Majority of Canadians struggle to discuss financial issues

Survey highlights a growing need for increased transparency in financial matters

Majority of Canadians struggle to discuss financial issues

A new survey has found that over half of Canadians struggle to discuss financial problems with their loved ones. The ‘Debt Stigma Survey’ by BDO Debt Solutions shows that 56 percent of respondents find it challenging to broach financial topics with friends and family.   

“Most people find it very difficult to talk about debt and the financial challenges they’re facing, let alone the strategies for overcoming debt,” says Nancy Snedden, national leader at BDO Debt Solutions. “As a result, a lot of people who are struggling feel lost and isolated, making their situation even more stressful.”   

The survey says that 38 percent of those surveyed, who had no intention of discussing their debt, cite fear of judgment, shame, or embarrassment as their primary concerns. Privacy concerns are a worry for 35 percent of respondents, while 31 percent are afraid that discussing their finances might make others think they are seeking money. Additionally, 29 percent express concern about burdening their loved ones.   

Canadians apprehensive about debt 

The survey also finds that Canadians between the ages of 18 and 34 are most apprehensive about their debt, with 64 percent expressing concerns, in contrast to 40 percent of those aged over 55.   

For the younger demographic, the reluctance to discuss financial issues, including debt, is often attributed to knowledge gaps and low financial literacy regarding debt management concepts, affecting nearly one-third of respondents (32 percent).   

Eighty-six percent of those who found it most challenging to discuss financial issues would have difficulty admitting that they couldn't afford their grocery bill. Among this group, 85 percent say they would struggle to confide in family and friends about their excessive debt and request assistance.   

“The results of our [survey] clearly affirm a sense of shame and embarrassment among those burdened with affordability challenges and debt,” says Snedden.    

But despite these difficulties, the survey highlights a growing need for increased transparency in financial matters. An overwhelming 89 percent of respondents stated they would inform their family and friends if they couldn't participate in an event due to budget constraints.