Glass half-full, glass half-empty


It’s not enough to warrant a fight on the ice, but Canadians are in disagreement over the health of the Canadian economy. A recent survey of Canadian consumer confidence by the Nielsen Consumer Insights Group found the conflicting results when they asked over 2,000 Canadians a variety of questions about the economy.

The results were as follows:

Yes No
Will you be in a better financial position a year from now? 24% 13%
Will the Canadian economy be better a year from now? 15% 15%
Will the Canadian economy be better in five years? 45% 39%
Is now a good time to make a major purchase? 49% 30%
Are you better off now than you were a year ago? 17% 22%

Jeff Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, says the results depict a feeling of uncertainty among Canadians:

“There’s a lot of worry among ordinary Canadians about their future financial well-being,” says Schwartz. “Due to this uncertainty, we should be focusing on saving and building up an emergency fund to get us through any hard times that may arise.”

Schwartz continued, “The personal savings rate in Canada has dropped to around 5%. Canadians are dipping into their savings to fund their lifestyles and this is a dangerous game. Increasing savings, and decreasing spending, is the best way to ensure a stable financial future for you and your family.”

Gaetan Ruest, Vice-President of Product and Corporate Research at Investors Group, took the opposite viewpoint:

“Canadians appear to be satisfied with what they are seeing from the economy as well as in their personal financial lives,” says Ruest. “This helps create a positive environment for sound financial decision making in the short and longer term.”

Consolidated Credit offers the following tips to Canadians, whether they are worried about the future or not, to ensure their own financial success:

  • Spend responsibly – Taking on debt to fund a lavish lifestyle can leave you one unexpected event away from serious financial pain. Credit card debt can be a burden when dealing with a loss or reduction in income. Avoiding debt by spending responsibly is the best strategy for financial success.
  • Debt management Continue to attack the debts that you have. Carrying debt for years and years only results in large amounts of money being directed to interest payments and away from your savings. Paying off what you owe will leave you with extra money each month that would normally be used to service your debts.
  • Build an emergency fund – Direct a portion of your earnings into a special savings account. This money will be extremely useful if you experience a job loss or a reduction in income. Without this buffer, you will be in danger of taking on an increased debt load to fund your lifestyle.

If you want to learn more about making responsible financial decisions, check out Consolidated Credit’s free Personal Finance educational section. If you’re struggling with debt, call one of our trained counsellors today at 1-888-294-3130 for a free debt analysis.

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