Canada prides itself on being a nation of immigrants. But moving halfway across the world to settle in the Great White North is not easy – and many newcomers face huge obstacles once they get here. Financial and personal burdens are just two of the difficulties that must be overcome to truly succeed as a new Canadian.
A new report from BMO examined the struggle of new Canadians. The report lays out the top five challenges new Canadians face and finding a job was at the top of the list –
- 46% – Finding adequate employment
- 26% – Learning a new language
- 16% – Adapting to the weather
- 13% – Missing support from the homeland
- 11% – Financial constraints
Consolidated Credit Executive Director Jeff Schwartz, whose own ancestors immigrated to Canada from Russia, says starting a new life can be a daunting task –
“Packing up and moving to a new country is full of financial peril,” says Schwartz. “It’s clear that finding stable employment is a top challenge for new Canadians. I just hope that a prolonged period of unemployment doesn’t impact their ability to live debt free.”
The number of people in Canada who faced these obstacles is large. Statistics Canada says that in 2011, over 20% of Canadian residents were born in another country. Canada has the highest proportion of foreign-born residents among G8 countries.
“Immigration is important to Canada’s growth and future prosperity,” said Chris Buttigieg, Senior Manager, Wealth Planning Strategy, BMO Financial Group. “Starting a new life in Canada can be an exciting experience, but there are many unknowns and challenges to adapting to a new country. These include key financial considerations.”
Consolidated Credit provides tips for new Canadians to ensure they make a smooth financial transition to their wonderful new home –
Plan ahead – The story of the immigrant who became a great success after arriving in a new country with nothing but the shirt on his back are nice, but that shouldn’t be your financial strategy. Before coming to Canada, focus on how to save money at home so you can avoid taking on too much debt as you set up a new life in Canada.
Leave no stone unturned – Finding a job is the biggest hurdle that must be overcome. For many new Canadians, all the professional success they have had in their home countries can mean little in their new home. Do whatever it takes to get experience – even if it isn’t as glamourous as the work you had at home. This experience will lead to the next opportunity and will give you some financial breathing room during your transition to Canadian life.
When in Rome, don’t live like the Romans! – The average Canadian household is living under a mountain of debt. Canadians have many good qualities you may want to emulate, but debt is not one of them. Instead of spending to the point of needing debt relief, live well within your means until you find stable employment and build up a solid emergency fund. If you really want to live like a Canadian, take up hockey instead – and avoid the debt!
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 for a free debt analysis.