Almost two years into the global pandemic, CIBC’s annual Financial Priorities poll finds that debt repayment is the number one goal for Canadians for 2022 (20 per cent), while economic worries are focused on inflation (66 per cent), followed by uncertainty due to COVID-19 (36 per cent).
With the rising costs of everyday items top-of-mind for many, among Canadians who say they took on more debt in 2021, 37 per cent said it was because expenses exceeded their monthly income. In the face of these concerns, only a quarter of respondents (27 per cent) expect their financial situation will improve next year.
“It’s understandable that Canadians are concerned about the economy in 2022, but what’s important is to have their personal financial house in order, if goods, services and carrying debt are going to cost more,” said Carissa Lucreziano, Vice-President, CIBC Financial and Investment Advice. “Although a number of Canadians do not feel their finances will get better in 2022, most have not had a planning session with their financial advisor in the last year. Making that a New Year’s resolution can help Canadians manage their financial expectations – and any surprises – in 2022.”
When asked what financial wellness means to them, 47 per cent of respondents say living without financial stress, and also said it was a top descriptor for overall wellness (28 per cent). Four in ten (41 per cent) feel financial wellness comes from being able to afford what they need in life, such as housing, food, or transportation. Half (50 per cent) admit that they wish they were better at saving, while a similar number of Canadians agree that they need to get a better handle on their finances this coming year (49 per cent).
“It is imperative to seek ways to mitigate financial stress, as it’s clearly a key factor in overall wellness. Having a plan to reach your long term ambitions and a clear understanding of your monthly cash flow can significantly reduce stress, which is why we recommend seeking the help of a financial expert who can implement a plan to alleviate these pressures and get people on track to achieve their ambitions,” added Lucreziano.
Additional findings from the 2021 December Financial Priorities poll:
- Other top financial priorities for 2022 are growing investments (16 per cent) and simply keeping up with bills (15 per cent).
- Common secondary financial goals for 2022 include saving as much as possible/growing an emergency fund (28 per cent), avoiding taking on more debt (26 per cent), saving for a vacation/travel (17 per cent), reducing discretionary spending (17 per cent), and saving for retirement (16 per cent).
- 80 per cent of Canadians expect that their financial goals will remain the same once the pandemic is over.
- When it comes to wellness, work-life balance is also important, with seven in ten (70 per cent) believing that maintaining a healthy work-life balance is now more important than ever.
- 40 per cent of homeowners and 31 per cent of non-homeowners are worried about rising interest rates.