There is plenty to celebrate in Canada from a fiscal standpoint as we head into the final weeks of 2017.
Unemployment is down, wages are up, stocks are chugging along and homes have held the value they have built up in the last ten years. We’ve got a solid foundation for financial happiness, but people are not responding. It isn’t just Canada — individuals in a lot of other well-off countries do not feel satisfied with where they’re financially, either.
This discontent may simply be a part of a long readjustment after the international financial crisis that started a decade ago. Or, it might be an early warning that the conventional measures of prosperity in the industrialized world do not function as they used to. Regardless, it is an issue when large numbers of individuals are not happy with their fiscal position.
Financial discontent is not easy to detect and easy to dismiss because nobody talks much about it. Just when people are asked about their financing in surveys and polls do they unload. A CIBC poll published on Thursday found that almost two-thirds of individuals say their holiday spending is out of control and that 41 percent feel as though they can’t afford this spending.
As mentioned in this column , a recent survey of 5,200 individuals by Seymour Management Consulting found that 47 percent of people agreed that money worries cause them intense emotional stress and 40 percent said cash worries cause them to lose sleep.
Some additional evidence of fiscal stress has emerged. In an yearly international prosperity ranking from the Legatum Institute, Canada simply slipped to eighth from the fifth place for reasons that included a belief that hard work does not necessarily make you more prosperous.
The international consulting firm Willis Towers Watson recently issued a global office benefits survey where people were asked to look at all aspects of their financial situation and report if they were fulfilled. Just 44 percent of Canadians said yes, compared with 55 percent in 2013. Similar declines have been noted for Australia and Britain. The largest drop was in america, where approximately one-third of people were satisfied.
From the Willis Towers Watson results, 30 percent of people surveyed said their fiscal problems are negatively impacting their lifetime, up from 18 percent in 2015. This is an issue for their employers. While workers that are struggling financially are eager to retire, half of them do not expect to be able to do this until their 70s.
The Willis Towers Watson study asks: “Will this translate into a group of frustrated elderly employees sticking in their jobs out of necessity — acting as a drag on productivity?”
The election of Donald Trump bit more than a year ago was affected by a range of factors, including fiscal discontent. As recorded in the Willis Towers Watson study, Americans are becoming more financially unhappy than Canadians in recent years. Still, politicians here can not be complacent. An improving economy is something they like to brag about, yet it has not done much for the country’s fiscal morale.
We might just need time for the disposition to improve. The November unemployment rate was the lowest in almost a decade and average hourly wages were up 2.8 percent on a year-over-year basis. That is double the inflation rate, so people are getting ahead. Continued momentum for the market would help lighten the mood for Canadians when they believe their finances a year from today. But there are nagging problems that contribute to fiscal unhappiness now, and will continue to do so.
High levels of household debt are a part of this, but there is more to the picture. Folks appear to feel vulnerable and helpless. From the Willis Towers Watson study, four in 10 agreed with the statement that they live paycheque to paycheque, and for that reason don’t have any substantial savings.
Sure, home prices have risen a good deal in some areas of the nation and international stock markets are powerful. However, it’s becoming increasingly evident that rising asset prices advantage only portion of the populace. You simply need to consider the gap which exists between those who have owned homes in Toronto and Vancouver for several years and people who can not afford to purchase in.
Fiscal conditions in this country are as promising as they have been in some time, and the mood is dark. What’s eating you, Canada? Finding out is among my top priorities for 2018.
Courtesy: The Globe And Mail