RBC poll finds that many Canadians not financially prepared
for an economic downturn
TORONTO, May 21, 2008 — Despite the current
volatile economic environment, only a quarter (22 per cent)
of Canadians are saving more than they did before, according
to a new Account Habits poll released today by RBC. In fact,
43 per cent of respondents are maintaining their current spending
habits while one fifth (20 per cent) are spending more.
"One need only look at the newspapers or television
to see that North America is in an economic downturn,"
said Ashif Ratanshi, senior vice-president, RBC Branch Investments
and Banking. "This is the time for Canadians to re-assess
their own finances and ensure they are effectively managing
their money so that they can withstand any sudden pitfalls
or changes in their lives."
One of the poll's key findings was that on average most
Canadians do not believe they are good savers. In fact, the
majority (83 per cent) are worried they don't have enough
money saved, and 86 per cent feel that they can't save as
much as they would like. Less than one half of Canadians (49
per cent) have a rainy day account set up for an emergency.
Of those that do, 55 per cent have only enough saved to cover
one-month's worth of expenses, while 24 per cent have three-month's
worth of expenses covered.
Many Canadians are also not prepared to cope with an unexpected
long-term emergency or sudden life-changing event. Surprisingly,
sixty-five per cent of respondents consider their line of
credit and credit cards to be their backup in case of an emergency,
while 60 per cent of the more than one million Canadians who
keep $1,000 or more in their bank account each month, consider
that money to be their safety net.
Even though the poll found that being financial prepared
for an emergency is a priority for many Canadians, it only
ranks fifth out a list of nine priorities. In fact, Canadians
rank saving for retirement, paying down debt, paying down
one's mortgage faster and saving for children's education
ahead of saving for an emergency. As well, a third of respondents
agreed that they do a poor job at putting money aside for
So how do Canadians spend their pay check? Almost two-thirds
(63 per cent) allocate some towards household bills, rent/mortgage
and other regular monthly purchases and the rest goes to savings;
34 per cent spend it all on living expenses like bills; rent/mortgage
and food with nothing left over; and only three per cent are
able to put their entire salary into savings.
"In looking at the results from the poll, it is clear
that many Canadians need to make a plan or budget to help
them achieve their financial priorities," said Mr. Ratanshi.
"Small changes such as finding the right bank account,
paying off debt quickly or arranging for monthly withdrawals
into a GIC or other investment can help Canadians optimize
These are some of the findings of an RBC poll conducted by
Ipsos Reid between March 13 and March 18, 2008. This online
survey of 2,020 adult Canadian bank account holders was conducted
via the Ipsos I-Say Online Panel, Ipsos Reid's national online
panel. The results are based on a sample where quota sampling
and weighting are employed to balance demographics and ensure
that the sample's composition reflects that of the actual
Canadian population according to Census data.
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Beja Rodeck, 416-974-5506
For full tabular results, please see the Ipsos Reid website