Majority say debt cripples saving

By Staff | April 25, 2014 | Last updated on April 25, 2014
2 min read

Sixty percent of Canadians say their current debt level doesn’t allow them to save as much as they’d like, with 31% unable to save at all, according to a poll commissioned by a group of credit unions including Credit Union Atlantic.

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The study finds that while more than 68% of Canadians believe the income earners in their household exhibit good saving habits, this doesn’t necessarily mean they can find ways to save each month.

In fact, half of Canadians are unable to put money into a savings account each month; and according to Statistics Canada the average household owes $1.63 for every dollar in disposable income earned.

Parents recognize that instilling the value of savings at an early age is important, with 86% wishing financial institutions would take a more proactive role in educating youth about savings and debt. Overall, 73% of Canadians agree financial institutions have a responsibility to help Canadians improve their financial future.

Other key findings:

  • More than half (53%) say savings and debt are equal financial priorities for their household, although more Canadians (27%) prioritize reducing debt exclusively to increasing savings (20%).
  • Only four in ten (40%) set and follow a budget, and only 29% discuss their finances with a financial advisor.
  • 61% of parents say they wish they had learned the importance of saving at a younger age.
  • 94% of parents say that if Canadian youth are taught about savings at an early age it will lead to better financial management practices in the future.

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  • Only 44% of parents speak with their children about money, finances, budget and savings, with only 16% involving their children in money management decisions. One in five (19%) do none of these.
  • 67% of parents state their child do not save any money each month.
  • When it comes to specific things financial institutions can do to help Canadians and their children adopt better financial management habits, providing specific banking products for children that encourage good habits (62%) and providing new and innovative banking products that focus on people, not profits for the bank (59%) rise to the top.
  • When it comes to rating which financial institutions are good at currently helping Canadians improve their financial well-being, credit unions edge out banks and other institutions. Canadians rate credit unions (70%) as good at helping them improve their financial well-being, ahead of banks (66%) and other financial institutions (61%).

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The staff of have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.