Albertans were the most financially stressed Canadians in 2021, says a recent survey from insurer PolicyMe. (Black Press file photo)

Albertans were the most financially stressed Canadians in 2021, says a recent survey from insurer PolicyMe. (Black Press file photo)

Survey finds Albertans most financially stressed of all Canadians in 2021

Half of Albertans had more money worries in 2021 compared with 2020

Albertans are the most stressed about finances nation-wide, suggests a new report.

Half of Albertans (50 per cent) were more stressed about finances last year than 2020 among six Canadian regions, closely followed by the Prairie region (Saskatchewan and Manitoba) at 49 per cent and Atlantic Canada at 48 per cent, according to the Canadians and Money (2021-22) report by life insurance provider PolicyMe.

B.C. residents were the least stressed — at 37 per cent — followed by Ontario (38) and Quebec (41), says the survey of 1,500 Canadians.

Canada-wide, 42 per cent were more financially stressed last year than in 2020.

The top financial stressors for Albertans was groceries with 62 per cent picking that as their biggest source of angst. Forty-eight per cent picked gas and transportation costs, 33 per cent credit card payments, 17 per cent rent and 16 per cent mortgage interest rates.

Canada-wide, the top financial stressors were: groceries (59 per cent), gas and transportation (40 per cent), credit card payments (28 per cent), rent (24 per cent) and mortgage rates (15 per cent).

Just over half of those surveyed — 51 per cent — said they pulled money from savings or investments to cover unforeseen expenses. Albertans led the nation with 56 per cent saying they had to dip into savings.

Nation-wide the top financial priority for Canadians — 54 per cent — was having a sufficient emergency fund followed by paying down debt — 48 per cent.

In Alberta, paying down debt was the number one priority at 61 per cent, followed by building an emergency fund at 60 per cent.

Albertans also use the highest proportion of their income — 81.8 per cent — for spending rather than saving, although Canadians all over are in a similar boat. Ontario residents had the lowest proportion of using income for spending, but it was not far off Alberta at 77.9 per cent.

Polled on what expenses they expected to increase this year, 82 per cent of Albertans picked groceries, compared with 77 per cent nation-wide.

For Albertans, next was gas and transportation at 77 per cent, compared with 66 per cent nationally. Forty-six per cent of Albertans picked restaurants and dining out (36 per cent for Canada), 38 per cent travel (35 per cent) and clothing and apparel 40 per cent (32 per cent).

Despite the financial pressure many Canadians are feeling, 67 per cent reported feeling in control of their finances and 65 per cent called themselves financially resilient.

Forty-five per cent of Canadians regularly contribute to investments and savings and that contribution on average was 21 per cent of household income.



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