Personal Finance

Personal Finance

Young Canadians Spend 12 Hours a Week Worrying About their Finances: Scotiabank Poll

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Young Canadians are losing sleep thanks to financial worries, according to Scotiabank — and the country’s red-hot housing market doesn’t exactly help. 

In a climate of pandemic-inspired uncertainty and rising costs of living, financial worry eats up a lot of precious time, says the bank. This is especially true for young people with a lot of living left to do. 

Scotiabank’s newly released Worry Poll reveals notable generational differences amongst Canadians in time spent worrying about their finances. The poll found that Gen Z and Millennials spend six hours more worrying about their finances (12 hours) compared to older Canadians 55+ (six hours).

The poll — which involved an online survey of 1,521 randomly-selected Canadian adults in October — found that 41% of Canadians aged 18-34 ranked finances as their second-highest stress point, behind only the rising cost of living (50%); this means higher than not only their own physical health (30%), but the physical health of their loved ones as well (36%).

That’s not to say that the middle-aged and older set isn’t free of financial woes. In fact, the poll revealed that 75% of Canadians are worried about their finances. On average, Canadians are worrying about their finances 10 hours a week, or the equivalent of three weeks a year, up 25% from 2020. A third of Canadians, or 32%, say worrying about their finances literally keeps them awake at night. 

“More Canadians are being kept up at night with questions like, how they’re going to own a home, will they have enough to pay for their children’s education, and if they’ll have enough for retirement,” said D’Arcy McDonald, Senior Vice President, Deposits, Investments & Payments at Scotiabank. 

According to the poll, Canadians’ top financial concerns involve growing or protecting their investments (19%), being able to pay for day-to-day expenses (15%), and paying off debt (13%). 

Contributing to their retirement is also an increasing source of concern for Canadians, with 12% now worried about planning for their retirement — up from 8% in 2020. Personal finance ranks fourth (33%) on Canadians’ list of items they are most stressed about, only behind the rising cost of living (52%) and the respondents’ own physical health (45%).

Not surprisingly, the survey results show that Canadians with lower household incomes spend significantly more time worrying about their finances. According to results, households with an income of less than $50,000 spend an average of 14 hours a week worrying about their finances, compared to households with incomes of $100,000 or more, who “only” spend an average of six hours a week worrying about finances.

The poll also found discrepancies between provinces. Those living in Western Canada reported spending around an average of 12 hours a week worrying about their finances. This is a stark contrast to those in Quebec who spend an average of just seven hours, and those in Ontario who spend an average of nine.

Residents in Alberta (60%) and the Atlantic (62%) were the most likely to say they are particularly stressed about the rising cost of living, while those in Manitoba and Saskatchewan were less likely (43%). Almost half of Albertans surveyed (45%) ranked their finances among the top three concerns causing them the most stress.

Despite the significant amount of time spent worrying about finances, 63% say they have not worked with a financial advisor in the last 12 months. In January, however, Scotiabank will be unveiling new tools to help Canadians better manage their finances (and get a better night’s sleep).

At the end of the day, whether it’s six or fourteen hours spent consumed with financial worry each week, that’s precious time one can’t get back. 

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