Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

What do high-school grads think they'll be making by 30?

Vadymvdrobot/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Recent high-school graduates are looking at their financial futures through rose-coloured glasses, according to a new survey of 17- to 20-year olds.

The average respondent expects to be raking in about $90,000 a year by the age of 30. And 73 per cent of those surveyed think they'll be homeowners by the same age.

The British Columbia Securities Commission published its National Report Card on Youth Financial Literacy on Monday. More than 3,000 Canadian high-school grads were surveyed.

Story continues below advertisement

According to Statistics Canada data, their expectations are far removed from reality. StatsCan 2006 census data reveal that the average income of 25- to 29-year olds with post-secondary degrees is $31,648 – just over a third of what the Securities Commission survey respondents said they expect to make. As for where they live, StatsCan estimates that only 42 per cent of 25- to 29-year olds are home owners.

Just how young Canadians expect to achieve their goals are unclear. While 60 per cent of respondents to the B.C. survey said they thought it was important to create a written financial plan, only 12 per cent actually have one.

Less than half of those surveyed remembered taking a high-school course that covered personal finance topics. British Columbia and Alberta grads were most likely to have taken such a course, while Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario grads were the least likely.

"The financial realities that we face as Canadians indicate that there is a lot at stake in educating young Canadians to be financially prudent," said Brenda Leong, B.C. Securities Commission chair, in a news release.

The study's results coincide with the start of Financial Literacy Month in Canada.

Do you think young adults have unrealistic expectations of their financial future?

Report an error Editorial code of conduct Licensing Options
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to