Inflation, $90 fill-ups, skyrocketing home prices, rising interest rates and steep grocery bills are concerns across the country. But not badly less in Quebec.
Quebecers stand out by displaying the highest level of zenitude in the country when it comes to their personal finances and the rising cost of living.
In the province, 58% of residents say they are concerned about their financial situation. Elsewhere in the country, the average is rather 66%, we learn from a survey conducted by the firm Léger for Option consommateurs unveiled on Tuesday. The highest proportion of people worried (70%) is found in the Prairies.
As for inflation, which is on everyone’s lips, 35% of Quebecers consider that it causes significant stress in their lives. Again, this is lower than the average, which is 42% in the other provinces. In the Prairies, rising prices are stressing markedly… half the population. Phew!
These differences are “significant”, judge Christian Bourque, executive vice-president and partner at Léger. But they are not very surprising. Quebecers have always shown “a small form of recklessness and levity,” he says. An attitude that is part of the personality of the distinct society. And not just in finance.
At the height of the pandemic, Quebecers were less afraid than other Canadians of contracting COVID-19 and they were more in favor of the reopening of schools, gives the example of the expert.
In surveys of satisfaction with businesses, Quebecers “are always more positive”, observes Christian Bourque, who sees it as a “cultural bias”.
These differences were also seen in the results of a survey commissioned by the Royal Bank in January. Canadians were asked if they felt “financially overwhelmed” and if they feared their financial situation would deteriorate in the coming year. The differences between Quebec and the other provinces were staggering.
These results can be attributed to the particular personality of Quebecers, but we must not forget that the province’s economic growth fosters collective optimism. The unemployment rate is at a historic low of 4.1%, and wages jumped in March by 5.5% over 12 months, Statistics Canada told us a few days ago.
I thought that the announcement of a $500 check to 94% of the population by the Legault government could have had an impact on the results of the survey, but no, it was carried out in the weeks before.
The situation, which varies from one province to another, is also reflected in the offices of trustees in bankruptcy, notes Ronald Gagnon, partner at BDO Canada. “My colleagues in Alberta are completely overwhelmed! And those in British Columbia too. The context in Quebec is different, there are fewer insolvency files than a year ago. »
Unequal distribution of worry
In this kind of study, it is always interesting to focus on the figures that led to the average and to dissect them. Because this average hides many disparities, as one can imagine.
Women, for example, are a lot less zen than men. The gaps are 10 points or more.
This is unfortunately the symptom of a number of realities, starting with the fact that women earn less than men. In addition, they are more likely to have to provide for the needs of their offspring.
Having children also has a marked impact on the state of mind and wallet in a context of rising prices.
If inflation affects the less well-off much more, almost no one seems immune to anxieties related to their bank account. In fact, no less than half of Canadians who earn $100,000 or more a year say they are concerned about their financial situation. The level rises to 77% among those whose income does not reach $40,000.
Option consommateurs, which offers free budget consultation services in Montreal, notes that its customers are particularly concerned about the cost of food (+7.4% in February). “We see it when we post on social networks that explain, for example, how to make a grocery basket: people are looking for solutions,” reports its spokesperson Marie-Ève Dumont.
It is indeed the budget item that worries Quebecers the most, according to Léger’s sounding, just ahead of gasoline. Rent, electricity, health, telecommunications follow, in that order, which is pretty much the same across the country.
As for personal debt (without the mortgage or car loan), it is in the distinct society that it worries the least, and by far. Are you surprised?
Does your financial situation worry you more than before the pandemic? Tell us why. Your answer could be published.