Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Average Cdn Spends $760 in Pocket Cash a Month

The Globe and Mail, 17 January 2006

The average Canadian spends $100 on discretionary items every four days, while nearly one person in four can't even make it last 48 hours, a survey released yesterday by Mackenzie Investments suggests.

The survey found that the average Canadian's "burn rate," or how quickly discretionary money is spent, totals about $760 a month.

With the Canadian personal savings rate reported to be in negative territory, experts say that money could be invested, saved or used to reduce debt.

"It's truly time for Canadians to stop living beyond their means and make saving and investing mean something in their lives," states Rhonda Katz, a consultant to Mackenzie Investments.

"It's a simple concept that is continually ignored, and it doesn't mean Canadians should stop spending on things they want and need. Making wise spending choices can help you live comfortably today and when you retire."

The survey found that about 80 per cent of Canadians own a credit card, and of those, nearly half carry a balance -- with the average being $1,710.80.

Atlantic Canadians, meanwhile, were found to be the best at making their money last, while Quebecers spend their cash the fastest, with a quarter reporting they spend $100 in half a day.

"Men and women equally shoulder the blame when it comes to who burns through the most money in their household: 59 per cent of women and 55 per cent of men say they spend the fastest," the study says, noting most discretionary cash is spent on entertainment and dining out.

The telephone survey of 1,500 adult Canadian was conducted between Dec. 6 and 11, 2005. The results are considered accurate within 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.