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Canadians lacking confidence in their finances

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(Special) – Many Canadians, it seems, are having a crises of confidence when it comes to their personal finances.

A recent study by IG Wealth Management found that nearly half (43 per cent) of Canadians admit they feel anxious when thinking about their finances, and of those 81 per cent are concerned that the money they have or save won’t last their lifetimes.

The study found that 33 per cent of Canadians have low confidence in their finances and another 31 per cent rate their confidence level at medium. Further, one in three Canadians admits that they have not tried hard enough to manage their finances and one in five admits they actually avoid thinking about their personal finances.

Among Canadians with low financial confidence 51 per cent said they haven’t tried hard enough to manage their finances, 79 per cent said they feel anxious when they think of their finances, 30 per cent believe they have the ability to manage their money and only 49 per cent say they can enjoy life because of the way they are managing their finances.

Conversely, of those Canadians who have high financial confidence 87 per cent say they put effort into managing their finances and regularly review their financial accounts, and 90 per cent believe they can enjoy life because of the way they are managing their money.

“The results demonstrate that Canadians’ confidence in their financial future is directly proportional to their self-assessed level of effort at managing their finances, “says Sebastien Dallaire, senior vice-president of Ipsos Canada, which conducted the study in October last year. “Data also shows that those who got professional advice are more confident and less anxious.”

Court Elliott, IG Wealth Management’s vice-president of corporate communications, sponsorship and community, believes Canadians’ anxiety about their finances could be even higher now than when the survey was conducted because of recent declines in financial markets.

“The results show that Canadians need to get back to basics and get professional advice and help,” Elliott said in an interview. “There’s a lot of financial information out there on the internet, but there is so much that it may be a case of information overload for a lot of people. There’s really nothing that can take the place of human contact and face-to-face interaction with a professional.”

The study, which the company calls the IG financial confidence index, is the first part of an on-going initiative called Empower Your Tomorrow that IG Wealth hopes will enhance financial literacy and education of four main groups of Canadians — Indigenous peoples, new Canadians, seniors, and youth.

The company has partnered with the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education to produce a financial textbook for high school students and teachers, which it soon plans to make available online.

It puts on seminars for new Canadians and Indigenous Canadians in their local communities. It also is partnering with the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada to raise money for Alzheimer’s awareness, and offers free seminars about the costs and financial impact of caregiving for families of people living with Alzheimer’s.

“Financial education through existing channels is not working as well as it could,” Elliott says. “No one is really doing as great a job as they could. There still are many great opportunities to help improve Canadians’ level of financial knowledge. There’s still a lot to do.”

Talbot Boggs is a Toronto-based business communications professional who has worked with national news organizations, magazines and corporations in the finance, retail, manufacturing and other industrial sectors.

Copyright 2019 Talbot Boggs

Talbot Boggs , The Canadian Press

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