While the global recession hasn't hit Canada as hard as it has the United States and Europe, it is still a financial wake-up call for many citizens of the True North. Credit scores, savings and student loan debt are hot topics among Canadians, but you might not know how your financial status compares to that of your fellow citizens. Take this quiz to find out how you measure up against other Canadians and learn the facts behind the statistics. (For more, see Canada's Commodity Currency: Oil And The Loonie.)
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1. What is your employment status?
If you chose A, your employment status is the same as 92% of workers that participated in a Canadian Payroll Association survey. Only 5% of workers report being employed part-time and less than 1% are self-employed. The unemployment rate in Canada is 8%.
2) How much of your income do you save?
A) 15% or more
B) Between 1-5%
C) Between 6-10%
If you chose B, you are saving just as much as the average Canadian. Of Canadians polled, 47% save between 1-5% of their paycheck. Twenty-five percent of Canadians are putting away 6-10% of their earnings, while 18% of Canada's working-class citizens are saving 15% or more each pay day. The economic uncertainty has convinced 60% of Canadians that they need to save more than they were a year ago.
3) What is your credit score?
A) Higher than 300
B) Lower than 500
C) Higher than 700
If you chose C, then your credit score is in the same range as most Canadians. The national average is 720. Credit scores in Canada range from 300 to 900.
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4) What is your household debt load?
A) Less than $30,000
B) Less than $50,000
C) More than $90,000
If you chose C, you have the same debt load as many Canadians. In 2009, the debt to income ratio was the highest it has ever been at 145%. The average Canadian household has about $96,000 of debt. Nearly 60% of Canadians say they would be squeezed if they missed just one week of pay.
5) How much student loan debt do you have?
A) Less than $15,000
B) More than $15,000
C) More than $25,000
It you chose A or C, you are paying the same amount as the average Canadian who pursued post-secondary education. According to the Canadian Council On Learning, the average debt load of university graduates in 2009 was $26,680. College students graduated with an average of $13,600 in student debt. (To learn more, see Should You Consolidate Your Student Loans.)
6) On what do you spend most of your post-tax income?
If you chose A, your expenditures match those of the average Canadian. Canadians spend an average of 20% of their income on shelter and related expenses. Transportation takes up 14% of the annual budget while Canadians eat away 10% of their income on food.
7) How many credit cards do you have?
If you chose A, your stack of credit cards is the same size as the average Canadian, with 3.1. According to Stats Can, there are 74 million credit cards in circulation in Canada. Half of Canadian credit card holders do not pay their monthly balance. (For more, check out 6 Major Credit Card Mistakes.)
8) What is your annual household income?
A) More than $40,000
B) More than $50,000
C) More than $60,000
If you chose C, you are earning as much as the average Canadian household. Families of two or more earn a median after-tax income of $63,900. Incomes are highest in Alberta with the post-tax median at $77,200 (as of 2008).
The Bottom Line
The knowledge of where you rank with other Canadians can serve as a guide to your financial strengths and weaknesses. (Interested in how you stack up against your neighbors to the south? Check out The Average American Finance Quiz.)
For the latest financial news, check out Water Cooler Finance: The Post-Stimulus Slump.
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