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Nearly one-quarter of Canadians say that embarrassment would keep them from seeking financial help

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Corporate / Pension/Retirement / Canada

Nearly one-quarter of Canadians say that embarrassment would keep them from seeking financial help

LifeWorks Financial Wellbeing Index™ reveals that younger Canadians are more likely to indicate that emergency savings are unnecessary

LifeWorks, a leading provider of digital total wellbeing solutions, today released its quarterly Financial Wellbeing Index™ (FWI) report, revealing a continued negative financial wellbeing score among Canadians.

Key findings

  • The fall 2021 financial wellbeing score is -2.3 compared to the pre-pandemic benchmark.
  • Following two periods of improvement, the financial wellbeing score declined in fall 2021 (compared to -1.6 in summer 2021 and -2.2 in spring 2021).
  • Women continue to have significantly lower financial wellbeing scores than men. This quarter, the financial wellbeing score for women is -4.1, compared to -0.6 for men.
  • Financial wellbeing scores drastically improve with each age group. The least favourable score is among those 20 to 29 (-12.6) while the most favourable score is among those 70 to 79 (+9.8).
  • Stigma associated with financial wellbeing is deterring Canadians from seeking support, with nearly one-quarter (23 per cent) indicating that embarrassment would keep them from seeking financial advice and this group’s financial wellbeing score is -15.6, well below the overall average of -2.3.

Self-stigma related to financial issues is higher than self-stigma related to mental health

  • Nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of Canadians indicated that they would feel negatively about themselves if they were in a poor financial situation. This demonstrates that stigma for financial issues is higher than stigma related to mental health, as in comparison, only 36 per cent of Canadians reported they would feel negatively about themselves if they had a mental health issue in the February 2021 Mental Health Index™.
  • This quarter, the research shows that 39 per cent of Canadians reported that they believe they would be negatively judged by their work peers if they were aware of their financial issues, while 35 per cent reported that they would be concerned about the impact to their career if they were in a poor financial situation and their workplace was aware.
  • In the past 12 months, the majority (70 per cent) of Canadians have not met with a financial advisor, despite 19 per cent indicating an increased need for support with retirement planning and 13 per cent indicating a need for help with investing.

Comments from Idan Shlesinger, president, retirement and financial solutions and executive vice president
“Financial stigma is a prominent issue for working Canadians and is one that every employer should be concerned about at both an individual and organizational level. Managing finances and establishing healthy financial wellbeing can be stressful during the best of times, and especially so during challenging times such as these. While many Canadians would benefit from speaking to an advisor about their financial state, many are expressing hesitancy, which is leading to a self-stigma that is impacting mental health and overall wellbeing. It is critical for employers to understand that every employee has a unique financial situation and to provide proactive access to tailored resources, employee assistance programs and one-on-one digital solutions – such as MyFinances – to ensure all employees have the support they need. This will be the key to organizational success throughout 2022 and beyond.”

Majority of Canadians report the necessity of emergency savings, with level importance decreasing by age group

  • Canadians under the age of 40 are twice as likely as those over the age of 60 to indicate that emergency savings are not necessary.
  • Among all Canadians, however, two-thirds (67 per cent) report that three or more months of emergency savings is necessary. This group has a financial wellbeing score of +3.6, nearly six points above the national average.
  • Seven per cent reported that they do not believe emergency savings are necessary. This group has a financial wellbeing score of -17.3, which is 15 points below the national average.
  • Individuals without emergency savings are nearly three times more likely to need help with debt management than those with emergency savings.

Comments from Paula Allen, global leader and senior vice president, research and total wellbeing
“Financial wellbeing continues to increase in importance for employees, with many making a clear connection between emergency savings and financial security. This quarter’s research, however, demonstrates that despite increased financial risk and a gap in financial knowledge, Canadians are hesitant to seek advice from financial professionals. This creates an opportunity for employers to get employees the support they need. As we look to the future, ensuring employees feel supported and secure in their financial situation in both the short- and long-term is critical.”

The full Financial Wellbeing Index™report can be found here. This quarter, the report includes additional insights on the impact of employees’ financial state on productivity, the areas of financial wellbeing that Canadians require support, the financial wellbeing impact of meeting with a financial advisor and more.

About the Financial Wellbeing Index™
The Financial Wellbeing Index™ by LifeWorks was conducted through an online survey in English and French from December 3 to December 14, 2021, with 3,000 respondents in Canada. All respondents reside in Canada and were employed within the last six months. The data has been statistically weighted to ensure the regional and gender composition of the sample reflect this population. The Financial Wellbeing Index™ is published quarterly, beginning January 2021, and compares against benchmark data collected in 2019.

About LifeWorks
LifeWorks is a world leader in providing digital and in-person solutions that support the total wellbeing of individuals. We deliver a personalized continuum of care that helps our clients improve the lives of their people and by doing so, improve their business.


Heather MacDonald

Jennifer Farr
Kaiser & Partners

Source: LifeWorks