Speaking Honestly, We’re Not Talking About Our Financial ResponsibilitiesMar 27, 2015
The idea of having an honest discussion about our financial responsibilities can be a stressful one for many Canadians; whether you are having difficulty with debt or are right on track with your finances. In fact, in a recent survey from BDO Canada Limited and Ipsos Reid, we discovered that half of Canadians are not always truthful when talking about their financial responsibilities. The level of dishonesty can range from white lies to exaggerations to outright dishonesty.
What are we being untruthful about in regards to our financial responsibilities?
- Ability to manage a financial emergency (51 per cent)
- Retirement plan (48 per cent)
- Lifestyle, entertainment, vacation affordability (47 per cent)
- Credit cards (46 per cent)
According to our poll results, all age groups admit to bending the truth about their finances, however, the group at the top of the list is middle-aged Canadians. 35 to 54 years old have a multitude of financial pressures to deal with on a day-to-day basis. If you are part of this age group, you may be raising a family while also caring for senior parents. You may be trying to put money aside for your children’s post-secondary education and for your own retirement. All of these financial responsibilities can be daunting to say the least. This could be a contributing factor to why middle-aged Canadians are the group most likely to be dishonest when discussing their personal finances. According to our poll, 55 per cent said they weren’t always truthful with family and friends when talking about financial responsibilities.
Our poll revealed a number of reasons that Canadians are dishonest about their finances. The top reason being that individuals are trying to protect loved ones from stress or worry. Although there may be many different reasons for avoiding the conversation, not talking about finances and debt can quickly lead to financial trouble for 35 to 54 year olds. Middle-aged Canadians are typically experiencing their peak earning years; this is the time they’re reaching their highest earning potential. Being able to save for their retirement, pay down debt, and stay afloat during a financial emergency is critical in order to avoid larger financial issues now and down the road.
You need someone in your life that you can have an open and honest discussion about finances without fear of shame, judgment, and other negative stigmas that our consumerist society has indirectly created around asking for financial help. This person could be your spouse, a parent, a family member, a close friend. Find someone who you are comfortable with.
The bottom line is that we need to start talking about all things related to our financial responsibilities. Have you put funds aside for an emergency? Do you have a plan in place for retirement? What’s the best way for you to work on paying down your debt? As you’re working through these issues, if you find you need assistance, don’t be afraid to ask for advice from a financial advisor or a debt relief professional. For example, a Trustee in Bankruptcy can talk to you about debt help and debt relief options, budgets, credit card debt, and more. The more actively we engage in discussions around these topics the more educated we will become, and we can begin to develop plans for a brighter financial present and future.