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Over One-Third of Canadians Say They Don’t Have Over 2 Months of Emergency Savings: Poll

Many Canadians do not have over two months in savings to manage an emergency, according to a new Maru public opinion poll.

Sixty-two percent of Canadians, down from 65 percent last month, believe they have money in reserve for unexpected costs or needs, according to the March 7 Canadian Maru Household Index (MHOI).

The last time results were this low was in October 2022.

“This ties in with the lowest level found among Canadians for this metric since tracking began in July 2020 and has occurred three previous times dating back to December 2020. The highest level recorded for this measure was in April 2022 (68%),” indicated the report.

Of those surveyed, 48 percent of Albertans reported not having two months’ worth of savings, while 46 percent of individuals in Manitoba or Saskatchewan said the same.

Young people aged 18–34 (at 47 percent), middle-aged people (at 45 percent), those with income below $50,000 (at 50 percent), and women (at 38 percent) were the most likely to respond to the poll stating they did not have two-plus months of savings.

The MHOI tracks Canadian consumers and randomly polls 1,531 adults on their 60-day outlook on the economy and personal state of finances.

Despite less money saved in the bank, fewer Canadians expect to lose their job or suffer a layoff because of lack of work, with one in ten survey respondents believing this could occur in the next 60 days. This is an improvement over the highest level of potential job insecurity Canadians reported in November 2020, when 15 percent of Canadians anticipated a job loss in two months or less.

In general, those who are most insecure about their jobs live in British Columbia (17 percent), are in the 18–34 age bracket (28 percent), have income under $50,000 (15 percent), or are women (12 percent).

While job outlooks are positive, two-thirds (66 percent) of Canadians believe the state of the Canadian economy is on the wrong track, compared with November 2022, when a little more than half (54 percent) of Canadians responded that the economy was moving in the right direction, which was down from a peak in July 2021 at 57 percent.

One in ten Canadians report that their personal financial situation has improved over the last month, while 28 percent say it has worsened. Fifty-five percent believe they will have enough personal and family investments and savings for the future.

“These results are the second lowest reported (54% in March 2022) since tracking began in July 2020,” said the report.

Overall, the Maru poll indicates most Canadians are pessimistic about the 60-day outlook for the economy and their personal financial health. With an MHOI score of 85 over a base index of 100 in the latest report, this is two points down from last month’s measure, and far from the most recent positive result in July 2021 where the mark topped 107.

This survey follows a Feb. 23 Maru report where two-thirds of Canadians were worried about running out of money during their retirement. Less than half (41 percent) of those surveyed felt confident they were saving enough to retire comfortably.

In the February survey, 57 percent of Canadians were more concerned with paying their current bills and day-to-day expenses than saving or planning for the future.

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