My Province Is More Financially Savvy Than Yours: RBC Survey

Respondents from every province that theirs was the bestWhen it comes to personal finance, Canadians are know-it-alls.

Or at least they think they are, according to the RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook survey.

On a national scale, 70 per cent of Canadians rate their own financial knowledge as “excellent / good”, while another 65 per cent think the average Canadian’s ranks as “not very good” when it comes to financial know-how.

Financial Literacy Needs Improvement Nation-Wide

Financial literacy is also an issue identified by the survey, with 64 per cent calling it a serious issue for Canadians.

“It’s in everyone’s best interest and beneficial to the country as a whole to have consumers with a high degree of financial knowledge,” said Richard Goyder, vice-president, Personal Lending, RBC in a press release. “When purchasing a new home, saving for the future or investing, it’s important to be informed.”

So which province is the most financially savvy? Here’s a break down of financial literacy levels from coast to coast.

Atlantic Canada

In the East, 69 per cent of Atlantic Canadians rated their financial knowledge as “excellent / good” believing only 34 per cent of average Canadians can rival their knowledge.

Building financial literacy seems to be a family affair with 33 per cent turning towards friends and family for financial advice. Another 30 per cent, however, skip dad’s take in favour of a financial advisor. However, only 27 per cent of Maritimers turn to daily newspapers or business reports on TV and radio to stay on top of daily finance news, with another 19 per cent regularly checking bank and investment firm websites.

When asked about their region’s economy, 42 per cent of Atlantic Canadians think it has gotten worse in the last three months.

“The commodities boom is still very much alive in the country and, with Atlantic Canada’s economies generally less centered on natural resources, we expect to see a slower pace of growth in the region in comparison to the national average,” says Craig Wright, senior vice president and chief economist at RBC.


Just over half of residents in La Belle Province think their financial know-how is above par, with 67 per cent of Quebecers rating themselves as “excellent / good”. Their faith in their neighbours isn’t so great, however, with one-in-three believing the “average Canadian” has a similar financial knowledge.

When residents of Quebec need help with their finances they head to the bank –  34 per cent say discussing finances with a financial advisor is their ideal way to build their financial literacy.

Those surveyed also said they have a predilection towards reading business reports on the news and TV  (26 per cent) or chatting with friends (24 per cent).

Quebecers are also generally optimistic with 58 per cent saying they believe the state of the national economy is good.


Sentiments from the other provinces seem to have trickled over to Ontario with 69 per cent of the province’s people saying they have good financial knowledge – and only 30 per cent of Ontarian respondents think the average Canadian shares that knowledge.

Friends, family and financial advisors seem to be the province’s key source of financial advice, rating 32 per cent and 33 per cent respectively. Ontarians also put a large focus on paying down their debts, with 41 defining financial success as being debt free.

However, they aren’t so rosy about their local economy – 28 per cent believeit will decline over the next three months, and more than half (54 per cent) say they plan to delay making any major purchases.

 The Prairies

It appears that know-it-all attitudes can be found in the heart of Canada as well, with 61 per cent of Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents claiming to have “excellent / good” financial knowledge. Of course, only a quarter think the rest of Canada is as up to snuff.

Prairie residents are also likely to turn to a financial advisor with 39 per cent choosing this approach to their financial literacy, and an additional 34 per cent turn  to TV and newspapers to improve their financial decisions.

As for the national economy, prairie respondents were on the optimistic side with 76 per cent thinking it will improve,  perhaps due to the growth on a regional scale.

“We expect both Saskatchewan and Manitoba to be among the provincial growth leaders this year,” says  Wright. “Both provinces are benefiting from higher crop prices, driven by drought-related declines in the U.S. harvest and weaker production in a number of other major agricultural regions globally. Natural resource commodities in the Prairies should also fare well from continuing demand, as the global recovery progresses.”


Albertans are financial smarty-pants with 71 per cent saying they have “excellent / good” money smarts. They’re also likely to think less of the rest of the nation, with74 per cent saying the average Canadian is “not very good / terrible.”

Thirty seven per cent go to an advisor for financial decisions, followed by 35 per cent who turn to family. Thirty five per cent who use magazines to build their financial literacy.

Albertans are somewhat less optimistic than their prairie neighbours, with 45 per cent feeling positive  about the nation’s economy. The province’s own economy seems to be the driving force in that optimism.

“Alberta continues to lead the other provinces in economic performance indicators by a considerable margin in most instances,” adds Wright. “Capital spending in the energy sector will remain a key positive factor in the provincial economy, as will the increasing numbers of people settling in Alberta and the turnaround in the housing sector.”

 British Columbia

Need financial advice? Head to B.C.

British Columbians are the ultimate Canadian financial know-it-alls with 75 per cent saying they have “excellent / good” financial knowledge. Seventy one per cent also believe the rest of Canadians fall into the not very good/terrible category.

Why So Smart?

Apparently 45 per cent of British Columbians head right to their financial advisors when they need advice, and 36 per cent make a point to watch TV or read business reports in the news.

As for the local economy, it is much in line with the rest of Canada.

“B.C.’s economic indicators have been mostly positive so far this year thanks to encouraging signs developing in key export markets and strong activity in domestic sectors. Still, the external performance remained a mixed bag at best,” says Wright. “Looking ahead, softness in the trade sector will be the key factor slowing real GDP this year.”

Related Topics

Economic News / Personal Finance / Personal Finance News

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