Asset resilience of Canadians, 2019

Canadians were more asset resilient just prior to the pandemic than they were at the turn of the millennium. That resilience continues to be tested as we enter the second year of the pandemic.

For the purposes of this article, a household is asset resilient when it has liquid assets that are at least equal to the after-tax, low-income measure (LIM-AT) for three months.

To be deemed asset resilient in 2019, a person living alone would require liquid assets of approximately $6,000. A household of four would require $12,000 or $3,000 per person to meet the minimum LIM-AT threshold for three months.

Recent Statistics Canada data have shown that savings rose sharply during the pandemic, despite the economic upheaval, and that those in the lower income quintiles have seen their income rise as a result of government support programs, such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

Although the data in this release predate the pandemic, they provide an important benchmark to monitor the economic well-being of Canadian households during a time of unprecedented change.



Increasing education savings for families living on low incomes: An outcome harvest evaluation

Momentum is a changing-making organization located in Calgary, Alberta that works with people living on low incomes and partners in the community to create a thriving local economy for all. In 2008, Momentum launched the StartSmart program to support families living on low incomes to open Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) to access free government education savings incentives such as the Canada Learning Bond (CLB). Momentum subsequently partnered with community agencies and advocated for systems level change in order to reach more families and scale up CLB uptake. 

This report captures the collective efforts and outcomes of Momentum and community partners regarding increasing the Canada Learning Bond (CLB) uptake in Canada, as well as lessons learned.

The report highlights include:

  • Momentum and community partners efforts contributed to more than doubling the CLB uptake rate in Calgary (from 20% to 52%)
  • Through Aspire, Momentum trained over 350 community staff and volunteers from over 80 community agencies to deliver the StartSmart program
  • Policy successes (such as changing social housing rules to accommodate RESP savings) were achieved and some failures (cancellation of the provincial ACES grant) were experienced
  • Policy changes are still required to see significant uptake of the CLB. See Momentum's recent publication Public Policy Options to Better Enable Education Savings by Families on Low Incomes



Make Change that Counts: National Financial Literacy Strategy 2021-2026

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s (FCAC’s) mandate is to protect Canadian financial consumers and strengthen financial literacy. 

The National Strategy is a 5-year plan to create a more accessible, inclusive, and effective financial ecosystem that supports diverse Canadians in meaningful ways. The National Strategy is focused on how financial literacy stakeholders can reduce barriers, catalyze action, and work together, to collectively help Canadians build financial resilience.



Household economic well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic, experimental estimates, fourth quarter 2020

A highlight of some of the findings reported in this briefing:

  • Disposable income declined for most households in the fourth quarter of 2020, with the largest losses for the lowest-income earners (-10.2%).
  • Compensation of employees—of which wages and salaries make up the largest share—was up in the fourth quarter.
  • The most pronounced wage losses were experienced by the lowest-income (-5.3%) and the youngest (-3.1%) households, as many people in these households work in industries or jobs hard hit by the pandemic.
  • There was a decline in COVID-19-specific support measures and a significant rise in EI benefits in the fourth quarter of 2020.
  • Overall consumption expenditure was down in 2020 compared with 2019.
  • Net saving for many households declined as their disposable income decreased and consumption edged up.
  • The debt-to-income ratio increased the most for households in the lowest income quintile.

 



Responding to Client’s “Now, Soon, & Later” Needs

This is a three-part webinar series exploring how practitioners, policymakers, and product developers are supporting the diverse savings needs of LMI households during the ongoing crisis. Solutions that help families save flexibly for short, intermediate, and/or long-term goals that address their current and future needs are discussed.



The Differential Impact of the Pandemic and Recession on Family Finances

This report summarizes the results of a follow-up survey with nineteen low- and modest-middle income Winnipeggers, undertaken in June through September 2020. These respondents were drawn from the 29 Canadian Financial Diaries (CFD) participants who completed a year-long diary in 2019. The results of the survey illustrate that low- and moderate-income earners are feeling stressed with increased expenses and uncertainty about future economic stability.

The TIAA Institute-GFLEC Personal Finance Index (P-Fin Index)

The TIAA Institute-GFLEC Personal Finance Index (P-Fin Index) measures knowledge and understanding that enable sound financial decision making and effective management of personal finances among U.S. adults. The P-Fin Index is an annual survey developed by the TIAA Institute and the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center, in consultation with Greenwald & Associates. It is unique in its breadth of questions and its coverage of the topics that measure financial literacy. The index is based on responses to 28 questions across eight functional areas: earning, consuming, saving, investing, borrowing/managing debt, insuring, comprehending risk, and go-to information sources.



