One-third of Canadian respondents to a new survey admit their financial plans include counting on a future injection of good luck, either by winning the lottery or receiving a large inheritance.
The poll commissioned by Credit Canada Debt Solutions and Capital One Canada found that nearly two in 10, or 18 per cent, of those polled say they believe winning the lottery will contribute to their financial plan, while one in 10 say they expect a large inheritance to help out.
"It's troubling to see so many Canadians putting more trust in the lottery than sound financial planning, but I see the effects every day in our agency," said Laurie Campbell, CEO of Credit Canada Debt Solutions.
"Canadians need to recognize that there is no magic solution to gaining control of their finances. It means hard work and sticking to a budget determined by income."
The survey comes as Canadian household debt sits at an all time high and other reports indicate many Canadians are realizing they have not saved adequately for retirement.
It also found that more than two-thirds of those asked have felt anxious or lost sleep thinking about their finances in the past year and another two-thirds admitted to spending beyond their monthly budgets.
Rob Livingston, president of Capital One Canada, said the findings support the need to ramp up financial literacy programs.
"Overspending is a real issue for many Canadians and even though they know what to do, a quarter of us are still not confident we can stick to a monthly budget."
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has been pushing Canadians to better understand their finances since creating a federal financial literacy task force in the 2009 budget.
At the same time, however, the Bank of Canada has held its key lending rate — which forms the basis for banks' prime rates for lending — at one per cent for last 17 consecutive rate announcements, which has contributed to an unsustainable run-up in home prices and risky levels of household debt.
In a recent revision, Statistics Canada has placed household credit market debt at 163 per cent of income, about the level reached in the United States before the housing crash of 2007-08.
The online survey of 822 Canadians was conducted by Mark Binns Consulting between August and September.
The polling industry's professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.