Doctor's orders: Speak to your financial advisor

FPSC report says financial stress is increasing

Doctor's orders: Speak to your financial advisor
Steve Randall

There’s a growing epidemic of stress among Canadians concerned about the state of their finances.

A survey from the Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) reveals that 41% say their finances are their greatest source of stress and more than half say they feel embarrassed by their lack of control over their financial situation.

The survey updates a similar one from 2014 and reveals that financial stress is increasing.

“Many people feel like they have no control over their financial situation, whether because fretting about money has become an ingrained habit, or as a result of not having a solid plan in place regarding what they bring in and how they manage it," said author, personal finance educator and FPSC's Consumer Advocate, Kelley Keehn.

Can’t keep up with the Joneses

For many, keeping up with the financial status of their friends or family is a big worry. A quarter overall, and 52% of millennials, said this.

The stressful state of their finances keeps many Canadians awake at night with the survey revealing 48% say they have lost sleep due to financial worries. Women, 18-34 year olds, and those in Manitoba and Saskatchewan are most likely to say so.

83% of Canadians have at least one financial regret, with wishing they had saved and invested more money at the top of the list, followed by wishing they had bought real estate or land.

What the doctor says

With stress over finances, as with other causes, having a negative impact on overall wellbeing, health professionals recommend dealing with the problem rather than letting it fester.

"Money is inextricably interwoven into all aspects of our lives, and managing it effectively is a modern survival skill," said Dr. Moira Somers, Ph.D., C.Psych, a clinical neuropsychologist specializing in mental and financial well-being.

"So, when things are not going well for us financially, we tend to use up a great deal of our brainpower finding solutions or ways out of our dilemma. If the stress is prolonged, it can be quite exhausting, and can even cause temporary reductions in IQ and problem-solving abilities,” adds Dr Somers.

She suggests speaking to a finance professional to gain clarity about a current financial situation and what can be done to improve it.