Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Fewer Manitobans broke by payday: survey

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FEWER Manitobans are living paycheque to paycheque, but a high percentage of them are spending beyond their means, according to a new survey by the Canadian Payroll Association.

In a report released Wednesday, the CPA said 42 per cent of the employed Manitobans who responded to an online survey said they're living paycheque to paycheque. That's down from 53 per cent in 2012.

It was one of lowest rates in the country, second only to Quebec's 24 per cent, and was the same as the national average.

Manitoba also boasted the highest number of employees trying to save more money, at 77 per cent. That's up from 68 per cent a year ago and was nearly 10 percentage points higher than the national average of 68 per cent.

Only 37 per cent of Manitobans said they save less than six per cent of their pay. That's the second-lowest rate in the country and eight points better than the national average, the association said.

Along with the good news, there were some sobering numbers coming out of Manitoba.

For example, the province had one of the highest rates of people who are spending all or more than their net pay, at 47 per cent, the association said. The only region with a higher rate was Atlantic Canada at 53 per cent. The national average was only 40 per cent.

Also, 74 per cent of Manitoba respondents said they've saved less than a quarter of their retirement goal. That's up from 67 per cent a year ago, but was nearly on par with the national average of 73 per cent.

CPA board member Edna Stack said while Manitobans are doing better than some people in other provinces when it comes saving money and spending within their means, there is room for improvement.

She noted financial planning experts say Canadians should be setting aside at least 10 per cent of their pay for retirement savings. In Manitoba, 37 per cent are setting aside less than half that amount, the survey found.

Stack said one of the best ways to save more money is through payroll deductions, where a specified amount is deposited directly into a savings account each payday.

"You don't miss what you don't have," she said.

The association said it's "disturbing" that 47 per cent of Canadians age 50 or older (they didn't do a provincial breakdown) are less than a quarter of the way to reaching their retirement savings goal.

It's especially disturbing when the survey also shows there's been a marked increase in what Canadians consider an adequate nest egg, with 35 per cent now saying they'll need between $1 million and $2 million, the CPA said.

A year ago, only 28 per cent said they'd need that much.

"Many Canadians know they have to save more," said CPA board chairwoman Charmaine Marsden. "In fact, not saving enough is the top reason cited in the survey for having to work beyond their planned retirement date."

The CPA said 2,863 employees responded to the online poll, conducted between July 26 and Aug. 16.

The polling industry's professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population like traditional telephone polls.

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 12, 2013 B8

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