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September 17, 2021

Fewer Canadians living paycheque to paycheque: survey

Canadians' finances have actually improved in the past year, with fewer people living paycheque to paycheque and more even managing to put some money aside, according to a recent poll by the Canadian Payroll Association.

The survey suggests that 47% of Canadians would be in financial difficulty if their pay was delayed by even a week. And, while that's a grim statistic, it's actually the goods news. Last year, 57% reported that they were just making ends meet.

Either way, that's an alarming number of people who could be one car repair or dental bill away from financial disaster.

What's really surprising though is that 66% said they've been able to save more, up from 40% last year.

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Quebecers appear to be having the most success with their finances, with only 33% living paycheque to paycheque, and 71% having successfully increased their savings this year. Residents of Ontario are struggling the most, with 52% living week to week. 

While some people may be saving more, their rate of savings remains low, however.

Almost half of those surveyed said they're putting aside 5% or less of their paycheques. Which may explain why 73% said they've saved less than a quarter of their targets, all of which seem quite ambitious.

34% of Canadians feel that savings of $500,000 to $1 million will be sufficient to live comfortably in retirement, down from 42% last year. A larger proportion, 38%, believe a nest-egg of between $1 million and $3 million will be needed, up from 27% last year.

Are you living paycheque to paycheque? Have things improved or deteriorated over the past year?

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...