Canadian Manufacturing

Nearly half of working Canadians in worse financial position due to COVID-19: survey

Facing high stress levels amidst global economic uncertainty, employees are seeking financial guidance

October 28, 2020  by CM Staff

(Bunditinay/Adobe Stock)

TORONTO — Manulife Investment Management announced the results of its Financial Stress Survey of Canadians, revealing the weight financial stress is having on workers and its impact on employers. The survey shows financial stress has increased this year and the pressure and uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis has compelled people like never before to seek guidance on financial planning.

The 2020 survey includes respondents in both Canada and the United States and captures similar sentiment across the two countries.

“Given the upheaval experienced in 2020 to-date, it’s no surprise that retirement savers are more stressed today than they were pre-COVID,” said Sue Reibel, global head of retirement, Manulife Investment Management, in a prepared statement. “The silver lining in this year’s data is that people are more open to financial advice than in years past. In this environment, when faced with managing multiple pressures, stress is high and responsibilities are piling up, and retirement investors are looking for a trusted source of advice when it comes to navigating their finances.”

The pandemic’s impact on financial stress is evident and significant. In fact, the number of individuals reporting high levels of financial stress more than doubled from 11% pre-COVID to 27% since the crisis struck. Based on today’s realities, including roughly 51% of Canadians dipping into their emergency savings or increasing credit card balances since the beginning of the pandemic, only one-third of survey respondents feel their situations will improve in the coming year. Further, while only 44% of respondents reported experiencing financial stress prior to the pandemic, the number grew to 67% following the outbreak.

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Simultaneously, the survey results reveal an increased interest in receiving advice from professionals both on retirement saving and investing. In Canada, more than half of the respondents indicated they were interested in retirement planning and investing advice. Nearly three-quarters of U.S. respondents reported that they would seek advice on retirement planning, up from two-thirds of respondents in 2019. When it comes to investment advice, 63% responded they would seek it out in 2020 versus 50% in 2019.

“This year has challenged employers and employees alike to do business and work in novel ways,” added Brett Marchand, Head of Canada Retirement, Manulife Investment Management. “Employers are in a unique position to support their employees, including alleviating financial stress and offering advice and guidance, which employers can provide through a holistic financial wellness offering.”