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Money is the leading source of stress for Canadians: Survey

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Money continues to be the leading source of stress for Canadians – and between rising inflation and high grocery and gas prices, it’s no surprise.

A new survey by Leger for Financial Planning Canada shows 40 per cent of people surveyed named money as their main source of anxiety, ahead of health, relationships and work.

Of those surveyed, 48 per cent say they have less disposable income compared to a year ago, up from 39 per cent in 2022. Meanwhile, 35 per cent reported that saving enough for retirement is a growing concern.

Nearly half, 48 per cent, say they have lost sleep due to financial stress and 36 per cent say it has led them to experience mental health challenges.

"If you look at inflation, if you're looking at housing prices, these are things that a lot of people are going to be concerned about because it impacts their daily lives and their ability to do the sort of things they want to do," University of Guelph psychology professor Patrick Barclay said.

He notes these financial-related stresses can also have an impact on decision-making, which sometimes leads to even more financial strain.

"People become more risk-taking in a number of domains because when you get desperate, sometimes the only way out of that is by taking some more desperate gambles."

WATERLOO REGION RESIDENTS FEELING THE PINCH

Cambridge resident Savannah Senfner names saving money as her biggest source of stress.

“Rent’s going up, and we’re not getting a lot of space for the price,” Senfner said.

She’s not alone.

“The gas is so expensive sometimes I'll just walk around the neighbourhood," someone in Waterloo’s University District told CTV News.

ADVICE FROM AN EXPERT

Kitchener financial expert and licensed insolvency trustee Doug Hoyes says his debt relief business has seen a jump in the number of people who have nowhere else to turn.

“The number of people filing a consumer proposal is up about 30 per cent compared to where it was last year,” Hoyes said. “Definitely even over the last few weeks, the phone has been ringing a lot more, there's certainly a lot of people who are feeling the pinch right now."

But amid the grim reality, there’s also a message of hope.

“What it comes down to very simply is ‘well, what can I do to increase my income or reduce my expenses.’ But getting ahead of it is the key, you want to look at the expenses you're incurring each month and see if there's any places that you can shave a few dollars to try to help you out,” Hoyes said.

Hoyes advises not to underestimate how the most simple solutions, like tracking expenses and working slowly on paying down debt, can create small steps toward a better financial future.

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