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Stress levels higher today than start of pandemic

Cost-of-living, mental health, COVID restrictions among top stressors

Nearly half of Canadians (48 percent) are more stressed to start 2022 than they were during the first lockdowns in 2020.

However, job insecurity (41 percent) is not among their top concerns, according to a survey released by licensed insolvency trustees Bromwich+Smith.

Overall, Canadians are worried about the following:

  • Inflation and cost-of-living (84 percent)
  • physical and mental health (70 percent)
  • COVID restrictions (66 per cent)
  • being able to save money (63 percent)
  • managing expenses (54 percent)
  • managing debt (47 percent)
  • job insecurity (41 percent)
  • housing insecurity (35 percent)

Sixty-eight per cent of Canadians plan to increase travel spending and 57 per cent say they would return to pre-pandemic spending levels on social activities, according to a previous Canadian Payroll Association (CPA) survey.

Age differences

However, these worries are far more common among the younger generation compared with the older groups, finds the survey of 1,519 Canadians in January.

Specifically, 18- to 34-year-olds (88 per cent) and 35- to 54-year-olds (87 per cent) are far more concerned about cost-of-living than those aged 55 and up (78 per cent). Physical and mental health are also bigger concerns for younger workers (79 per cent and 72 per cent) than older ones (61 per cent) along with saving money (73 per cent and 69 per cent) compared to older ones (50 per cent).

Job insecurity and housing insecurity are also far bigger concerns among those aged 18 to 34 (53 per cent and 51 per cent, respectively) and those aged 35 to 54 (46 per cent and 37 per cent, respectively) compared with 55-year-olds or older (26 per cent and 22 per cent, respectively).

One in 10 Canadians with credit card debt say that they will need more than five years to pay it off, with another 35 per cent saying they will need between up to five years, according to a separate report from CPA.

Many would also be impacted by rising rents in Canadian cities (37 per cent), a reduction in hours/pay at work (29 per cent) and changes, reductions or repayments to government supports (28 per cent), finds Bromwich+Smith.

Canadians are overwhelmed and certainly fatigued by the numerous economic and life/health challenges being thrown their way,” says Laurie Campbell, director of client financial wellness at Bromwich + Smith. “I can’t imagine a bigger need for financial relief than living through this global event

Helping employees

Employers have a role to play in helping workers with financial wellness. And employees should have on their radar these five trends that will impact employees’ financial wellbeing this year, according to Brin Chartier, director of marketing at LearnLux, a provider of trusted financial wellbeing for the workplace:

  • building emergency savings
  • navigating cashflow changes
  • choosing the right health insurance / voluntary benefits
  • preparing for big life events
  • saving for retirement

Nearly one in three (32 percent) of organizations are accelerating their strategy to improve the financial wellbeing of employees ─ but 25 percent are decelerating that strategy, according to a previous survey by Willis Towers Watson.

Visit The American Institute of Stress

By Jim Wilson

Original post The Canadian HR Newswire