Worried Young Couple Lying On Carpet Calculating Their savings, planning future, retirement fund

Money continues to be the top stressor for Canadians, though significantly less so for those who use financial professionals, based on data from FP Canada’s latest financial stress index, released on Tuesday.

For the fifth time — FP Canada conducted previous indexes in 2014, 2018, 2020 and 2021 — money was found to be the biggest source of stress among a given list of options.

In this year’s survey, 38% of respondents cited money, compared to 21% who cited health, 19% who cited work and 18% who cited relationships.

Those who didn’t work with financial professionals were more likely to cite money as causing them the most stress (40% versus 32% who said they used financial professionals).

Those who didn’t work with financial planners (those with the FP Canada–overseen designations of certified financial planner or qualified associate financial planner) were more than twice as likely to say money was their top stressor (39% versus 15% who said they used financial planners). (No such data was sought regarding other specific professionals.)

That discrepancy is likely at least partly explained by the fact that those who used planners, as well as other financial professionals, tended to be older and higher earners (age 55+ and at least $75,000 annual income).

Four times as many respondents worked with financial advisors compared with financial planners (16% versus 4%), the index found. Another 8% worked with investment advisors; and 5%, with insurance agents.

While a solid proportion of respondents were reducing their financial stress through such things as tracking expenses (44%, up from 34% in 2021) and saving more (37%, also up from 34% last year), only 18% had sought and received financial advice from professionals or built financial plans.

“It’s encouraging to see more Canadians taking steps to alleviate financial stress, but the … index shows there are still very real underlying concerns about personal finances right now,” said Tashia Batstone, president and CEO of FP Canada, in a release.

The index suggested inflation was taking its toll on respondents, with 68% saying rising grocery prices, for example, contributed directly to their money stress.

“As a profession, it’s clear we have to work had to ensure all Canadians feel they can handle today’s economic challenges and help them become more optimistic about their long-term financial outlooks,” Batstone said.

The online survey of 2,001 Canadians was completed between April 12 and April 20 using Leger’s online panel. The polling industry’s professional body, the Canadian Research Insights Council, says online surveys can’t be assigned a margin of error because they don’t randomly sample the population.