Pandemic leaves many Canadians in good financial shape: survey
VANCOUVER -- The pandemic has been hard on many folks but a lot have prospered, saving more money than ever. A Scotiabank/Maru Blue survey of more than 1,500 Canadians shows many have developed good financial habits that they plan to continue.
“By and large Canadians are sitting on record amounts of deposits that many have probably never seen in their lifetime,” said D’Arcy McDonald, Scotiabank senior vice-president of Canadian banking.
Forty-six per cent said they have been able to save more money during the pandemic than in a typical year and nearly an equal number say they plan to keep it up.
“What we were thrilled and surprised to see was that many Canadians expect to maintain their positive spending behaviours learned through the pandemic,” McDonald added.
According to the survey, 36 per cent plan to continue to limit discretionary spending even after the pandemic is over, 34 per cent plan to do more research before spending money and 28 per cent will keep building up their emergency savings account.
What will they do with their money when the pandemic is over?
The survey shows travel is top of mind and surprisingly Canadians are looking to book cruises in 2022. Group travel is also right up there along with destination weddings and gatherings with friends and family.
“Demand is definitely increasing,” said Allison Wallace, vice-president of corporate communications for Flight Centre Travel Group. “We’ve seen lots more calls and a lot more people testing the waters to see what’s available.”
Restaurants that struggled will benefit too. The survey shows that dining out is on the wish list of spending priorities but do not expect consumers to go wild.
“I don’t think those deposits will be unleashed quickly,” indicated McDonald.
Canadians have become used to having a financial cushion and while they will spend again, they can expect to pay more as prices rise to meet demand.
It's anticipated airfare will go up.
“As we’re getting to the fall we’ve seen U.S. bookings for flights go up,” said Wallace.
Rental car prices in the U.S. have increased dramatically, in many cases more than doubling. Many companies that sold vehicles to weather the pandemic storm are now having trouble meeting demand.
Wallace says she has heard of people paying up to $800 to book a rental car for a just a few days. Canadian rental car prices have not seen those types of increases but as summer approaches, they may go up.
Mexico and the Caribbean are the most popular destinations with Canadians and Wallace says they are still offering deals but it will not last.
“They want to get travellers back but we think that’s going to change over the next couple of months pretty quickly,” she added.
Group bookings are also filling up quickly as people plan to gather with family friends.
However, Canadians will not be so quick to part with their money and will likely be a lot more careful where they spend it.
“Although the pandemic has taught us many things, I think we’ve learned some good financial habits, which is unexpected,” said McDonald. “I think all of us should feel proud that coming through a fairly challenging time for Canada that we’re emerging strong on the other side of this.”