Canadian families: Spending today or saving for tomorrow?

New research for President's Choice Financial® looks at the "new normal" for Canadian family finances

TORONTO, Nov. 13, 2012 /CNW/ - Research released today by President's Choice Financial® provides a revealing snapshot of the "new normal" when it comes to the household finances of Canadian families. While an overwhelming majority still manage to save for the future, many say they have also had to cut back on both spending and saving since the economic downturn of 2008.

The survey, conducted by Leger Marketing as part of an ongoing research series about Canadian families launched earlier this year by President's Choice Financial®, found that 43 per cent of Canadians report that since 2008 they have had to spend less, while 36 per cent say they have managed to save less. Despite the challenging economy, 9 out of every 10 Canadians report that they do have some form of savings—although 72 per cent also acknowledge they also carry some form of debt.

"This research tells us that for many Canadian families, ensuring everyday quality of life has to be very carefully balanced with looking to the future," said Barry Columb, President of President's Choice Bank. "While definitely concerned about tomorrow, many people are also focused on making the most of their money today."

Four main types of spenders and savers in Canada

Over half of all Canadians surveyed say they are more concerned about saving for the future than on spending money to enjoy today. Meanwhile, nearly one quarter (24 per cent) of Canadians say they "live for today" and "don't worry about tomorrow." The study also determined that Canadians typically fall into four main "archetypes" when it comes to financial attitudes and behaviours: Practical Spenders, Practical Savers, Aspirational Savers and Aspirational Spenders.

"It's clear that many Canadian families go out of their way to manage their money the best they can, but they still face a difficult juggling act," says Kathy Buckworth, Chief Family Advisor for President's Choice Financial®, herself a mother of four. "PC Financial can help manage the competing demands of spending and saving with products like their no fee bank account that allow Canadian families to collect and redeem PC points for practical items such as free groceries."

According to the survey results, Canadians generally fall into one of the following categories*:

  • Practical Spenders: 30 per cent
    • More likely to spend on practical items or services that will benefit their families in the short term, but are more interested in spending today than in saving for the future;
    • Focused on "here and now," everyday financial concerns; and
    • More likely to have a "live for today and not worry about tomorrow" attitude.
  • Practical Savers: 22 per cent
    • More likely to spend on practical items or services that will benefit their families today, but are more concerned about saving for the future than on enjoying the here and now;
    • Focused on the everyday, yet say they face more financial challenges than other Canadians; and
    • More likely to prefer smaller, more frequent rewards in challenging economic times.
  • Aspirational Savers: 17 per cent
    • More likely to save up for big dreams that will benefit their family in the future;
    • More concerned about saving than spending money for short-term rewards or benefits; and
    • Consider themselves financially stable.
  • Aspirational Spenders: 7 per cent
    • More likely to save up for big dreams that will benefit their families in the future, such as a big expensive vacation;
    • Still concerned about spending money today than in saving for the future though; and
    • More likely to consider themselves better savers than their parents were.

A further 14 per cent of Canadians are considered to be "divided spenders" and 11 per cent are "divided savers," meaning that they do not fall neatly into one of the four groups.

*See Infographic for a complete profile for characteristics of each archetype. 

About the survey
The President's Choice Financial survey was completed online using Leger Marketing's online panel, Leger Web, with a representative sample of 1,502 Canadians. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of ± 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. Four distinct groups of Canadian consumers were created by combining their answers to two questions that asked about their spending and saving habits.  These four groups were then evaluated against each question in the survey to determine their attitudinal, behavioural and demographic characteristics.

President's Choice Financial
President's Choice Financial services are a unique financial service offering designed by Loblaw Companies Limited. The President's Choice Financial MasterCard is provided by President's Choice Bank, while banking services are provided by the direct banking division of CIBC.  For more information visit or follow us on Twitter @pcfinancial

About Loblaw Companies Limited (TSX: L)
Loblaw Companies Limited, a subsidiary of George Weston Limited, is Canada's largest food retailer and a leading provider of drugstore, general merchandise and financial products and services. Loblaw is one of the largest private sector employers in Canada. With more than 1,000 corporate and franchised stores from coast to coast, Loblaw and its franchisees employ more than 135,000 full-time and part-time employees. Through its portfolio of store formats, Loblaw is committed to providing Canadians with a wide, growing and successful range of products and services to meet the everyday household demands of Canadian consumers. Loblaw is known for the quality, innovation and value of its food offering. It offers Canada's strongest control (private) label program, including the unique President's Choice®, no name® and Joe Fresh® brands. In addition, the Company makes available to consumers President's Choice Financial® services and offers the PC® points loyalty program.

Image with caption: "How have Canadian families changed their spending and saving habits since the economic slowdown? President's Choice Financial's new family finance survey looks at the 'new normal' and what is means for Canadian families and their everyday finances. (CNW Group/President's Choice Financial)". Image available at:

SOURCE: President's Choice Financial

For further information:

For more information or to schedule an interview: 

Michelle Reidel
President's Choice Financial

Irene Poon,
Argyle Communications
416.968.7311 Ex. 246

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