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Nearly half of Ontarians with household budgets feel they are lagging behind their peers financially


Study finds despite having good budgeting basics, Ontarians still experience financial stress and anxiety  
Toronto (November 27, 2017) – A new study from Meridian, Ontario’s largest credit union, reveals that even though a majority (76 per cent) of Ontarians with household budgets have taken positive measures to improve their finances in the last 12 months, nearly half (46 per cent) believe they lag behind their peers financially and three in ten (29 per cent) have trouble meeting their monthly expenses.  
Meridian’s study took a pulse check of Ontarian budgeters and found:

  • 42 per cent admit to regularly deviating from their budget  
  • Unexpected expenses (60 per cent) and non-essential luxury purchases (58 per cent) are the two main categories where overspending occurs  
  • 55 per cent indicate that an interest rate increase will impact their monthly spending and saving habits  
  • 44 per cent would have to make adjustments in order to make ends meet should interest rates rise  

“While it’s encouraging to see that many Ontarians are making a proactive and concerted effort to control their personal finances, our study clearly shows that even with good financial habits in place, many people are still uncertain of where they stand financially,” says Wade Stayzer, Vice President, Retail at Meridian. “Having a household budget is a fundamental first step to getting your financial house in order but it’s just one part of a bigger picture.”

Getting control through basic budgeting principles:

Encouraging behaviours and attitudes also emerged from Meridian’s research. Survey respondents cited they understand the benefits of budgeting with:

  • 55 per cent citing they budget because they like to know where their money goes  
  • 43 per cent view their budget as a useful tool to help plan their finances  
  • 42 per cent use their budget to keep them on track to achieve their financial goals  

Despite understanding the upside of budgeting, 39 per cent of Ontarian budgeters admit they tend to avoid dealing with their financial situation. For many (44 per cent) it causes too much stress.  

When asked where they learned their budgeting skills, nearly half of respondents (46 per cent) cited they learned through trial and error while 40 per cent learned from their parents.  

“Managing personal finances can certainly be stressful for many people and our study shows that many seem to be learning as they go along,” says Stayzer. “By working with a trusted financial advisor you can get expert budgeting advice that can help you reach your financial goals – whether it be getting out of the red or building a healthy nest egg.” 

About Meridian:
With over 70 years of banking history, Meridian is Ontario’s largest credit union, helping to grow the lives of its more than 300,000 Members. Meridian has $17 billion in assets under management and delivers a full range of financial services online, by phone, by mobile and through a network of 90 branches across Ontario, and commercial banking services in 11 locations. Meridian Members also have access to THE EXCHANGE® Network, with more than 3,300 no-fee ABMs across Canada and 500,000 ABMs in the United States. For more information, please visit:  

Quantitative Research Instrument
A survey of 1520 Ontarians was completed online between September 25 and October 6, 2017, using Leger’s online panel, LegerWeb. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-2.5%, 19 times out of 20. In order to reliably look at both sides of the budgeting coin, at least half of those surveyed had a monthly household budget in place (n=769), while the other half (n=751) did not. (Probability samples of this size would yield a margin of error of approximately +/- 3.5%, 19 times out of 20.)  
For more information call:
Diane Medeiros
Manager, Media & Stakeholder Relations
416-597-4444 Ext. 2667

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.

For permission to republish this content, please contact the Meridian Credit Union Marketing Department at ©️ 2023 Meridian Credit Union