Managing Financial Stress: Tips and Solutions for Quebecers in an Inflationary Environment

2023-10-02 04:00:00

Interest rates and inflation weigh heavily on the morale of Quebecers. It is now one in four who would be unable to pay their bills if their pay was deferred by a week, a number that has increased sharply over the past two years.

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“I don’t know many people who aren’t stressed these days with everything going up,” says Serge Bisson while filling up his Mazda at a gas station in Mascouche. “You really have to have a well-stocked bank account to not feel the pressure, it comes from all sides,” he says.

Nationally, the number of employees considered to be in the financially stressed cluster jumped 20 percentage points in the last year alone, and now represents 37% of the workforce.

This is what emerges from the National Payroll Institute’s annual survey of Canadian workers, published by the same Institute.

“The factors that contribute to financial stress are becoming more difficult than ever for Quebecers and Canadians to overcome,” underlines Peter Tzanetakis, president of the Institute.

Among the other results of the survey, note that in Quebec, only half of employees say they have an emergency fund of $5,000, a drop of 16 percentage points compared to 2021. Also, nearly two out of three workers (63%) spend their entire take-home pay, and 30% spend more than their paycheck, forcing them to take on debt or dip into their savings with each pay cycle.

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Plan for the worst

“The best thing to manage stress is to talk about it and get support,” suggests Charles Hunter-Villeneuve, consultant at the National Bank. “You don’t have to be alone in this. Also, writing down your objectives, fears and solutions on paper “gets your fears out of your head” and puts things into perspective, putting everything into perspective,” he argues.

The expert also advises making a complete financial plan with a professional, ensuring that it covers all areas of financial planning. The exercise should also include “worst-case scenario” simulations, he said.

“The goal is to prepare for the worst, in order to better cope with it. In this way, the real situation can only be embellished,” he says.

Employees who want to improve their financial well-being may have to reconsider what constitutes an “essential” expense, adds Peter Tzanetakis.

“This may mean foregoing a family vacation, delaying a purchase, or choosing less expensive alternatives to ensure there is enough money left after each paycheck to pay for food, clothing, and housing. », he concludes.

Second jobs

Last August, according to Statistics Canada, no less than 34.9% of workers holding more than one job in the country did so first to meet essential needs. This is an increase of 70% compared to the data collected just before the pandemic, i.e. in February and March 2020. This is the case of Michel Hassoun, cook, who does not see things improving: “My paycheck is no longer enough. I’m going to have to find a second job very soon. I don’t want to start getting into debt. »

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QUEBECERS FINANCIALLY STRESSED

Only half of the employees in Quebec say they have an emergency fund of 5000 $a drop of 16 percentage points compared to 2021. The quarter of employees (25%) Quebecers also believe that if their pay was deferred by one week, they would have struggle to meet their financial obligationscompared to 21% last year and 16% in 2021.
38% of employees Quebecers admit to feeling more isolated from society due to the increasing cost of living. They also say their financial stress was felt by those close to them.
One in five Quebecers had to take sick leave to manage an increasing level of stress financier.

Methodology

The National Payroll Institute’s 15th annual survey of working Canadians was conducted online from July 21 to August 1, 2023 among 1,500 employed Canadians (81% of whom are full-time employees) using the Framework Analytics online panel.

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