Nearly half of Canadians unprepared for a financial emergency

By Andrew Rickard | November 25 2016 09:45AM

A survey from the Manulife Bank of Canada shows that nearly half of Canadian homeowners don't have enough money set aside to deal with a financial emergency. On average one in three are already having trouble paying the bills, but Millennial homeowners are in particularly straightened circumstances.

About a quarter of those who took part in the poll have $1,000 or less set aside for an emergency, and another 25% said they did not even know how much emergency savings they have. Of the various age groups, those between the ages of 20 and 34 years reported the lowest median amount of emergency funds with just $3,500.

"Some difficulty" affording their mortgage

On average, the survey reveals that more than one quarter of Canadians' net income goes towards making mortgage payments and 38% homeowners with mortgage debt are having "some difficulty" affording their mortgage, utilities, and maintenance. What's more, one in six respondents would said they would experience financial difficulties should their be any increase to their mortgage payments.

Of all the age groups, Millennials were in the tightest spot; 36% said their mortgage rates are currently too high, compared to just 11% of Baby Boomers, and nearly 40% indicated that their home needed repairs that they that they could not afford.

More comfortable with credit card debt

The Millennials, however, were also more comfortable with credit card debt than other generations, with 31% saying that it is not a "big deal" if they carry a balance from month to month. By comparison, only 24% of Gen X respondents and 21% of Baby Boomers felt the same way.

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