COVID-19: Quebecers worried about the high level of government debt

Nearly one in two Quebecers (47%) believe that the high level of government debt, growing with the pandemic, will have negative impacts on their financial situation in retirement, according to a SOM survey, published on Friday and produced on behalf of ÉducÉpargne.

“Essentially, every Quebecer will carry a debt of $ 35,846,” Miguel Ouellette, economist and director of operations at the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI), said in a press release in March.

Produced to understand the financial behavior of Quebecers, the web survey was conducted by SOM from April 29 to May 7, 2021 with 1,000 adult respondents from Quebec. The maximum margin of error for all respondents is 3.8% (at the 95% confidence level).

COVID-19 has visibly created some financial concern for a large proportion of Quebecers. Since the start of the pandemic, 30% of Quebecers say they are less confident about their retirement plan. Finally, 26% of respondents believe they have to make more efforts than expected to enjoy a comfortable retirement, according to a statement released on Friday.

Worried, but far-sighted

However, despite a very present concern, adults in Quebec remain far-sighted. Almost all Quebecers who held investments (90%) have not withdrawn the amounts invested since the start of the pandemic, despite market fluctuations. Only 1% of them chose to withdraw them entirely, while 8% did so partially.

Of those who still hold investments, more than eight in ten (85%) resisted the panic by not changing the allocation of their investments.

“Panic is always a bad advisor and the majority of our fellow citizens seem to have kept a cool head, despite the extraordinary situation we have been living for more than 14 months,” said Nathalie Bachand, president of ÉducÉpargne.

If another major crisis were to occur in the next few years, 24% of Quebecers consider that they would be better prepared financially, 63% as well prepared, and only 4% believe that they would be less well prepared.

This while two in three Quebecers (65%) believe that another similar crisis will probably (52%) or certainly (13%) happen again during their lifetime.

As of Saturday, Quebec’s debt stands at $ 296 billion.

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