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Impact of COVID-19 on individual savings

Only 12% of Canadians plan to add to their savings during the economic uncertainty of the pandemic.


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When the economy is doing well, we are advised to invest wisely, ride out market fluctuations and save up for a rainy day – advice that is even more important in times of economic crisis. But how many Canadians are actually planning to save up to help themselves weather the storm? To investigate, Finder surveyed 1,200 Canadian adults in March 2020.

Finder’s research found that only 12% of those surveyed – or an estimated 3.5 million Canadians – are planning to save money over the next three months. Even more interesting is that an estimated 26.8 million Canadian adults have no plans to save at all, despite (or because of) the fact Canada is in the midst of an economic shutdown with unemployment rising by the day.

Saving for an uncertain future

While most Canadians (72%) plan to hold off on making any immediate moves with their money in housing, shares or savings in the next three months, of those who are planning to, putting money into a savings account is the most popular choice at 12%. In a close second came buying shares (8%), followed by taking money out of a savings account (7%) and selling shares (5%).

Real estate is an area that far fewer Canadians are planning to gamble on, with only 4% planning to buy property and 3% planning to sell. If you’re feeling confused about how best to plan for the future, check out our guide on how to prepare your finances for a recession.

Men more willing to take financial risks

In times of economic recession, there will always be those who see opportunity rather than obstacles. Assuming they have the funds to invest, they will look for long-term value by doing things like buying shares at record low prices or investing in real estate that has dropped in price.

Over the next three months in Canada, men are 50% more likely to take these types of financial risks than women. The gender disparity is most evident in playing the stock market, with men more than twice as likely than women to both sell and buy shares.

Which age group will make the most moves with their money?

While Canadians aged 45-54 are saving the most, Canadians aged 35-44 are taking the most proactive approach to their finances while in crisis.

37% of Canadians aged 35-44 are willing to make financial decisions in regards to property, shares and savings over the next three months, with 11% planning to buy shares and 6% planning to buy property. These are both risky decisions, but ones that could pay off in the long run, assuming the economy rebounds post-pandemic.

West Coasters most likely to make money moves

Of the Canadians that are planning to take action with their money over the next three months, those in BC are most likely to better prepare themselves for the pandemic in the form of increased savings (17%). They are also the most likely to play the stock market, with 10% planning to buy shares and 7% planning to sell shares.

Image: Getty Images

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