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Are You Living Paycheque to Paycheque?

29 May 2013

According to a new survey conducted for the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada, over one-third of Canadians say that after they’ve paid their monthly bills, there’s almost no money left. And of those Canadians living paycheque to paycheque, Ontario sees the most.

The survey was done to see how comfortably people are living, and if they’re able to save up any money during a typical month, and pay bills at the same time. The results are somewhat shocking, showing that 29 per cent of people in the country are living paycheque to paycheque. In the best case scenario for these households it means breaking even. In the worst, it means they’re going into debt.

One of the biggest reasons for that, says Rock Lefebvre who co-authored the study, is because people feel as though their incomes just aren’t enough in today’s world of consumerism and high, high prices.

“They felt that their incomes were not keeping pace with the cost of living,” he says.

Of that number, 26 per cent of respondents across the country said that they had nothing left over at the end of the month to save. But Ontario was even higher, with 34 per cent of respondents here saying that there was nothing extra after paying bills.

“Ontarians struggle more in actually accumulating wealth and being satisfied with the results of that accumulation,” says Elena Simonova, who also co-authored the study.

Across the nation as a whole though that number spikes, with two-thirds of households saying that they don’t expect their situation to improve at all. And both authors of the study pointed towards consumer consumption as being one of the biggest barriers for Canadians to accumulate wealth.

“This consumption pattern that has emerged over the last decade…is playing havoc with people’s ability to save,” says Lefebvre. “Because of the low interest rates coupled with the behaviour of borrowing, people are possibly buying homes and cars that are a little more expensive than what they would typically be able to afford.”

But, he says, now is the time for Canadians to change that behaviour and see how interest rates can help them – even when they’re not out making huge purchases.

“This is a beautiful time to get ahead with these low interest rates,” he says. “But people just seem to be living the life rather than making the sacrifice to get rid of this debt while it’s low interest and come out of it on the bright side.”

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