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A new survey finds money has topped the list as the biggest source of stress among Canadians, and as the cost of living continues to soar, many are increasingly concerned about their financial wellbeing for the long term.
The 2022 FP Canada Financial Stress Index, released Tuesday, found four in ten respondents reported money was their number one stressor – outranking other causes such as their health (21 per cent), job (19 per cent) and relationships (18 per cent).
The survey was conducted by Leger on behalf of FP Canada and polled 2,001 Canadians in April. FP Canada is a national entity that certifies professional financial planners.
Out of all the aspects of life that have become significantly more expensive, 68 per cent of respondents said they were feeling the pinch when its came to their grocery bill. The rising cost of food ranked higher than gas prices, housing and rental costs, and the cost of goods and services as having the biggest impact on their financial stress levels, the survey found.
This year’s results come as consumer prices surge at rates not seen in three decades. Statistics Canada said inflation jumped by 6.8 per cent in April year-over-year, and May’s inflation reading is expected to rise by even more.
There is a change in methodology coming in the latest round of inflation data, adding used car sales, which could send the index higher while not reflecting a change in existing price pressures.
Adding to the increasing cost of living, the Bank of Canada has been raising its benchmark interest rate to get inflation under control, leading to higher debt servicing costs and mortgage rates for many Canadians.
“There’s no way around it -- the combination of the prolonged pandemic, record-setting inflation and the growing cost of everything from a mortgage to a bag of milk is stressing Canadians out,” Kelly Ho, a certified financial planner and partner with Vancouver-based DLD Financial Group Ltd., said in a release on Tuesday.
With household budgets stretched, the survey found one in three Canadians said money stress has led to anxiety, depression or mental health challenges, with younger respondents being impacted more than older Canadians.
However, the results also showed more people are starting to take control of their finances. 44 per cent said they’re tracking their expenses, compared to just 34 per cent in 2021.
“While tracking expenses or creating a budget or financial plan won’t help bring down the prices at the pumps or produce stands, those efforts can have a significant positive impact on alleviating financial stress and helping the average Canadian stretch their dollars,” Ho said.