Omicron increases financial anxiety in British Columbia, survey finds

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Nearly half of British Columbians say they are not confident they will be able to cover their expenses in the next year, according to a new poll. Despite growing financial anxiety, the number of B.C. respondents attracted to retail nearly doubled from a year earlier

Nearly half of British Columbians say they are not confident they will be able to cover their expenses in the coming year, according to a new poll.

According to an Ipsos survey conducted quarterly on behalf of national accounting firm MNP Inc., the number of people who believe they cannot cover the cost of living has jumped 10 percentage points since the last quarter.

Meanwhile, more than 40% of British Columbians said they were worried about their level of debt, and 21% said they thought it had gotten worse over the past year.

“Now, as we approach two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, British Columbians are increasingly concerned about household debt,” said Linda Paul, Licensed Insolvency Trustee of MNP based in the Lower Mainland, in a written statement.

Paul added that people often take a dim view of their finances over holiday bills. But this year, the Omicron variant, rising inflation and potential interest rate hikes all seem to have an additional psychological impact.

Less than a third of respondents said they were confident they could cope with “life-changing events” without taking on more debt.

British Columbians also seem less confident in their ability to weather relationship turmoil: While 32% of respondents last quarter said they could handle a change in relationship status, that proportion dropped to 26%.

Another 19% said they could cope with the death of a family member (down 3%), while only 17% said they could afford education (down 6%). %).

When it came to British Columbians’ confidence in how they would cope financially with an illness that put them out of work for three months, a third said they would not be able to handle it.

“For BC households whose budgets have been strained during the pandemic, it is becoming increasingly difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” added Paul.

“As we navigate another wave of business closures, reduced working hours or job loss and COVID-related health issues, many may find themselves vulnerable to any changes to their budgets.”

The poll comes as projections for the cost of rentals rise in British Columbia’s largest city.

A national rent report ranking the most expensive cities to rent in Canada puts Vancouver at the top of the list, with the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment climbing to $2,176 in January, up more than 13% from compared to the previous 12 months.

Rentals.ca’s report places the cities of Victoria and Coquitlam 14th and 15th on the pan-Canadian list, with one-bedroom apartments averaging more than $1,560 for the two communities.

These rising costs contribute to a situation where roughly one in two British Columbians surveyed by IPOS said they are $200 or less short of not making ends meet.

British Columbians are the most likely in Canada to believe their debt situation has gotten worse: Since September, the number of BC residents who said their debt situation was worse than at one year rose six points to 21%.

But that hasn’t stopped many from spending freely. More than any province, 15 per cent of British Columbians said Black Friday deals and offers appealed to them, nearly double from a year ago.

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