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October 13, 2021

What's keeping you from saving?

Since 2008, rarely has financial news been, well, news.

People are broke so they skimp on $10,000 funerals? No kidding! Taxpayers are pissed that a good chunk of AIG’s $170 billion went to executive bonuses? In the words of Elaine Benes, get out!

And the latest from the “Oh, you think so, doctor?” files has come from the Royal Bank of Canada, whose most recent survey finds that “bills and debt” are keeping Canadians from saving their money. Yet while not shocking in the way that, say, Randy Moss’ trade back to the Vikings was last week, the transparent survey gives us a chance to ask Canucks the real question: aside from the obvious, what’s preventing you from saving?

First, a bit of background from RBC. According to the bank’s poll, 57 per cent of Canadians don’t feel they’re setting aside enough savings because of bill commitments and debt requirements.

A further 30 per cent of RBC’s participants said they’ve got “no money” left after paying their bills and debts, notes the Star. While only 12 per cent of Canadians actually increased their savings over the past two years, maybe here’s why: eight per cent of all respondents, the study found, admitted to being “impulse spenders.”

So, let’s focus on that last point. Here at MSN, we covered what consumer vices we had back in the summer – the purchases we should stop, but don’t, despite the financial ramifications.

From the comments, readers listed a number of money wasters – razor blades, morning coffee, eating out at restaurants, etc. – and these are the kind of specifics we should be focusing on when we talk about saving.

Obviously, mortgage and car payments contribute to our lack of save-ability as Canadians, but what are these other “debts” the RBC notes? It’s quite clear that, in most cases, these are our own personal consumer purchases – so what are they?

Maybe it’s clothes. Maybe it’s shoes. Heck, maybe it’s things like booze, weed or Internet porn. Our comments here can be anonymous, so let’s hear it.

Readers: what are the things you buy that prevent you from saving, when maybe you should?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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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...