Focus on personal finances to avoid stress: CICA survey

TORONTO, November 8, 2012 – A lot of unnecessary stress could be eliminated with a greater focus on personal finances, according to a national survey conducted for the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA).

A significant number of respondents wished they were better at reviewing their finances and saving money. In fact, about half (47 per cent) of those surveyed spent less time reviewing and evaluating their personal finances than they felt they should and 24 per cent of the respondents stated they sometimes buy things they cannot afford.

Sixty-one per cent of all survey respondents admitted to having money worries. However, when focusing on just those individuals who occasionally buy things they cannot afford, a much greater number (82 per cent) expressed concern about their finances.

“Financial decisions do matter, so it pays to invest time and energy into managing your personal finances,” explained Kevin Dancey, FCA, president and CEO, CICA. “Canadians who display discipline when it comes to money management experience less stress.”

The encouraging news is that 67 per cent of all respondents wished they were better at saving and almost everyone surveyed (96 per cent) felt that developing and sticking to a budget is essential for responsible money management. 

More than three-quarters (77 per cent) of survey respondents have developed a household budget but only 32 per cent of those with a budget always stick to it. Not surprisingly, those who closely monitor and follow their budget are less likely to be stressed. Forty-six per cent of respondents, who always stick to their household budget, still experienced some money worries but that percentage jumped sharply to 65 per cent among those who do not have a budget or occasionally spend beyond their budgeted limits.

“The survey results sent a clear message,” noted Dancey. “Saving more, spending less and developing a budget and sticking to it will go a long way in providing some peace of mind.” 

This is financial literacy month in Canada. The CICA firmly believes that helping Canadians develop financial knowledge is critical to Canada’s ongoing economic strength and prosperity. 

The national survey was commissioned by the CICA to determine ways it can continue to play an active role in helping Canadians learn more about personal finances. The Institute has published A Parent’s Guide to Raising Money-Smart Kids, a book designed to put parents at ease when preparing their children for life’s important financial decisions.

Additional resources are available through a CICA website dedicated to financial literacy ( 

The survey was conducted by Harris/Decima Inc. via telephone between March 29 and April 16 with a national random sample of 1,000 adult Canadians aged 18 years and over and is considered accurate to within ± 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20. A summary report is available online (

Note: Additional findings from the national survey were issued in July 2012 and can be found online at

Chartered Accountants (CAs) are Canada's most valued, internationally recognized profession of leaders in senior management, advisory, financial, tax and assurance roles. Through their integrity, expertise, and internationally recognized qualification standards, Canada's 82,000 CAs sustain their influence and leadership position both in Canada and globally. As trusted business advisors to Canadian organizations of all sizes, Canada’s CAs foster confidence in Canadian business and contribute to the health and sustainability of Canada’s capital markets and economy. The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) represents Canada’s CA profession both nationally and internationally. The CICA is a founding member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and the Global Accounting Alliance (GAA).

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For more information or to arrange an interview, contact: 
Tobin Lambie, Manager, Media, CICA 
(416) 204-3228

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