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Feeling financially shaky heading into 2023? Take stock - and action.

If you’re feeling the financial pinch due to rising interest rates, inflation, and economic challenges, you’ve got company.

In October, we partnered with Ipsos and reached out to thousands of Canadians for our Fall 2022 Debt Survey, and the results show that: 

  • Most (87%) believe we will soon enter a recession or are already in one. The majority (56%) think it will last at least a year
  • In fact, six in ten (59%) claim that increased spending is now outpacing their income growth
  • 48% of Canadians feel overwhelmed by their financial situation
  • 1 in 4 mortgage holders say that if rates rise much further, they will be forced to sell their homes when their mortgage renews

It can be hard to be optimistic when the picture looks, to be honest, kind of bleak. And knowing that “we’re all in this together” doesn’t always help much. But you can do something – take stock and take action.
Best of all, you don’t have to do it alone.

Reach out. Professional advisors have access to tools and product options that can help create financial flexibility for you. And good news – many advisors will meet with you for a free consultation. By working with a professional advisor, you’ll see how taking small steps now can help create results. And you’ll get a better night’s sleep in the process. Schedule an appointment with your advisor to review your concerns and come up with a plan if needed. If you don’t have an advisor yet – what better time than now to reach out and begin a partnership.

Review. Get a true and realistic picture of your personal finances. If you already have a budget but haven’t reviewed it in a while, now’s the time. Make use of budget tools if you don’t know where to begin. Be honest about how much you’re spending each month, especially on expenses like food, entertainment, clothing, and gifts that can sometimes be harder to track.

Re-evaluate, Reduce and Repeat. Right now, over half of Canadians surveyed say they’re spending less on leisure and entertainment, and the same proportion are grocery shopping on a budget. So, once you’ve got the accurate and current picture, dig into those numbers, even if it looks scary. There are likely services and extras in your budget that could use a second look. Which nice-to-haves can you trim or cut altogether? And which must-haves could you get for a cheaper rate, either through your current provider or with a new one? Make a list of your service providers and start connecting. You won’t know until you ask.

And, after setting a budget or making changes, review it each month until more time has passed, and you see results. There are also some innovative banking products that can help you take control of your debt like Manulife One, Canada’s most flexible mortgage.

Key takeaway: It’s natural to feel worried and stuck when your financial situation, and the economy, seems bleak. But as you get clarity about your specific financial challenges and then map those challenges to helpful resources, you’ll feel more stability during a stormy financial time. Take control where you can and ask for help where you need it, and you’ll put some power back in your hands, where it belongs. To help you map your challenges to potential solutions, you can always speak to a financial professional.

About the Manulife Bank of Canada Debt Survey

Now in its twelfth year, the Manulife Bank of Canada poll surveyed 2,001 Canadians in all provinces between ages 20 and 69 with household income of more than $40,000. The survey was conducted online by Ipsos between October 7 and October 12, 2022. National results were weighted by gender, age, region, and education. This survey has a credibility interval of +/- 2.5 per cent 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had all Canadian adults between the ages of 20 and 69 been surveyed.

Download report (PDF)

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