Amidst the swirling global economic crisis and mounting debt, Canadians are pretty levelheaded with their financial goals, according to a survey by ING Direct.
Of the 1000 Canadians surveyed, 62 per cent say they save money on an annual basis, with more than three quarters of those people saving at least $1000 a year.
With one in three people feeling better about their financial situation than this time last year, it seems Canadians might be heeding warnings about overspending and debt by being more thrifty.
Some (59 per cent) even boasted they could manage a 10 per cent increase in their monthly payments or rent.
“It’s encouraging to see more Canadians are optimistic about their financial future compared to last year, even with growing economic pressures at home and abroad,” says Peter Aceto, president and CEO of ING, in a statement to the press. He adds that despite the strong attitude, it’s important Canadians don’t become “complacent”.
“Maintaining this positive momentum and savings discipline are key to fulfilling short and long-term financial goals,” Aceto stated.
Paying off loans and credit cards tops Canadians’ financial goal lists with one in four taking aim at debt. Nineteen per cent were just looking to grow their savings.
A Little Goes A Long Way
According to the survey, 66 per cent of Canadians were are able to set aside an extra $25 a week for savings, an increase from 2011 when only 50 per cent said they could tuck away those extra funds.
However, Aceto says the ability to cut out the little conveniences – be it coffee, Friday night’s dinner and a movie or a new pair of shoes – is worth it in the long run.
“While the ability to save, and how much, varies on the individual and their current circumstance, denying impulse, non-essential purchases can have a big impact. One hundred dollars a month will bring savings of $6,000 in five years, plus interest,” states Aceto. “It’s a shift in thinking and putting your future needs ahead of immediate desires.”
But what does the financial future look like for Canadians? When asked their short-term goals (five years) nearly a quarter had their eyes set on paying down loans, while 15 per cent hoped to put the savings towards beaches and ski lodges using the money for vacation.
The fiscally-responsible 13 per cent said they’d save it for a “rainy day” emergency fund. 28 percent called retirement their most important long-term savings goal.
Off With the Rose-Tinged Glasses
Of course, not all Canadians surveyed were positive.
“Still, there are over a third of Canadians who say they can’t afford to set aside an extra $25 a week, and 38 per cent who don’t save any money on an annual basis,” added Aceto.
23 per cent of them admitted they are nowhere near reaching their financial goal, but have faith they still might make it before the end of 2012.
If you find yourself in the less than satisfied category, it might be wise to check with your bank and see if they have a budgeting tool – Mint.com has a great comprehensive one for tracking daily spending. It can make all the difference.