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July 09, 2021

Young Canadians still balk at recession, survey finds

By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance

In the world of media, it’s usually the same old song as far as recession coverage is concerned.

Find the sap story about the single mother who can’t send her son to camp this year. Track down the retired couple whose wiped-out pension has forced them to sell the family home of 60 years. Tug on the heartstrings. Play the violin. Lather, rinse, repeat.

And while all the examples you hear are real – the downturn has  caused a whirlwind of misery for many – we don’t hear much about how the tanking economy affects a demographic who, generally, have nothing but disposable income.

The trials of the 18-34 age group, whether it be full of university grads, young professionals or newly-established tradespeople, aren’t heard from much in the recessionary reporting.

Maybe this is why. A national survey revealed in the Financial Post now shows most young Canadians simply don’t care much for this whole near-depression thing.

About 75% of them, in fact, admitted to having spent either the same amount or more this year on superfluous buys like video games, DVDs and beauty products.

Don’t think this behaviour is an aberration, either. More than 80% said they would spend “either the same or more” on discretionary spending in the coming six months, says the Post.

The 18-34 group also holds a pretty optimistic grasp on recovery, too. Not only do 79% of them find reporting of the economic crisis “excessive,” but three-quarters believe everything will bounce back and rebound over the next year.

You have to admit, these numbers paint an interesting picture on the apprehension caused by uncertain global finance. While many fret and nail-bite over job security and the risk of losing health benefits, young people just continue to shrug off the entire downturn, spending still apparently free of conscience.

In fact, I don’t know anyone under, say, 22 who cares one iota about the recession, save for the few who have a bit tougher time finding a summer job.

Chalk it up to immaturity, a shortage of responsibility or whatever you want, but – what’s more – the signs don’t point to this trend changing anytime soon.

Of the surveyed Canadians, 87% said they’d be secure in their financial status over the next year.

And sure, the lack of dependents probably doesn’t hurt (and many don’t yet have mortgages and childcare costs to worry about), but here’s another sign that it may pay to be young, where a carefree attitude during a global crisis has you acting like this guy instead of this one.



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...