Can clients’ financial confidence last?

July 21, 2020 | Last updated on July 21, 2020
3 min read
senior couple worrying about their money situation
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Canadians’ confidence in their finances is on the rise, but they may need help establishing greater financial control, new research finds.

Financial confidence is up, says the midyear update to the annual IG Financial Confidence Index, released on Tuesday. The index tracks Canadians’ overall financial confidence based on six survey factors, such as the ability to pay off credit cards each month and feeling on track with financial goals.

Responses were measured on a five-point agreement scale (ranging from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”) and adjusted to a scale from zero to 100.

Financial confidence increased four points in the May survey relative to November 2019, reaching 60 from 56. Since the inaugural index result in November 2018, confidence was up one point.

In particular, Canadians reported feeling more optimistic and confident about securing their financial futures (up four points versus 2019), making good financial decisions (up five points) and meeting financial goals (up five points).

The positive results may reflect timing, with the survey being conducted after the initial surge in anxiety and job losses resulting from Covid-19, IG Wealth Management said in a release.

The survey also found that those who use financial advisors are more likely to have a stronger sense of financial confidence than those who don’t (with index scores of 66 versus 56, respectively).

A separate survey from bankruptcy firm MNP Ltd., conducted in June and released on Monday, also found that Canadians had an optimistic view of their finances.

Almost two-thirds of respondents (61%) said they’re confident they can afford their living expenses for a year without adding to their debt. Further, respondents had $148 more left at month’s end after paying bills compared to early March.

The MNP survey also found that the proportion of Canadians who said they’re $200 or fewer away from financial insolvency at month-end decreased seven points since early March, to 43%.

However, with the magnitude of Covid-19 and its economic impacts, insolvencies could rise in coming months.

“At best, we will likely see these numbers rapidly return to the baseline as federal subsidies and stimulus dollars dry up, creditors begin clawing back deferred payments, and consumers return to pre-pandemic spending levels,” said Grant Bazian, president of MNP, in a release.

The IG index found that, despite the financial optimism, Canadians felt a distinct loss of control.

Fewer than one-quarter (23%) of the IG survey respondents expected their personal financial situations to “improve significantly” or “improve somewhat,” versus 31% last year.

In the release, Jeff Carney, president and CEO of IG Wealth Management and IGM Financial, suggested steps for Canadians to gain a greater sense of control, including creating a financial plan, aligning risk and investments, creating a budget and establishing a rainy day fund.

For full details, read the IG Financial Confidence Index and the MNP survey.

For the IG Financial Confidence Index, Ipsos conducted an online survey from May 15 to May 20, 2020, using a sample of 2,605 respondents across Canada. The sample was weighted to ensure it was representative of Statscan census data. Respondents weren’t randomly sampled so the survey has no margin of error. Instead, the credibility interval for the survey of 2,605 respondents is ±2.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The index is part of IG Wealth Management’s community program dedicated to building Canadians’ financial confidence.

For the MNP survey, Ipsos conducted an online survey from June 1 to June 2, 2020, using a sample of 2,001 Canadians aged 18 and over. The sample was weighted to ensure it was representative of Statscan census data. The credibility error is ±2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.