Abundance of financial advice doesn’t solve confusion for Canadians

New Scotiabank poll paints a picture of the different sources of financial advice for everyday Canadians

Abundance of financial advice doesn’t solve confusion for Canadians

Even with multiple sources of financial education and advice to guide investors, the financial world has gotten more complicated and complex for 81% of Canadians than it was five years ago, according to new Scotiabank research.

According to the poll, the rapid pace of change has only added to feelings of insecurity for 75% of Canadians who were asked. Despite the uncertainty, 77% of Canadians believe they are well-prepared to make personal money and investment decisions – with notable exceptions.

Real estate, digital investing, and emerging technologies like cryptocurrencies and NFTs leave most people feeling uninformed, making them the top areas of personal finance that Canadians find most puzzling or require assistance with.

Canadians are substantially less confidence in making real estate (38%) and direct investment decisions (30%). These percentages drop dramatically among women, to 29% and 19%, respectively.

Meanwhile, nearly 70% of Canadians in the poll admitted to having "no idea" of blockchain technology like cryptocurrency and NFTs.

"We're in a moment of unprecedented change. There's never been more information coming our way — but not all of it is helpful," Laura Curtis Ferrera, CMO of Scotiabank, said. "Since each person's financial reality looks a little different, good advice should never be one-size-fits-all.”

Over 54% of Canadians claim to have received bad financial advice at some point in their lives. At the same time, one out of every five Canadians admit to offering financial advice to a friend or family member without the knowledge to back it up.

More than a third of Canadians (39%) engage with a financial professional for good, reliable financial guidance. Parents (21%), spouses (16%), and friends (16%) are other cited providers of “good” financial guidance (15 %). Tellingly, 27% of Canadian adults under 35 say they look to their horoscope for “good” financial guidance, while 27% say they turn to Google.

For a third of Canadians, social media sites provide the worst financial advice (34%). For other respondents, the worst advice is dispensed by friends (14%) and search engines (16%).

The survey also found around three fifths of Canadians say they are comfortable making financial decisions around more familiar investing tools like TFSAs (61%) and RRSPs (58%).