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Finances top Canadians’ worries in pandemic era

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Nine months after a Toronto man became the first COVID-19 case reported in the country, Canadians continue to deal with a host of uncertainties brought on by a global pandemic that has affected so many aspects of daily life.

Their biggest worry? Money

“Money has long been a leading source of stress for Canadians,” says Wendy Brookhouse, a Certified Financial Planner, money coach and founder of Black Star Wealth in a Halifax, N.S. “Even in the midst of COVID-19, public health emergency money – not personal health or relationships – remains the main cause of stress for most Canadians.”

The 2020 Financial Stress Index by FP Canada supports Ms. Brookhouse’s observation. Based on the survey of more than 1,500 respondents across the country, the Financial Stress Index points to money as the number one worry for nearly 40 per cent – or four in ten – of Canadians, and the cause of sleepless nights for half of the adult population.

By comparison, only 25 per cent of Canadians cited personal health as the top stressor. Twenty-one per cent said work was their biggest source of stress; 16 per cent of respondents cited relationships as their biggest source of stress. The survey also found that women were much more likely to lose sleep over money than men.

“What’s important to note about financial stress is that it affects so many other areas in our lives – it affects our relationships, our physical and mental health, and our ability to focus on our work,” says Ms. Brookhouse, whose firm provides financial planning services to Canadians. “That’s why it’s important to address financial stress with a plan that maps out what you need to do based on your particular situation, and how you’re going to do it.”

Finding a Financial Planner

A critical first step in building this plan is finding a professional financial planner.

“When you engage a financial planner, you’re getting a partner who’s trained to look at everything in your life that affects and is affected by your finances,” says Graham Plumb, a QAFP professional and founder of Moola Financial Coaches and Advisors Inc., in Victoria, B.C. “A financial planner moves you forward into creating a step-by-step action plan that covers everything from budgeting, saving, spending, investing and wealth planning.”

A common misconception is that financial planners only serve wealthy clients, notes Mr. Plumb. The reality, he says, is that financial planners work with a diverse range of people – from new graduates starting their first job to retired Canadians enjoying the rewards of a lifetime of hard work and thoughtful financial planning.

“A financial planner can help create a plan of action for every level of income and every stage of life,” says Mr. Plumb. “We’re not just about investing; a good financial planner can help you make the right decisions about your mortgage, your life insurance, and even how you can better budget for groceries and other household expenses, so you’ll have more money left over to save.”

The ultimate benefit of working with a financial planner, says Mr. Plumb, is peace of mind. That’s certainly what FP Canada’s Financial Stress Index suggests: among survey respondents who work with a professional financial planner, close to 55 per cent said financial stress does not affect their lives at all.

“Canadians today are dealing with so much uncertainty, and we know that uncertainty and the unknown can really magnify feelings of stress and anxiety,” says Mr. Plumb. "When you work with a financial planner, you can focus on the priorities most important to you and build a plan that takes into account every aspect of your financial life. This also gives you the confidence you need about your financial future.

For the full Financial Stress Index white paper, visit

Advertising feature produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.