Financial pressure mounting for working Canadians, new study shows

Financial pressure mounts

A new study has found that the financial well-being of working Canadians has declined in the past year, with distress growing for those who are financially struggling the most.

The study, which combines the National Payroll Institute's annual survey with analysis by the Financial Wellness Lab of Canada, found the number of workers living paycheque-to-paycheque increased by 26 per cent in 2022 compared with last year.

Part of the analysis included a look at what three financial "clusters" Canadians fall into – comfortable, coping or stressed – and showed that the gap has widened between those coping and those who are stressed.

While the analysis found those with lower household incomes were more likely to be in the stressed category, 41 per cent of those in the group reported an annual household income in excess of $100,000. 

Additionally, those in the stressed cluster were living closest to their limits with 91 per cent spending all or more than their net pay, up from 82 per cent last year.

The study also found that the number of employed Canadians spending more than their net pay was at the highest level ever reported in the survey at 11 per cent.

Meanwhile, debt levels increased among all groups, with 27 per cent reporting an increase compared with 17 per cent last year. The number of working Canadians with credit card debt skyrocketed to 42 per cent, up from 29 per cent in 2021.

Peter Tzanetakis, president of the National Payroll Institute, said the data indicates that things are likely to become even more difficult for more people in the near future.

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