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Debt and Affordability: A Challenge for Canadian Women

The survey results are in and the findings may surprise you. According to our recent Affordability Index poll, Canadian women are finding affordability and debt a greater challenge than any other groups.

The primary focus of this poll is to understand the spending habits, motivations, challenges and the impact of debt, to examine how affordable life is in Canada. Overall findings suggest that Canadians, as a whole, are finding it difficult to get by and are likely to rely on things like credit cards in order fill in any financial gaps. In fact, 3 in 10 Canadians admit that they don’t have enough money to meet their basic needs.

How affordability affects Canadian women

Women, in particular, are finding affordability a challenge. Poll results show that 73 per cent of women have trouble when it comes to saving for retirement (versus 65 per cent of male respondents). Women also report finding it difficult to save for a major purchase and afford the costs associated with transportation. Our poll also found that women carry heavier debt loads than men.

Affordability and debt are also causing women to delay certain financial goals and milestones. 62 per cent of women surveyed indicated that they felt either ‘poorly’ or ‘terribly prepared’ to purchase a home. 51 per cent of women also felt that they were not financially prepared to have children.

Why women are feeling a tighter financial squeeze

Why are women feeling the affordability challenge more than men? Although there are many factors at play, the gender pay gap may be one reason. Depending on the industry and education level, the gender pay gap does still exist in Canada, which means that women, in some cases, are still earning less than men for the same work. Studies show that this gap in labour can cost some women up to $16,000 per year.

How to take control of your debt

Based on the results of this poll, it’s important for women to focus and take control of their money and debt. Checking out women-centric financial blogs, such as Golden Girl Finance is a great place to start for motivation and inspiration. Other online resources and tools are also available including articles and tips on how to manage your money and deal with debt or a debt options calculator.

A budget is another great tool to help regain financial balance. Creating a personal budget is quite easy and there are online budgeting apps available that make it easier to stick to the budget created.

If debt is overwhelming, consulting a debt relief professional, such as a credit counsellor or Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) also represents a good way to regain control. Debt relief professionals focus on working with their clients to find the right debt relief strategy and provide guidance and support as that strategy is implemented.

What are your thoughts on women, affordability, and debt? Join the conversation and share your ideas using hashtags #DebtSolutions #PaychequeToPaycheque #WomenAndMoney.

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