Canadians worry about money. More than two fifths of Canadians consider money to be their biggest stressor, and stories abound of people struggling under mortgages, bank loans, and student debts, or failing to save money for their future. Commentators ascribe some of this worry to problems of ‘financial literacy,’ the understanding people have (or lack) about money, especially about saving, spending responsibly, and investing.
Many Canadians now find themselves living from paycheque to paycheque, their financial situation so precarious that one emergency could be disastrous. A survey in the United States found that 47 percent of respondents would not be able to cover a $400 emergency, or would have to borrow money or sell something to cover it; another study found that more than a quarter of participants could not come up with $2,000 for an emergency in 30 days, and a further 19% could only come up with that much money in time if they pawned possessions or took out payday loans.