Most Canadians Lack a Personal Financial Budget

A budget is a powerful first step to personal financial management, but most Canadians do not have one, according to the results of the 2014 Canadian Financial Capability Survey by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Toronto, ON (Nov. 27, 2015) – Canada’s Financial Literacy Leader Jane Rooney has released Managing Money and Planning for the Future: Key Findings from the 2014 Canadian Financial Capability Survey (CFCS) at the University of Toronto’s Financial Literacy & Financial Well-Being Forum. The report offers insights on Canadians’ knowledge, abilities and behaviours when it comes to managing money and debt wisely, as well as planning and saving for the future.

The study concluded that many Canadians can improve their financial well-being by the simple act of following a budget. Even though 93 % of Canadians who have a budget stick to it most of the time—only 46 % of Canadians have a budget. The study also reports that, while Canadians are generally saving for retirement, the majority do not know how much they need to save. On the other hand, the CFCS also found that many Canadians are doing well in areas such as keeping up with bills and payments and saving for their children’s education.

The Financial Literacy Leader encourages all Canadians to take simple steps to strengthen their knowledge, skills and confidence in making responsible financial choices. In addition, she is working with the private, public and non-profit sectors on initiatives to address the survey’s findings.

“The simple act of creating and following a budget can help put millions of Canadians on a path toward greater financial well-being,” said Jane Rooney, Financial Literacy Leader at the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada. “And when Canadians are equipped to make better financial decisions, not only do they improve their own personal finances, the economy as a whole benefits as well.”

Key Findings

  • Only 46% of Canadians have a budget, but 93% of those who do stick to it “most of the time.”
  • Two-thirds of working Canadians are preparing financially for retirement. Almost the same proportion say they don’t know how much they should save.
  • Almost three-quarters of Canadian parents are saving for their children’s education.
  • Over two-thirds of Canadians are keeping up with bills and payments.
  • Two-thirds of Canadians check their account balances daily or weekly.
  • Mortgages, credit cards and lines of credit are the most common types of debt held by Canadians.

Quick Facts

  • The CFCS was conducted in 2014, re-fielding the original study done in 2009. It surveyed some 6,600 Canadians by telephone across Canada.
  • The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) has a number of tools and resources to help Canadians develop budgets, determine how much they’ll need to save for retirement and make plans to achieve their financial goals.
  • Available to all researchers through Statistics Canada, the CFCS data can inform the work of a wide range of stakeholders.
  • November is Financial Literacy Month (FLM) in Canada. Everyone is encouraged to join the conversation on social media using #FLM2015 and #CountMeInCA.
  • The Canadian Financial Literacy Database is a one-stop source for information that ranges from how to open a bank account, access government benefits, budget and save, to how to protect yourself from fraud. It also offers organizations a platform to promote their tools and resources.

About the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) is an independent body working to protect and inform consumers of financial products and services.

We were established in 2001 by the federal government to strengthen oversight of consumer issues and expand consumer education in the financial sector. In July 2010, FCAC was also tasked with the oversight of payment card network operators and their commercial practices.

In March 2013, FCAC’s mandate expanded again. On April 10, 2014, the Government of Canada appointed the first Financial Literacy Leader within FCAC to extend collaboration with stakeholders and coordinate activities that contribute to strengthening Canadians’ financial literacy.

SOURCE: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada