of their earnings.
When it comes to meeting emergencies, many are unprepared. Twenty-four percent of employees said they were unlikely to come up with $2,000 if an emergency situation arose in the next month.
Household income growth has stalled, and respondents reporting household income above $100,000 have hardly increased in the last five years. More worryingly, real incomes have actually declined when inflation is taken into account. Coupled with increased expenditure and rising debt levels, it’s no wonder so many Canadians are anxious about their finances.
“A significant percentage of working Canadians carry debt, have a gloomy view of their local economy and are fearful of rising interest rates, inflation, and costs of living," stated Patrick Culhane, the CPA’s president and chief executive officer. Most respondents (93%) carry debt, and the most common types of debt are mortgages (26%), credit cards (18%), car loans (17%), and lines of credit (16%).
Culhane noted that people need to take charge of their finances by saving more. Using the “pay yourself first” principle, working professionals should direct at least 10% of their net pay into separate savings accounts or retirement plans, enabling them to exercise greater control over their financial future.
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