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Financial insecurity gripping more Sask. residents

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A new RBC survey suggests many Canadians face increasing financial uncertainty, as dwindling savings begin to hamper future financial security.

"For most people, financial uncertainty has become the new normal," Craig Bannon, director of regional financial planning support at RBC, said.

"About half of them have never been more stressed out about money."

According to the survey, 81 per cent of respondents in Saskatchewan would like to save more money but can't because of rising costs. Saskatchewan and Manitoba led the country in this regard, compared to 77 per cent nationally.

Saskatchewan was also among the most concerned about inflation as 73 per cent of respondents said if inflation continues into 2024, they're concerned they won't have enough money to cover unexpected costs.

Jasmin Brown, a partner and insolvency expert at BDO Debt Solutions, noticed a significant increase in people seeking out ways to solve their debts in July, and business is remaining steady.

"This is the wave that we had been expecting," she said. "Now it's going to be like this for a while because we're in this perfect storm of things that are happening."

With high inflation, increased cost of living and affordability issues converging, she's seeing the mental toll financial insecurity is having in Saskatoon.

"People find the paper side — that going through it — to be a little bit overwhelming. If you need help with that kind of thing, there is help available," Brown said.

Brown and Bannon say the best place to start is creating a budget and a plan. Either seek out a financial planner or take a diligent look at your finances to get a better handle on your financial outlook.

"A plan that gives you that flexibility to adjust along the way and see how decisions you're able to make will affect your future plan," Bannon said.

Brown says mortgage renewals tied to interest rate hikes are limiting people's ability to pay off other debts. Private creditors are also increasing efforts to collect debts.

She said the Canada Revenue Agency is also pursuing people for smaller debts it normally wouldn't pursue, which is further compounding financial stress.

With no end in sight, she doesn't see business slowing anytime soon.

"There's a lot of factors that make things financially difficult for people and until those are back under control, and even for a while after that, I think we'll still continue to see these big numbers of people that need help," Brown said.

Bannon says more than one-third of Canadians don't have an emergency fund, further weakening their financial flexibility, and nearly a quarter of respondents in Saskatchewan say they would need to come out of retirement if inflation continues into next year.

The survey, commissioned by RBC, polled 1,508 Canadian adults online between June 20 and 23. The poll can’t be assigned a margin of error because online surveys are not considered truly random samples.

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