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Meridian finds most Canadians have money hang-ups from childhood that still affect them today


Canadians open-up about secret money fears and anxieties in new survey 

Toronto (ON) November 9, 2021 – When it comes to attitudes about finances, budgeting and investing, most Canadians admit they are still battling hang-ups from childhood. 

New research by Meridian reveals that 55% of Canadians agree their childhood experiences about money still impact them to this day. Four-in-ten (42%) say early experiences about money have left them feeling anxious and worried about it as adults.

“Built-in biases, fears and beliefs from the past can have lasting impact on confidence levels felt by Canadians and how they approach managing and investing money, but fortunately, misconceptions about money and wealth can be changed,” says Dilys D’Cruz, Vice President and Head, Wealth Management, Meridian. “Challenging the perceptions that are holding you back can help build resilience and motivate you to take actionable steps towards realizing your financial and life goals.” 

Money memories that linger 

While more than half (56%) of Canadians report their families “weren’t rich, but we had all we needed,” about 13% grew up in households where money was a source of tension and arguments. Nearly one-quarter (23%) of those surveyed reported that when they were growing up, their parents were always worried about money, so “I was too.” Two-in-ten Canadians (19%) felt secret shame about their family’s financial situation growing up. 

Childhood experiences have motivated 52% of those surveyed to focus on planning and saving for the future – a finding that was slightly higher amongst survey respondents in Ontario (54%), younger adults under 34 years (54%) and those 55 years+ (54%).

Map of Canada showing the percentage of people who said that the feelings they had about money growing up still affect them today, broken down by area

“We Didn’t Talk About Money” 

Nationally, four-in-ten (41%) Canadians report that their families “didn’t talk about money” at all.

While family is the place that most people learn about money first, almost half (48%) said they’ve learned about money on their own – and only 17% learned about it at school.

“Without a doubt, childhood associations about money impact future financial behaviours and attitudes,” says Dilys. “Parents play an important role in shaping healthy attitudes when it comes to money matters, and it contributes to their children’s overall financial well-being throughout their lives.”

Barriers to Seeking Financial Support 

While 40% of Canadians report they work with a financial planner, 59% say they prefer to manage their own money. Nearly four-in-ten (38%) don’t think they have enough money to work with an advisor, more so women (40%) than men (35%). Nine per cent (9%) nationally say they would be embarrassed to fully reveal their financial situation.  

When it comes to seeking financial support from an advisor, close to one-in-three (27%) Canadians believe they need $100,000 or more to work with a financial advisor – a belief that’s higher amongst Quebecers (32%), Canadians 55 years+, and Canadian men (32% vs. 22% for women). Seventeen per cent of Canadians admit they aren’t sure where to find a financial advisor they can trust and 25% are worried about the costs involved – a concern that’s higher amongst younger Canadian adults. 

“That’s a common money myth we work hard to dispel every day,” says Dilys. “Wealth doesn’t always come with a price tag. It comes with having an individual definition that reflects personal goals. We encourage Canadians to seek out different resources and partners to find the best fit for their personal financial situation and goals.” 

Anyone looking for more information about building their financial confidence can start by reading “Build up your financial resilience in 5 steps” with one of Meridian’s Senior Wealth Advisors. 


MARU/Matchbox conducted an online survey with 1509 respondents across Canada among adults 18 and above between July 27th and Aug 11th, 2021.  Sample is balanced to reflect the Canadian population. The survey is considered accurate with a 2.5% margin of error.

About Meridian 
We acknowledge the land on which we operate is the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabe, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples. 

With more than 75 years of banking history, Meridian is Ontario’s largest credit union, and second largest in Canada, helping to grow the lives of 380,000 Members. Meridian has $27.6 billion in assets under management (September 30, 2021) and delivers a full range of financial services online, by phone, by mobile and through a network of 89 branches across Ontario, and business banking services in 15 locations. Meridian cardholders also have access to over 43,000 surcharge-free ABMs in North America with THE EXCHANGE® Network and the Allpoint Network in the US. For more information, please visit:, follow us on Twitter @MeridianCU or visit us on Facebook

For more information contact:
Teresa Pagnutti, Public Relations, Meridian; 416-275-3816

Jacob Del Zotto, Corporate Communications, Meridian; 647-242-8877

Meridian Credit Union communications are intended for informational purposes only and do not constitute financial advice or an opinion on any issue. We would be pleased to provide additional details or advice about specific situations if desired.

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