Living paycheque to paycheque

A recent survey conducted for the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada indicates one-third of Canadian households over the past year never or almost never had enough money left over after paying essential expenses.

The poll also shows that 25 per cent of Canadian households said they have never or almost never made savings contributions.

And it found that the household savings rate has plummeted to 3.8 per cent at the end of 2012 from a peak of 19.9 per cent in the early 1980s.

For those Canadians who are building up a nest egg, 80 per cent say they may consume at least part of it in the next three years.

Other findings:

  • The two most-often cited reasons for not being able to accumulate wealth are current income level and having to honour other financial obligations.
  • One quarter – 26 per cent – of households polled say they don't usually monitor any of the key external factors that could have an effect on their wealth.
  • Some 28 per cent of households holding financial instruments say they monitor the performance of their investments only once a year or more seldom.
  • One fifth – 21 per cent – of mortgage holders increased the amount of mortgage payments or made lump sum contributions to pay off their mortgage faster over the past year.
  • The proportion of debt in total household assets soared to 20.2 per cent at the beginning of 2009 from 16.5 per cent at the beginning of 2007; it has hovered at the 20 per cent level ever since.