Western Canadians buying less and worried about money: survey

Falling oil prices and higher housing prices in B.C. have left Western Canada with a darker view of the future than was the case 10 years ago. Global News

Falling oil and higher housing prices in B.C. have left Western Canadians with a darker view of the future than 10 years ago, a survey shows.

Respondents in Manitoba and Saskatchewan were more likely to say that they had to cut back on some of the things they used to buy over the last 10 years, and much more likely to say they were in a worse financial position than 10 years ago.

The data comes from a Mackenzie Investments survey which re-ran an identical one from 10 years ago. Both looked at whether people were hopeful or pessimistic about the decade to come.

READ: How to re-think your retirement savings for today’s economy

Meanwhile, 39 per cent of Albertans said they won’t be able to afford the same lifestyle in 10 years, up from 33 per cent when the same question was asked a decade ago. (That’s the biggest increase in the country, except for Atlantic Canada, where responses rose from 37 per cent to 50 per cent.)

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“It’s right in line with the collapse of the oil industry,” spokesperson Carol Bezaire explains.

“It’s similar to what happened a few years ago in the Atlantic provinces when the fisheries went down.”

British Columbians were the second-most pessimistic group in the survey (after Atlantic Canada) — 45 per cent predicted they will be worse off 10 years from now.

“Everything’s inflated in B.C., so their dollar isn’t stretching as far,” Bezaire says. That makes them a little more pessimistic.”

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Also in the survey:

  • The university-educated were more likely to say they had a better lifestyle then they did 10 years ago (44 per cent), followed by the college-educated (32 per cent) and those who had been to high school (30 per cent).
  • Respondents in Western Canada were somewhat more likely to say that their lifestyle change over the last decade had been negative. Alberta topped the country by a small margin.
  • People in B.C., followed closely by Manitoba and Saskatchewan, were the most likely to say that they weren’t on track to save for retirement.
  • Respondents in Ontario were much more likely to say that they are not saving for retirement at all.
  • The high school-educated were more likely to be saving for retirement in some form than the college- or university-educated. Bezaire explains this a function of them being more likely to be self-employed in the trades.

Lots of candles were needed at a Winnipeg retirement home on Tuesday as three of their residents celebrated their 100th birthdays. It was a big milestone for the residents, and one that Canadians will likely start celebrating more often. Global’s Talia Ricci reports.

Click to play video: 'Start saving for retirement early, Canadians are living longer' Start saving for retirement early, Canadians are living longer
Start saving for retirement early, Canadians are living longer – Jul 26, 2016

“About 35 per cent of Canadians don’t contribute to an RRSP, Bezaire explains. “They’re saying they don’t have the extra cash — everybody is spending the money on food, lodging and everything else. Saving for retirement is taking a back seat to day-to-day living.”

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  • The survey also found that younger Canadians, British Columbians, lower-income people and single people were more likely to have only mobile phone service, and no landline.
  • Fewer than 10 per cent of Canadians now have only a landline. Their numbers are higher in Atlantic Canada and among those over 65.

READ: Many Manitobans living paycheque to paycheque: study


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