Canadians more optimistic than Americans

By Staff | January 25, 2012 | Last updated on January 25, 2012
2 min read

You can probably chalk it up to whether or not your financial market imploded, but Canadians are apparently twice as likely as Americans to view the present as a good time to make investments, according to surveys by Manulife Financial and its U.S. subsidiary John Hancock Financial.

The firms’ overall Investor Sentiment Index (ISI) readings are in positive territory on both sides of the border, with each rising five points at the end of last year. The Canadian ISI stands at +26, while the U.S. reading lags at +15.

“Growing consumer confidence is an important barometer when looking at the future health of the economy on either side of the border,” said Bill Cheney, chief economist for the companies. “Consumer confidence usually translates into increased spending, a critical component to keep their economies moving forward.”

On both sides of the border, most people are optimistic, with 55% of Canadians and 53% of Americans feeling they will be financially better off in two years time. Meanwhile 37% of Canadians and 38% of Americans expect to be in the same position, while 8% of Canadians and 9% of Americans expect to be worse off.

In both countries, the top financial concerns for 2012 are the same: declining investment values, ability to save for retirement, and managing personal debt.

One notable point of divergence comes in the use of financial advice, with 68% of Canadians saying they employed an advisor, compared to 53% of Americans.

Canadians were also more likely to prefer investing in their homes than Americans—no surprise there, as the Canadian housing market has yet to suffer the same decline as the American market.

Read: U.S. foreclosure activity lowest since 2007

Americans, for their part, had a stronger preference for balanced mutual funds than Canadians, and were less willing to hold cash. staff


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