Are Canadians finally getting over COVID’s financial impact?

Survey findings suggest rising confidence among younger Canadians, though rebound slower among women

Are Canadians finally getting over COVID’s financial impact?

As pandemic restrictions start loosening and an increasing share of the population gets vaccinated, a new survey from IG Wealth Management suggests that Canadians are slowly but surely regaining their financial optimism.

In the mid-year update to its annual Financial Confidence Index, conducted in partnership with Ipsos Canada, IG Wealth Management found that with an overall score of 54, the index is now four points higher than where it was in the same period last year, and four points higher above the three-year historical average of 50.

Younger Canadians between 18 and 34 years old were at the forefront of the trend. From lagging the national average throughout the crisis, sentiment among that cohort has bounced back in a big way to reach 59 points.

Drilling into the data, the findings found Gen Z and millennial respondents were more optimistic and confident than their cohorts in key areas, including:

  • Perceptions of the economy, both domestic (11 percentage points above the national average) and the global economy (10 percentage points higher than the national average);
  • Having a sense of control over their personal financial situation (17 percentage points above the national average); and
  • Financial literacy (16 percentage points above the national average).

Younger Canadians participating in the survey said they changed their spending habits – they spent less, and spent money on different things – during lockdown. The younger Canadians surveyed were also three times more likely than older Canadians to say their financial future is much clearer, and twice as likely to say they’re prepared for a financial emergency.

“As we begin to emerge from the pandemic, its great news that Canadians are feeling more upbeat about their finances,” said IG Wealth Management President & CEO Damon Murchison. “It’s especially encouraging to see younger Canadians, whose finances were hit hard by COVID, using the events of the past year as an opportunity to revisit their approach to managing their money.”

While both men and women were showing signs of rebounding from COVID’s financial repercussions, female survey participants appeared to be struggling more to do so. Aside from having a lower average index score than men (51 vs. 57 points), women were twice as likely to feel strongly anxious about their finances.

The survey also found hints of the pandemic’s outsized impact on women’s financial situation, with over half of the respondents (54%) saying they’ve faced at least one negative financial outcome due to the pandemic. That includes women who’ve faced a reduction in working hours (nearly one fifth of female participants), women without enough discretionary income (32%), and women who felt somewhat or much less prepared for an economic emergency (46%).

“We know that women were disproportionately negatively impacted by the pandemic, and this is clearly being reflected in their sense of financial confidence,” Murchison said.

The value of having a financial advisor shone through in the results, he noted. Women who have consulted one since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 had a markedly higher Index score (59) than those who did not (46).


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