Cautious Canadians defer big spending despite better finances

Angus Reid survey shows that most Canadians say their finances have improved since April

Cautious Canadians defer big spending despite better finances
Steve Randall

The grim outlook for personal finances seen in April, at the height of the pandemic, has eased slightly.

But cautious Canadians are in no rush to start spending on large purchases, fearing that the economy and labour market could present challenges in the months ahead.

A new survey from Angus Reid Institute shows that the share of respondents reporting that their personal financial situation is “good” or “great” has risen to 80% (from 73% in early April) but one in five still rates their finances as in “bad” or “terrible” shape.

Among the third of Canadians that have received employment insurance or the CERB benefit, 30% say they are barely treading water.

Deferred spending
Two thirds of those polled said that they have cut back on non-essential spending during the pandemic and 56% say that the next 12 months is unlikely to be a good time for a large purchase such as a home or car.

The share of those with this view increases to two thirds among households with incomes of $50,000 or less.

Three in ten respondents said they have lost work as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and this cohort is three times more likely to say they are having a financial difficulty than those who have not lost work.

Younger Canadians are slightly more likely to have lost work and those in Alberta leads the country for reduced employment.

A separate poll shows that Canadians fear that a second wave of COVID-19 would be more damaging than the first.