Cross Canada Check-up (updated March 2021)

Canada ranks consistently as one of the best places to live in the world and one of the wealthiest. When it comes to looking at the financial health of Canadian households, however, we are often forced to rely on incomplete measures, like income alone, or aggregate national statistics that tell us little about the distribution of financial health and vulnerability in our neighbourhoods, communities or provinces/territories.

The purpose of this report is to examine the financial heath and vulnerability of Canadian households in different provinces and territories using a new composite index of household financial health, the Neighbourhood Financial Health Index or NFHI.

This report is an update of Cross Canada Check-up: Provincial/territorial findings from Canada's Neighbourhood Financial Health Index published in 2018. 



Household economic well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic, experimental estimates, first quarter to third quarter of 2020

Over the first three quarters of 2020, disposable income for the lowest-income households increased 36.8%, more than for any other households. At the same time, the youngest households recorded the largest gain in their net worth (+9.8%). These changes were driven by unprecedented increases in transfers to households, as the value of government COVID-19 support measures exceeded losses in wages and salaries and self-employment income.

As the pandemic unfolded in Canada, households experienced extraordinary changes in their economic well-being. While quarterly releases of gross domestic product and the national balance sheet provide an aggregate view of these impacts, new experimental sub-annual distributions of household economic accounts (DHEA), released today, provide insight into how the pandemic and the associated government support measures have affected the economic well-being of different groups of households in Canada.



State of Fair Banking in Canada 2020: Borrower and Lender Perspectives

The DUCA Impact Lab defines fair banking as any financial product or service that lives up to the following set of principles:

  • Pricing is clear, transparent, and well understood
  • Pricing is representative of the cost of funds, cost of administration and risk, rather than what the market will bear
  • It is clear to all parties how any personal data is being used by the lender
  • Personal data is only used for purposes agreed to by both the borrower and lender
  • The terms and conditions, including penalties and the rights of each party are clearly explained and well understood by both lender and borrower
  • Products are only recommended that will bring the borrower closer to their expressed goals
  • The borrower is clear on what the institution will do (and not do), with deposits to earn a return
  • The assessment of risk is objective, transparent and not prejudicial
  • Financial institution recommendations are not biased towards in-house product recommendations
  • Products empower consumers when they need access to financial services, not just when they do not

Their Fair Banking 2020 report presents data on the following areas:

  • Debt load and its impact on Canadians
  • Financial confidence
  • Divide between borrowers and lenders
  • How financial products are priced
  • Poor credit and ability to access to financial product and services
  • Demographic snapshot: People of colour and Indigenous Canadians

 



Financial Life Stages of Older Canadians

This study, commissioned by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) and conducted by the Brondesbury Group, provides some insights on the knowledge that older Canadians have about the financial realities of retirement and how they would apply that knowledge earlier in life if they are able to do so. The top financial concerns and main financial risks of older Canadians are identified for each life stage and how they are being managed are discussed.



Encouraging Retirement Planning through Behavioural Insights

This research report identifies behaviourally informed ways that government, regulators, employers, and financial institutions can encourage retirement planning.

Thirty different initiatives and tactics that could be implemented by a variety of stakeholders to encourage retirement planning are proposed, and interventions are organized around four primary challenges people face in moving from having the intention to create a retirement plan to the action of making a plan: (1) it’s hard to start, (2) it’s easy to put off, (3) it’s easy to get overwhelmed and drop out, and (4) it’s hard to get the right advice.

 

The report also includes the results of a randomized experiment that evaluated several of the approaches proposed in the report. This report was published as part of the Ontario Securities Commission’s strategy and action plan to respond to the needs and priorities of Ontario seniors.



Cash Value: How The Financial Clinic Puts Money into the Pockets of Working Poor Families

Practitioners engaged in the nascent field of financial development lack a shared system of tracking and analyzing customer progress toward financial security. Practice leaders—ranging from direct service organizations such as the Chicago-based LISC to NeighborWorks America of Washington, D.C.—define customer progress by their individual outcomes frameworks. But without uniform outcomes measures to assess our customers’ progress—and thus, our own performance—the field as a whole is handicapped. Many factors contribute to this problem, two being most prominent: organizations are grounded in distinct theories of change, are funded by a variety of sources with their own expectations, and lack of clarity about how to measure aspects of our work.

