Canadians ranked money as their greatest stress (more than their personal health, work and relationships) according to the latest Financial Stress survey commissioned by FP Canada. The Leger survey, a follow-up to a similar FP Canada study in 2014, asked 1,106 Canadians (excluding Quebecers) about their financial stresses. Even more than in 2014, Canadians report suffering emotional stress resulting from their financial situation.


The survey found that four-in-10 Canadians (41%) ranked money as their greatest stress, and that more than half of Canadians (51%) are embarrassed about lacking control over their financial situation, a sizable increase from 2014 (44%). Younger Canadians and those earning less than $80K per year are significantly more likely to be embarrassed about lacking control over their financial situation.

From “keeping up with the Joneses”, to literally losing sleep over financial worries, Canadians weighed in on what makes them a bundle of nerves when it comes to personal finances.

Here are some of the survey’s other standout findings:

  • Women (vs men), Canadians age 18-64 (vs those 65+), and Manitobans/Saskatchewanians (vs all other provinces) are significantly more likely to report they have lost sleep over financial worries.

  • Nearly half (48%) of Canadians say they have lost sleep because of financial worries.

  • One quarter (23%) of Canadians feel pressure to keep up with their friends’ or colleagues’ financial status, with millennials (age 18-34) most likely to feel pressure (52%, or nearly double the national average), and families with children in the household (38%).

  • 83% of Canadians have at least one financial regret, with wishing they had saved and invested more money at the top of the list, followed by wishing they had bought real estate or land, and wishing they had done more schooling.


“Many people feel like they have no control over their financial situation, whether because fretting about money has become an ingrained habit, or as a result of not having a solid plan in place regarding what they bring in and how they manage it,” said author, personal finance educator and FP Canada’s Consumer Advocate, Kelley Keehn.

“If you are feeling stressed about money and need help figuring out appropriate actions towards your goals, it’s best to seek out expert assistance, just as you would for your physical health. A Certified Financial Planner® professional will work with you to achieve your goals, supporting you in your journey to conquer your financial stress no matter your situation.”

Neuropsychologist weighs in on financial stress


“Money is inextricably interwoven into all aspects of our lives, and managing it effectively is a modern survival skill,” said Dr. Moira Somers, Ph.D., C.Psych, a clinical neuropsychologist specializing in mental and financial well-being. “So, when things are not going well for us financially, we tend to use up a great deal of our brainpower finding solutions or ways out of our dilemma. If the stress is prolonged, it can be quite exhausting, and can even cause temporary reductions in IQ and problem-solving abilities. Speaking to a CFP professional is a good way to develop clarity about the contributors to your financial stress. Once realistic plans are in place to address real or imagined shortfalls both for now and the future, stress tends to settle quickly.”

The full results of the Financial Stress survey can be found here.


About the Financial Stress survey

Leger conducted a survey of 1,106 Canadians (excluding Quebecers) completed between March 30 to April 2, 2018 using its online panel, LegerWeb. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-3%, 19 times out of 20. Leger’s online panel has approximately 400,000 members nationally―with between 10,000 and 20,000 new members added each month―and has a retention rate of 90 percent.

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For more on how to plan for a stress-free future, read 5 tips to fight anxiety about money, and How financial stress can affect your life and health and watch Your million-dollar plan.