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New CPA Canada Study Highlights Financial Challenges, Strengths During Period of Uncertainty


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A new study from the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) shows great variations in how Canadians are coping and even succeeding during this unprecedented time.

Overall, Canadians are feeling confident about their knowledge and skills regarding their personal finances. Sixty-seven per cent of the survey respondents feel somewhat or very confident about saving for their child’s post-secondary education, 78 per cent believe they can stick to a budget and 81 per cent feel they can successfully manage their debts.

CPA Canada’s comprehensive Canadian Finance Study 2020 explores people’s attitudes and feelings towards their personal finances. The results being unveiled during Financial Literacy Month in Canada, highlight the new financial realities that Canadians are experiencing during the fallout from COVID-19.

“There’s no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has increased financial difficulties and concerns for many Canadians,” says Doretta Thompson, CPA Canada’s Financial Literacy Leader. “Providing financial literacy information is essential in these unsettled times as it can assist individuals and families in making smart decisions to successfully manage their financial wellbeing.”

How Canadians Are Saving

Interestingly, the study found that in the past five years, almost half (49 per cent) of the respondents have modified their savings strategy. The research also shows that a significant number of those surveyed are serious about their savings planning, with 63 per cent holding a savings account, 60 per cent investing into a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA), and 53 per cent contributing to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan or Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP/RSP).

Planning For the Future – Retirement

Despite today’s uncertainty, Canadians are continuing to plan for their futures. Nearly one in four of the pre-retired Canadians (24 per cent) are planning to retire in 25 years or later, with the same proportion working to retire sometime in the next 10 years.

According to their current plans, 32 per cent plan to work after the age of 65, even if it’s just on a part-time basis, with 43 per cent of those planning to work past 65 indicating that it is because they cannot afford to retire. Sixty per cent of respondents have put money aside for retirement in the past five years and nearly half (46 per cent) have spoken to a financial advisor about their retirement savings.

Budgets and Spending

Canadians continue to prioritize budgeting to stay on track for current and future goals. In the past five years, 61 per cent of respondents cut back on day-to-day spending, while about half of the participants (49 per cent) have developed a household budget. Many are successfully watching their spending habits, with the vast majority (86 per cent) of those with household budgets saying they usually or always stick to their budget.

“It’s encouraging to see many Canadians taking action to stay afloat during the fiscal turmoil of today but also looking to the future,” said Thompson. “Our country’s challenge is to ensure every Canadian has the knowledge and means to be financially secure.”

To access CPA Canada financial literacy resources, visit: cpacanada.ca/financialliteracy.

Survey Methodology

Nielsen conducted the CPA Canada 2020 Canadian Finance Study via an online questionnaire, from September 4 to 16 2020, with 2,008 randomly selected Canadian adults, aged 18 years and over, who are members of their online panel. A background document can be found online at: cpacanada.ca/financialliteracy. For specific information about COVID-19, please refer to our earlier Canadian Finance Study 2020 news release.

About CPA Canada

The Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation is used by more than 220,000 professional accountants around the world. Canadian CPAs are valued for their financial and tax expertise, strategic thinking, business insight, management skills and leadership. Canadian CPAs serve in senior roles in Canada and abroad and are recognized as having the highest standards of professionalism and integrity. They work in all sectors of the economy: public practice, industry, government, not for profit and academia. cpacanada.ca

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