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SMART MONEY: Focus on finances to avoid stress: CICA survey

A lot of unnecessary stress could be eliminated with a greater focus on personal finances, according to a national survey conducted for the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA).

A significant number of respondents wished they were better at reviewing their finances and saving money. In fact, about half (47%) of those surveyed spent less time reviewing and evaluating their personal finances than they felt they should and 24% of the respondents stated they sometimes buy things they cannot afford.

Sixty-one per cent of all survey respondents admitted to having money worries. However, when focusing on just those individuals who occasionally buy things they cannot afford, a much greater number (82%) expressed concern about their finances.

“Financial decisions do matter, so it pays to invest time and energy into managing your personal finances,” explained Kevin Dancey, the association’s president. “Canadians who display discipline when it comes to money management experience less stress.”

The encouraging news is that 67% of all respondents wished they were better at saving and almost everyone surveyed (96%) felt that developing and sticking to a budget is essential for responsible money management.

More than three-quarters (77%) of survey respondents have developed a household budget but only 32% of those with a budget always stick to it. Not surprisingly, those who closely monitor and follow their budget are less likely to be stressed; 46% of respondents who always stick to their household budget still experienced some money worries but that percentage jumped sharply to 65% among those who do not have a budget or occasionally spend beyond their budgeted limits.

“The survey results sent a clear message,” noted Dancey. “Saving more, spending less and developing a budget and sticking to it will go a long way in providing some peace of mind.”

The national survey was commissioned by the CICA to determine ways it can continue to play an active role in helping Canadians learn more about personal finances. The Institute has published A Parent’s Guide to Raising Money-Smart Kids, a book designed to put parents at ease when preparing their children for life’s important financial decisions.

 

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