STUDY: How the pandemic has affected our attitudes towards money

55% say the pandemic has made them realize they need to revisit and rearrange their future financial plans.

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There’s that old saying that money can’t buy your happiness.

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But what does shock do when it comes to your finances?

A new Angus Reid poll called Money Mindset Imprints, commissioned by Canadian financial services institution Co-operators, reveals how such “shock moments,’ such as the COVID-19 pandemic, impacts Canadians approach to their finances, and ultimately, their happiness.

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According to the study, 86% say societal shock moments fundamentally make people more conscious about money and another 55% say the pandemic has made them realize they need to revisit and rearrange their future financial plans.

“I’m not surprised,” said Dr. Gillian Mandich, Canada’s first happiness researcher, scientist, and founder of The International Happiness Institute of Health Science Research.

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“It really does shine a light on the pandemic experience and these shock moments and how much they are really impacting Canadians. It’s really sort of amplified things in a lot of ways, or highlighted things that were going well, are going better and things that were going worse are going even worse or not working at all. The finance piece in particular has really become more in the forefront of people’s awareness than it has been before.”

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Among other poll highlights, 78% say they’re still financially under the unconscious influence of their parents, 69% confess to no proper education on financial security and planning before becoming an adult and 92% say they failed to make the honor roll when it comes to having acting upon their financial goals.

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“The pandemic has sort of heightened everybody’s financial awareness and people are realizing, ‘Oh, wait, I don’t know,’” says Mandich, who has a PhD in health science from London’s Western University.

“Or they’re trying to fit into a box where “If you’re this age and this, this is what you should have.’ And the reality is as unique as everyone of us are, our financial imprint are unique too and that’s why having this personalized approach is so essential when it comes to our finances.”

Unbelievably, 68% still believe that money can most definitely buy happiness.

“We know that buying things, it doesn’t bring us as much happiness as we think it will or for as long,” said Mandich.

“The other piece of it is, we do know from research if we are going to spend money, experiences bring more happiness than material things. And, yet, even at same time, even though we know that, the fact that 68% of people still think that they can buy happiness really highlights the fact that as humans we’re not as good at figuring out what makes us happy as we think we are.”

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Another 45% say they don’t like talking about finances because they think they should be doing better at this stage of their lives and 29% also feel guilt they don’t have their money, investments and insurance policies in order.

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“Financial conversations generally aren’t being had right?” said Mandich. “I think that another area of opportunity we really do have (because of this pandemic) is to start to have conversations about finances be as normal as conversations about the weather.”

METHODOLOGY: The poll was conducted from Sept. 7-9, 2021, with 1,538 online Canadians who are members of the Angus Reid Forum and is accurate to within +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians been polled.

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