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Many Manitobans living paycheque to paycheque: study

Tips for paying off your debt and saving for the future
The Canadian Payroll Association said more than half of working Manitobans are living pay cheque to pay cheque. File / Getty Images
WINNIPEG — For many Manitobans, the road to a comfortable retirement is becoming longer and more difficult. If you're living paycheque to paycheque and not saving as much as you'd like, you're not alone.

A new report released by the Canadian Payroll Association (CPA) suggests more than half of working Manitobans are barely making ends meet.

In Manitoba, 54 per cent of respondents said they’re living paycheque to paycheque. Furthermore, the CPA said 32 per cent of people would find it tough to come up with $2,000 in an emergency. Nationally, nearly half of Canadians report they would struggle to meet their financial requirements if their paycheque was delayed by one week.

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“A significant percentage of working Canadians carry debt, have a gloomy view of their local economy and are fearful of rising interest rates, inflation and costs of living,” said Patrick Culhane, president and CEO of the Canadian Payroll Association.

The study claims pay has remained relatively the same and is therefore having an effect on spending and debt levels.

The CPA said 51 per cent of Manitobans reported they spend all or more than their net pay.

Here are some more key findings in relation to employee financial situations and prioritization:

  • In Manitoba, 36 per cent of people prioritize higher wages. That’s compared to 28 per cent nationally.
  • 43 per cent of Manitobans want a better work-life balance and a healthy work environment. This number is compared to 48 per cent nationally.

“Clearly, many Canadians are concerned about their financial situation,” said Lucy Zambon, Canadian Payroll Association Board Chair. “Better work-life balance does not have to mean reduced financial security if you spend within your means.”

Overwhelmed by debt

The study said nearly half of Manitobans (47 per cent) feel overwhelmed by the debt they carry. Nationally, that number drops to 39 per cent.
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Here are some other statistics about debt in Manitoba:

  • 39 per cent of employees said their debt level has spiked this year.
  • 18 per cent of Manitobans (the highest percentage across Canada) do not think they will ever be debt free. That’s compared to 11 per cent nationally.
  • 94 per cent of respondents carry debt.

Saving for retirement

With the amount of debt most Canadians are carrying, saving for retirement has become increasingly difficult. The study suggests a large majority of working Canadians have fallen behind their retirement savings goals.

In Manitoba, 74 per cent said they have only saved one quarter or less of what they feel they will need to take care of themselves in the future.

According to CPA, 45 per cent of people in Canada will end up working longer than they originally planned half a decade ago because they’ll need to keep working to save more money.

More than 5,000 employees from across Canada took part in this study.

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