Nearly Half Of Canadians Unhappy About Debt, Sun Life Survey Finds

Canada is a happy country, but not when it comes to personal finances

Toronto, ON (Dec. 3, 2015) – Canadians are a happy bunch, but many find themselves singing the blues about the state of their personal finances. While 85 per cent of Canadians say they are happy, almost half (45 per cent) say the level of debt they are carrying is making them unhappy, according to findings from the 2015 Sun Life Canadian Health Index.

The survey also found that 90 per cent of couples, whether married or partnered, said they were happy versus 76 per cent of single Canadians.

According to the survey, the top five factors that make Canadians unhappy are:

  • Debt load (45 per cent)
  • Level of disposable income (43 per cent)
  • State of the economy (41 per cent)
  • Finances (40 per cent)
  • Income (39 per cent)

“Debt continues to be the dark cloud causing distress for Canadians,” says Cindy Crean, Managing Director, Sun Life Global Investments. “It is not surprising that almost half of Canadians say finances, debt and the fluctuating economy are major sources of their unhappiness. Having a financial plan can help bring peace of mind and increase those happiness levels.”

Though money worries brought unhappiness, an overwhelming number of Canadians say their children bring them joy.

The top five factors that make Canadians happy are:

  • My children (87 per cent)
  • My spouse/partner, My family (tied at 80 per cent)
  • Providing care for my children (76 per cent)
  • My lifestyle in retirement, My home, My friends (tied at 74 per cent)
  • The amount of personal time I have (66 per cent)

The survey also found that more women described their lives as fulfilling, having meaning and bringing them pleasure compared to men. Canadians 65 and older also reported higher levels of happiness compared to younger Canadians.

“We know that we will always worry about money and debt, but when it comes to happiness, our data shows that personal relationships with family and friends are a priority and bring us the most happiness,” says Crean.

See the full list of what makes Canadians happy and unhappy.

About the survey

The results from the survey are based on the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between June 15 and 23, 2015. A sample of 2,404 Canadians from 18 to 80 years of age was drawn from the Ipsos I-Say online panel.

Ipsos Reid employed weighting to balance demographics and ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe.

The precision of Ipsos Reid online surveys is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the survey is accurate to within �2.3% at 95% confidence level had all Canadian adults been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to methodological change, coverage error and measurement error.

About Sun Life Financial

Celebrating 150 years in 2015, Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Sun Life Financial and its partners have operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda.

As of September 30, 2015, the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of $846 billion. For more information please visit

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

About Sun Life Global Investments (Canada) Inc.

Sun Life Global Investments (Canada) Inc. brings together the strength of one of Canada’s most trusted names in financial services with some of the best asset managers from around the world. With a focus on risk management, our rigorous selection and monitoring process provides access to leading asset managers who use insight and innovation to manage high quality investment solutions for Canadian investors. Sun Life Global Investments (Canada) Inc. is a member of the Sun Life Financial group of companies. For more information, visit

Source: Sun Life Financial Inc.