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Special Reports


Canadians losing sleep over their finances: RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook Index

Canadians' expectations for overall economic performance drop

TORONTO, April 1, 2010 — According to the March RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook Index, most Canadians (65 per cent) are losing sleep over their finances. More than one-in-four Canadians (27 per cent) are up at night worrying about paying off their debt, followed by nearly one-in-five (18 per cent) who worry about having enough for retirement and 16 per cent who worry about having no emergency fund. The survey also found that one-in-three (34 per cent) were not confident about any aspect of their financial situation.

More Canadians believe the national economy will worsen over the next 12 months (20 per cent in March compared to 13 per cent in February). Similar to last month's findings, Canadians are still divided on the overall state of the economy, but the balance remains in positive territory with 54 per cent of Canadians believing the economy is good and 46 per cent describing it as bad. Overall, the March RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook Index remained virtually flat at 108 points, down from 109 in February, suggesting Canadians see the overall economic recovery as a bumpy road ahead.

"For Canadians losing sleep over their finances, my advice is to prioritize those worries from biggest to smallest, and to create a step-by-step plan to tackle them," said David McKay, group head, Canadian Banking, RBC. "This is where professional advice can be invaluable. RBC has financial planners across Canada who can help develop a realistic plan with financial milestones that will get you back on the path to a good night's sleep."

Other national highlights include:

  • Job Anxiety: One-in-five Canadians (22 per cent) say that a member of their household is worried about losing their job or being laid off, down from one-in-four (25 per cent) last month. Job anxiety levels increased in British Columbia (29 per cent, up two percentage points) and Quebec (23 per cent, up six percentage points).

    Atlantic Canada remained unchanged at 24 per cent, while levels decreased in all other regions of the country. The lowest levels of job anxiety were in Manitoba and Saskatchewan (11 per cent, down two percentage points) and Ontario (20 per cent, down 10 percentage points).

  • Personal Financial Situation (Overall): The percentage of Canadians who think that their personal financial situation will improve in the next three months has climbed to 33 per cent in March, compared to 30 per cent in February. Looking ahead, 44 per cent of Canadians expect their personal economic situation to improve over the next year.

  • Interest Rates: More than two-thirds of Canadians (69 per cent) expect interest rates to go up in the next six months, up from 65 per cent in February. One-in-three Canadians (27 per cent) expect interest rates will remain unchanged over the same period.

"With solid consumer spending, historically low interest rates and improved credit markets, an economic recovery is underway. We forecast real GDP growth of 3.1 per cent for 2010," said Craig Wright, senior vice-president and chief economist, RBC. "However, Canadians may be worried about impending interest rate hikes and the strength of the Canadian dollar, which may be responsible for the slight drop in the Index and their weakening expectations of economic performance in both the short- and long-term."

Whether Canadians want to borrow with confidence, get more from their everyday banking, protect what's important, save and invest or take care of their businesses, the RBC Advice Centre www.rbcadvicecentre.com can help answer their questions. Advice videos are updated regularly to reflect current trends and to answer the questions that are top of mind with Canadians. Interactive tools and calculators provide customized information covering many facets of personal finance. With the guidance of RBC advisors who are available to chat live, Canadians have access to free, no-obligation professional advice about RBC products and services and personalized one-on-one service.

About The RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook Index
The RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook Index, benchmarked as of November 2009, is based on the results of an online survey of 1,020 Canadians, ages 18 and over, conducted by Ipsos Reid between March 9 and 15, 2010. This data represents the most timely and comprehensive snapshot of consumer attitudes regarding their finances and the economy in Canada. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100 per cent response rate would have an estimated margin of error of ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults in Canada been polled.

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For more information, please contact:
Suzanne Willers,
RBC Corporate Communications, (416) 974-2727

Matt Gierasimczuk,
RBC Media Relations, (416) 974-2124

Note to editors: The RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook Index will be moving to a quarterly publication, with an enhanced sample size and regional indices. The next RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook Index will be distributed in July.



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04/01/2010 08:41:47