1 in 5 Manitobans Feel Little Control Over Their Financial Situation: Manitoba Financial Literacy Forum Survey

Winnipeg, Manitoba (November 19, 2015) – One in five Manitobans say that there is little they can do to control their financial situation, according to a new survey from the Manitoba Financial Literacy Forum.

The survey, conducted by Prairie Research Associates, also revealed:

  • 15 per cent of Manitobans believe that they would put off dealing with their money problems
  • 11 per cent say they do not know who or where to turn to solve a financial problem
  • 8 per cent feel that they do not know how to make good financial decisions

The results indicated that half of Manitobans do not consider themselves to be fully confident in their financial behavior, with many people desiring access to information and tools that can help them understand their finances, track their spending, create household budgets and improve their ability to work with a financial professional.

These findings are being used by the Manitoba Financial Literacy Forum to create a benchmark for the current state of financial literacy in the province. This is the first survey of its kind to focus exclusively on Manitoba, and its results will inform the Forum’s future programming and projects.

“Learning how Manitobans understand their own financial situation and behavior is an important first step for the Forum,” says Cynthia Duncan, co-chair of the Manitoba Financial Literacy Forum. “We’re finding that many people want to improve their financial skills, and we’re committed to connecting them to the resources that can set them up for lifelong success.”

Manitobans can learn more about money management by visiting ManitobaFinancialLiteracy.com. The website, operated by the Manitoba Financial Literacy Forum, maintains a large collection of free tools and information to help guide people toward making responsible financial decisions at every stage of their lives.

The Manitoba Financial Literacy Forum is one of the province’s largest not-for-profit coalitions of organizations and individuals working to promote financial education and skills to Manitobans, represented by stakeholders from the public, private, financial services, credit counselling, and voluntary sectors, as well as individuals, and families and labour organizations.

The survey results cited are compiled from a random sample of 600 Manitobans 18 years of age and over between April 9 to 29, 2015. The results were weighted to better reflect the population. A probability sample of this size would yield results accurate to ± 4.1%, 19 times out of 20.

Media Contact Information:

Cynthia Duncan Co-chair, Manitoba Financial Literacy Forum 204-925-7420, ext 7405

Backgrounder: Key Findings of the Financial Literacy Survey of Manitoba

Generally, Manitobans under 30 and those in lower income households tend to have fewer financial products; less experience keeping up to date with financial products and information; and are generally less confident about finances in general. Other groups that appear to be less confident in financial behaviour are those who: have lower household incomes, are not homeowners, are not employed, and self-identify as Aboriginal.

There are three categories of respondents based on the Financial Behavioural Index: those who are Confident, Somewhat Confident, and Least Confident in their financial behaviours. The Least Confident represent about 1 in 7 Manitobans; they are most likely to have lower household incomes, to not be employed, to not own their home, and to have been, on average, exposed to fewer financial products. The Least Confident segment is also much more likely to report having real financial problems and having no saving to deal with an unexpected financial need.

There is some desire for information about finances, especially among those who are the Least Confident in their financial behaviour. Those are particularly interested in information, especially on tracking spending and budgeting. However, this desire is not simply for those who are inexperienced. Those who follow a budget are just as interested in information about budgeting as those who do not have a household budget.

Although many non-retirees have started the process of planning for retirement, fewer know how much they will need for retirement, yet many are very or somewhat confident they will have enough income when they retire. This shows some paradoxical thinking by Manitobans, as many may be basing their beliefs about retirement on an estimate or simply trusting that others (advisors, planners, etc.) are planning accordingly.