A survey from the National Payroll Institute published today reports that 37 per cent of Canadians are “financially stressed”. I like the term “strapped” which has a another kind of connotation. Even more startling is that the figure is up from 17 per cent last year. Given some behavioural patterns that I’ve witnessed lately whether it being the traffic in overpriced bars, taverns and restaurants or reciprocation patterns with my clients (I’m a tax accountant)…something is up and it’s not good.
The thing that I find most bizarre is what people are willing to pay for the “wants” in life while neglecting fundamentals like tax. It could be the Trump effect that people start to believe that if “he can do it, maybe I can do it too”. Have you seen what Mountain Equipment COOP is charging for bicycles? This isn’t even the elite bike shop. Then there is the temptation for the winter vacation escape which is not within the budget of pre-tax dollars of business people with variable income and debt.
It’s really hard to have empathy when people fail to adhere to a written household budget. Now the big spenders enticed by lifestyle clad in $128 Lululemon tights may need to join their brethren at food banks due to rising housing costs and interest rates. Calgary’s rate of attendance at food banks is astonishing – also reported today by “Calgary Foundation”. Apparently 1 in 4 Calgarians now cannot meet their basic needs.
Somewhere along the line…somebody wasn’t listening when grandparents were sharing stories of hard ship and lessons learned.