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October 26, 2021

How long could you manage without a paycheque?

It seems most Canadians can’t go very long without getting paid.

Ad57% of Canadians admit they’d in a tough spot if their paycheque was delayed by just one week, according to a recent survey from the Canadian Payroll Association.

That's a lot of stress. People who are strapped can’t afford to switch jobs or get laid off because they're just barely making enough to squeak by.

What’s more concerning though is that that number has remained fairly steady for the past two years and is quite evenly distributed among provinces. Here’s what things looked like last year

In 2011, the highest percentages of employees working paycheque to paycheque were in Ontario (60%) and the Atlantic provinces (64%). But the Prairie (56%) and Western (53%) provinces followed closely behind. 

Not surprisingly, younger workers are having the greatest trouble meeting their expenses. Two thirds of those aged 18-34 say they would have great difficulty coping if they missed even a single pay day.

Among households, the situation is most precarious for single parents, with three quarters saying they would have some trouble making ends meet if their pay were delayed.

Whether they're wastrels, abandoned spouses or simply down on their luck, sometimes living paycheque to paycheque is not a matter of crazy spending; it's a simple case of math. You might not be earning enough to ever get ahead.

But, hopefully, that's not the case.

Just how long could you go without a paycheque? Are things better or worse than they were a year ago? What changes have you made to get there?

By Gordon Powers, 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...

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...