More money means more problems for many top earners: survey

By Maddie Johnson | October 29, 2019 | Last updated on October 29, 2019
2 min read
Emotional Stress, Bankruptcy, Finance
© olegdudko / 123RF Stock Photo

High income earners aren’t necessarily doing well financially, according to the 2019 TD Financial Health Index, released by TD Bank Group on Tuesday. 

The national benchmarking survey painted a picture of Canadians’ financial well-being by polling more than 10,000 respondents on how they spend, save, borrow and plan and assigning them a financial health score. 

Those with scores of 0-39 were considered financially vulnerable, while those with scores ranging from 40-59 and 60-79 were considered to be “financially coping,” at a low and high level, respectively. Those with scores from 80-100 were classified as financially healthy. 

The report revealed that while just over 25% of Canadians are considered financially healthy, 40% are struggling with some or all aspects of their financial life. And those who are struggling aren’t necessarily low income earners.

The survey found that 18% of respondents with a high annual income (more than $150,000) had below-average financial health, “suggesting that a higher income does not always translate to good financial habits.”

Respondents who made financial decisions on their own had poorer financial health (62.9, on average) than those who made financial decisions jointly (66.4). Respondents with investment accounts and home equity lines of credit were more likely to have better financial health than those who did not.

TD also looked at regional differences and sociodemographic trends to help shed light on the financial conditions of people across the country.

Quebec was deemed the “healthiest” province, with an overall score of 67.1 out of 100. Alberta was the least healthy, with a score of 61.5.

Generally, people living in cities were more financially comfortable than those in rural areas, but there were still large discrepancies among cities across Canada. Quebec City and Halifax had the highest financial health, with overall scores of 70.7 and 67.6, respectively, while Windsor and Kitchener-Waterloo had the lowest, scoring 57.1 and 59.6, respectively. 

On average, women’s financial health was poorer than men’s. Women were less likely than men to feel confident in their ability to meet long-term savings goals (41% vs 49%), and three in 10 women underestimated their financial situation.

Financially vulnerable respondents were more likely to be LGBTQ2+, Indigenous or to have a disability. The survey found that half of the LGBTQ2+ community was either financially vulnerable or coping.

Read the full report.

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Maddie Johnson

Maddie is a freelance writer and editor who has been reporting for since 2019.