CPA Canada 2020 Canadian Finance Study

Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) has released its comprehensive Canadian Finance Study 2020, which examines people's attitudes and feelings towards their personal finances. The results highlight the new financial realities that Canadians are experiencing during these unprecedented times.

Nielsen conducted the CPA Canada 2020 Canadian Finance Study via an online questionnaire, from September 4 to 16, 2020 with 2,008 randomly selected Canadian adults, aged 18 years and over, who are members of their online panel.

Among the key pandemic-related findings:

  • 31 per cent of the participants say their income has decreased as a result of COVID-19.
  • 30 per cent of respondents report COVID-19 has reduced the amount they are saving.
  • 21 per cent of pre-retired respondents reveal they now plan to retire later as a result of COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 also is impacting the way survey participants are spending, with 55 per cent saying they are spending less, on average.
  • Nearly half of the respondents (46 per cent) say that their financial situation is about the same as it was a year ago.
  • 77 per cent of those surveyed are not receiving a COVID-19-related benefit from the federal government.



Inter-generational comparisons of household economic well-being, 1999 to 2019

This study of data from the Distributions of Household Economic Accounts compares households' economic well-being from a macro-economic accounts perspective, as measured by net saving and net worth for each generation when the major income earner for a household in one generation reached the same point in the life cycle as the major income earner for a household in another generation. The study finds that while younger generations have higher disposable income and higher consumption expenditure than older generations when they reached the same age, their net saving is relatively similar. As well, younger generations' economic well-being may be more at risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic since they depend more on employment as a primary source of income, they have higher debt relative to income, and they have less equity in financial and real estate assets from which to draw upon when needed.



Strengthening the Economic Foundation for Youth and Young Adults During COVID & Beyond

The unemployment rate for young workers ages 16–24 jumped from 8.4% to 24.4% from spring 2019 to spring 2020 in the United States, representing four million youth. While unemployment for their counterparts ages 25 and older rose from 2.8% to 11.3% the Spring 2020 unemployment rates were even higher for young Black, Hispanic, and Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) workers (29.6%, 27.5%, and 29.7%, respectively. 

The following speakers discuss how to build financial security for youth (16-24) in this webinar: Monique Miles, Aspen Institute, Forum for Community Solutions, Margaret Libby, My Path, Amadeos Oyagata, Youth Leader, and Don Baylor, The Annie E. Casey Foundation (moderator).



Financial Literacy and Wellness Among U.S. Women: Insights on Underrepresented Minority Women

The 2020 TIAA Institute-GFLEC Personal Finance Index (P-Fin Index) survey was fielded in January 2020 and included an oversample of women. This enables examining the state of financial literacy and financial wellness among U.S. women immediately before the onset of COVID-19. A more refined understanding of financial literacy among women, including areas of strength and weakness and variations among subgroups, can inform initiatives to improve financial wellness, particularly as the United States moves forward from the pandemic and its economic consequences.



Financial wellness: What is it? How do we make it happen?

Achieving financial wellness takes more than just financial resources. It also requires the ability to make good financial decisions and engage in sound money- management practices. To inform policies and programs that promote financial wellness—including those sponsored by employers—the TIAA Institute and the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center held a roundtable discussion featuring a range of experts. This report presents the key findings and recommendations that emanated from the discussion. To learn more about the roundtable itself, visit TIAA Institute events page.



G20/OECD INFE Core Competencies Framework on financial literacy for Adults (aged 18+)

This document describes the types of knowledge that adults aged 18 or over could benefit from, what they should be capable of doing and the behaviours that may help them to achieve financial well-being, as well as the attitudes and confidence that will support this process. It can be used to inform the development of a national strategy on financial education, improve programme design, identify gaps in provision, and create assessment, measurement and evaluation tools.



Pressure Creates Diamonds: Money Management During Coronavirus

The town hall with CFPB Director Kraninger and Pro Linebacker Brandon Copeland includes steps, and tools to help people plan and persevere during financial challenges.

The page also includes access to free resources on a number of topics including mortgage help, dealing with student loans, paying bills, building savings and more.



Race, Ethnicity, and the Financial Lives of Young Adults: Exploring Disparities in Financial Health Outcomes

Young adults of color, particularly those who are Black and Latinx, have borne a disproportionate share of economic hardship, as decades of systemic racism have made their communities more vulnerable to the effects of these crises. This report shares new data on the financial lives of young adults, focusing on Black and Latinx young adults, in order to inform policies, programs, and solutions that can improve financial health for all.