Are Canadians spenders or savers?

16 April 2019
Struggling to save for your first home deposit? You’re not alone. Finder’s analysis of data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found that Canadians rank in the bottom half of 29 countries for saving. In fact, Canadians are forecasted to save just 3.09% of their disposable income in 2019. The savings rate is predicted to increase over the next year, with a forecasted rate of 3.21% for 2020. Given the average disposable income is around CAD$39,777, this means Canadians will be saving roughly CAD$1,277 next year.

Canadians worse savers than Americans

Interestingly, Americans save a lot more than Canadians. Americans are expected to save 6.67% of their disposable income in 2019 and this figure is projected to increase over the next year, to 7.03% by 2020. With an average disposable income of CAD$58,662, Americans will save CAD$4,124 in 2020 – roughly CAD$2,847 more than Canadians.

Household debt

Not only are Canadians worse savers than Americans, they also take on more household debt. The rate of household debt to income ratio is currently 181.44% in Canada, compared to just 108.78% in the States, according to OECD data.

Interestingly, this divergence only occurred after the 2008 global financial crisis. Prior to this, Canadians and Americans had similar levels of household debt, at around 140%.

World’s best savers

According to the OECD, the Swiss are the best savers, with an impressive forecasted household saving rate of 17.64%. The Swedes are a close second at 16.34% and those in Luxembourg are third at 13.41%.

How does Canada stack up around the world?

While Canada might not be in the big leagues for saving, the country fares better than 10 other countries included in the rankings. Notably, Canadians save more than fellow commonwealth countries Australia and New Zealand, which are both listed in the bottom 10 countries for saving.

Australia ranks 23rd of the 29 countries, while New Zealand ranks 26th. Kiwis aren’t able to save a dime, with a forecasted savings rate of -1.23%. This means Kiwis are actually spending more of their disposable income than they’re able to put away.

Lithuania is expected to save the least of the countries analyzed, at just -4.74%. Finland isn’t far behind at -2.58% and Spain comes in third at -1.94%.

The good news is that no matter where you are, it’s never too late to start saving!

Tips for saving smarter

  1. Switch finance service providers

Changing banks, transferring credit cards or switching insurance providers may seem like more trouble than it’s worth but if you compare your options, you can potentially save hundreds of dollars every year with just a few minutes of work.

2. Cut down on guilty pleasures

We all love our guilty pleasures but when we’re trying to save, they should really be the first thing to go. Take a look at your bank statement and axe all the non-necessities from your budget.

3. Pick up a side hustle

If you can’t save more, try earning more. With so many gig-economy apps on the market, there’s never been a better time to earn extra cash. From dog walking to helping people move homes, there are plenty of ways to earn some cash on the side.

4. Pay yourself first

As soon as you receive your pay, set money aside for long-term saving goals or investments. That way you won’t be tempted to blow money sitting in your daily expense account. It can help to set up automatic transfers so you don’t even have to think about it.

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