One-in-four Canadians can’t afford Holiday season this year

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TORONTO, ON – The Grinch will make an appearance in Canada this holiday season according to a new national survey by the non-profit credit counselling agency, Credit Canada. The Reality Check Index, an Angus Reid study of 1,500 Canadians, reveals that one-in-four Canadians (24%) from coast-to-coast will have to forego holiday celebrations in a year where people have already been hard hit by the pandemic.

Additionally, one-in-five (21%) are not confident they will have a steady income over the next six months and 44 per cent are not confident they will be able to build savings over the next 12 months. In both scenarios, women are much less confident than men, with 22 per cent of women uncertain they’ll have a steady income (versus 16% of men) and almost half (48%) not confident they will build savings (versus 40% of men).

One-in-10 respondents are not confident they will be able to pay household bills, rent/mortgage over the next six months. Meanwhile, 14 per cent are not confident they will be able to keep up with debt payments (credit cards, lines of credit, auto loans, etc.).

“While the holiday season is undoubtedly going to look different this year, it’s not all doom and gloom, and in fact these numbers aren’t that shocking given the trying times we’re in,” said Keith Emery, Co-CEO of Credit Canada. “Nevertheless, we hope that as the economy continues to recover, Canadians’ confidence in their finances will also rebound.”

People are waiting until their debt “disappears”

When asked, given these unprecedented economic times, what their expectations were, a shocking one-in-five people (21%) expect their personal debts to disappear or be forgiven. An additional one-in-10 (9%) said they would not go back to work and instead rely on government supports.

Other findings from the Credit Canada Reality Check Index Study were as follows:

  • Eight-in-10 (81%) will make or resume regular debt payments
  • Eight-in-10 (81%) will put a budget in place
  • 76 per cent will take a “wait and see” approach before making any money decisions
  • Seven-in-10 will create an emergency fund

“Some Canadians are waiting for a miracle, or for the government to swoop in and magically resolve their debts for them,” said Emery. “But we must realize that this is our new reality, and must ask ourselves, how to best move forward from here.”

What does the future hold?

Looking forward, the survey also probed whether things would ever be “normal” economically. People were asked a series of “do you think you’ll ever” questions. Here were the findings:

  • One-in-five Canadians (21%) are not confident they will ever renew their faith in the country’s economy
  • One-in-four (24%) feel they will never meet their money saving goals
  • 14 per cent of respondents feel they will never get out of debt
  • One-in-10 (12%) feel they will never fully recover financially from COVID-19
  • Less than half of Canadians (46%) are confident they will renew their faith in the country’s economy while only six-in-10 (59%) feel they will eventually have a good credit rating.

“No matter what a person’s financial situation might be, it’s crucial for Canadians to be prepared as we come out of this bad dream,” said Emery, Co-CEO of Credit Canada. “And if you have debt, start tackling it now.”

The future is now

There are steps Canadians can take now to offset these difficult financial times. Credit Canada has pulled together trusted financial information as a safeguard against the noise and misinformation. See the COVID-19 Financial Resource Centre for more information.

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