Canadians ‘lose sleep’ worrying about money, young adults especially: RBC poll

Lifestyle

Canadians of all ages are feeling the pinch of inflation, but it seems that the current cost-of-living crisis is having a particularly heavy impact on the mental health of younger adults, according to a poll commissioned by RBC.

Forty per cent of Canadian adults reported losing sleep worrying about money — a fact that may not come as a surprise as food bank usage hits an all-time high and more and more Canadians report going into debt to keep their heads above rising waters.


Click to play video: 'Food banks across Canada face unprecedented demand'


Food banks across Canada face unprecedented demand


But looking at responses from just millennials, categorized as ages 27-42 in this poll, that number rises to 53 per cent having a difficult time sleeping, the highest out of all age cohorts. People in generation Z, ages 18 to 26, also reported a high incidence of sleep disruption, at 48 per cent. For gen-Xers, ages 43-58, that number was 43 per cent.

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In fact, people in gen X, Y and Z consistently polled higher than the national average on a range of questions related to financial stress. In many instances, the younger the respondent, the more stressed they were.

The findings come from RBC’s 2023 Canadian Financial Wellbeing Survey, conducted by Ipsos, which surveyed 1,001 Canadians over the age of 18. The survey was weighted to reflect the actual demographics of Canadians, according to census data.

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For both millennials and zoomers, 63 per cent said stressing about money was impacting their mental health, compared with a national average of 48 per cent. A majority of gen-Xers also said their mental health had taken a dive, at 54 per cent.

Similar results were found when Canadians were asked how their personal relationships had been impacted by financial stress. Fifty-nine per cent of millennials and 53 per cent of gen-Zers reported having significantly strained relationships due to money woes, compared with a national average of 43 per cent.

“We know personal well-being is closely tied to financial well-being, particularly for Canadians who are essentially living paycheque to paycheque or are uncertain about what the future holds,” says Neil McLaughlin, group head, personal and commercial banking, RBC.

A report from the Mental Health Commission of Canada following the 2008 recession affirmed that unemployment and financial problems are a key risk for suicide, and when the economy turns down, incidences of depression and anxiety rise.

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The results of the RBC poll mirror the findings of a recent survey by Mental Health Research Canada, conducted between July 27 to Aug. 13. Of the 3,819 adults polled, 39 per cent said economic issues were impacting their mental health.

A staggering 41 per cent of Canadians facing financial hardship said they had considered suicide in the last year.

According to RBC’s findings, certain provinces in Canada seem to be feeling the burden of high prices more than others. People in Western Canada and the Atlantic provinces consistently reported feeling more financial stress compared with the national average, with residents in Ontario and Quebec generally feeling less worried.

Generation X, Y, Z Responses

Response National(aged 18+) Gen X(43-58) Gen Y(27-42) Gen Z(18-26)
Stressing about money is causing me to lose sleep 40% 43% 53% 48%
Stressing about money is affecting my mental health 48% 54% 63% 63%
Finances are causing significant stress in my personal relationships 43% 47% 59% 53%
I would be happier if I had more confidence in my financial future 75% 80% 86% 88%
I think about my money a couple of times every day 30% 31% 41% 34%
My financial situation could be better if I spent more time on it 61% 70% 69% 73%

National and Regional Responses (Canadians aged 18+)

Response NAT’L BC AB SK/MB ON QC ATL
Stressing about money is causing me to lose sleep 40% 46% 39% 50% 39% 37% 44%
Stressing about money is affecting my mental health 48% 53% 49% 59% 46% 44% 57%
Finances are causing significant stress in my personal relationships 43% 46% 46% 42% 36% 44% 65%
I would be happier if I had more confidence in my financial future 75% 80% 73% 80% 75% 69% 86%
I think about my money a couple of times every day 30% 31% 37% 42% 29% 25% 36%
My financial situation could be better if I spent more time on it 61% 59% 53% 50% 60% 66% 81%

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