Financial Portrait of Quebecers under 45

First Edition - summer 2023
To paint a financial picture of the younger generations of Quebecers, WelcomeSpaces conducted a survey with 1000 participants aged 18 to 44. The survey focused on 3 aspects: everyday financial literacy, personal finances, and their opinion on finance-related issues. A worrying glimpse of the reality and challenges faced by future generations.
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Key Highlights

Financial Illiteracy

Average score on the financial literacy quiz
Failure rate on everyday financial questions

The State's Fault?

consider the financial education they received at school unsatisfactory
wish that the ministry of education would do more

Financial Anxiety

respondents claim to experience significant financial anxiety

What the heck are taxes?

Don't understand the basic rules of consumption taxes

Living in Financial Denial

The least financially anxious have the worst quiz scores, pay off their credit cards less, don't budget and don't have a financial advisor.

The less we know, the better off we are... or the deeper we sink?


1 out of 2 respondents manage their finances without a budget

Gender Gap

Contribution to RRSP or TFSA last year
of women
of men
Can't manage to pay their credit card balance each month
of women
of men

Doing More for Our Planet

are in favor of an environmental tax to reduce consumption and inflation
place importance on ESG funds in their investments

The 25-34 Year Olds, Our Environmental Conscience

In all matters relating to the environment, the 25-34 year-olds stand out with their desire to do more: reducing consumption, environmental taxation, ESG.

ChatGPT will Wait

prefer human over Artificial Intelligence when it comes to getting financial advice

Objective and Methodology

The survey aimed to provide a financial portrait of those under 45 in Quebec in order to better understand the reality of young people in relation to their personal finances and to roughly evaluate their basic knowledge of finance. In July 2023, WelcomeSpaces conducted a study consisting of three parts:

  • Financial Literacy: a questionnaire to evaluate the basic knowledge in finance that an adult will need throughout their life.
  • Opinion on Finance: opinion questions on topics related to finance
  • Personal Finances: questions about the state of their personal finances

In total, 1000 participants aged 18 to 44 were reached online to respond to the survey. Margin of error ±3%.

Questionnaire: Financial Literacy

Methodology - questionnaire

The questionnaire consisted of a total of 25 multiple-choice questions, each worth 4 points, for a total of 100 points. The participants were quizzed on their basic knowledge in various areas, such as:

  • Personal Taxation
  • Consumption
  • Public Finance
  • Personal Finance (credits, insurances, etc)
  • Residential Real Estate
  • Saving and Investment

Summary - questionnaire

👉 The average score obtained by the participants is 62%.

  • Men have an average score of 65%, compared to 61% for women.
  • Participants with a university degree have a score of 65%, compared to 53% for those without a degree or with a lower-level diploma.
  • The 18-24 age group has an average score of 55%. 40% failed!

Les questions financières de la vie courante étaient simples mais près de 35% n'ont pas réussi à obtenir la note de passage. Ce manque de connaissances financières a un impact quotidien sur cette cohorte, tant au niveau de la prise de décision que de la planification. En outre, cela les prive d'importants avantages fiscaux et de stratégies financières.

Here are some examples of missed questions:

  • From what income threshold do we pay provincial tax in Quebec? 43% failed this question and 50% among those under 30.
  • 33% of respondents do not know what compound interest is.
  • Only 53% chose the correct definition of Consumer Price Index. A concept that should be mastered by the majority as it directly impacts personal finances.
  • 1 in 3 people couldn't choose the correct definition of Gross Domestic Product.
  • 68% do not know the cost of the premium paid to CMHC when buying a property.
  • 43% do not know the percentage of the purchase price that is necessary to avoid paying a premium.
  • Although it's the default marital regime in force in Quebec, 57% do not know what a partnership of acquests is.
  • In a question aimed at identifying which among 5 food products is taxable, only 44% identified the correct one.
  • Less than 43% know the maximum rate of income eligible for an RRSP contribution.

Conclusion - questionnaire

We see a similar failure rate across all categories: consumption, personal finance, public finances, personal taxation, real estate or investment. Although men did slightly better, we mainly noticed an improvement in results correlated with age advancement. This tends to show that financial knowledge is mainly acquired through experience.

Percentage results of the questionnaire according to age group
Percentage results of the questionnaire according to age group

Opinion and Personal Finances

Methodology - Opinion and Personal Finances

In order to better understand the financial concerns of those under 45, we asked them a series of opinion questions and the results are astonishing 🤯

😱 Financial Anxiety

→ How would you rate your financial anxiety:

  • 55% answered "high" to "very high". (51% male, 59% female)

→ Is your financial anxiety higher or lower than this time last year?

  • 40% answered "higher than last year"
  • 37% for those under 30, 42% for those 30-44

📖 General Knowledge

→ How do you consider the financial education received during your academic journey?

  • 80% answered unsatisfactory (35%) or very unsatisfactory (45%)

→ Agree or disagree with the following statement: "The Ministry of Education should incorporate more financial education into the academic course."

  • 79% agree with the statement

→ What financial topic interests you the most?

  • 42% chose personal finance, however, there is a marked difference with those under 30 who prefer real estate and the green economy.
Percentage of respondent's topics of interest
Percentage of respondent's topics of interest

🌎 Environmental Awareness

→ Do you attach importance to investing your savings and retirement funds in investments that meet ESG criteria?

  • 72% consider it important or very important
  • women agree more than men (76% women/ 65% men)

→ Agree or disagree with the following statement: To slow down the economy, reduce inflation, and protect the environment, the government should adopt environmental taxation and avoid interest rate hikes.

  • 66% responded they somewhat or completely agree

→ Agree or disagree with the following statement: I am motivated to lessen my impact on the environment by reducing my consumption and supporting ecological initiatives in order to protect our planet.

  • 77% responded they agree

🧠 Artificial Intelligence

→ Do you trust artificial intelligence to advise you on your personal finances?

  • 65% do not trust AI to advise them.
  • Interestingly, the 30-44 age group trust AI more than those under 30. (74% of those under 30 answered no, compared to 58% for the 30-44 age group)

→ When it comes to personal finances, do you prefer human advice or Artificial Intelligence?

  • 82% prefer human advice

💰 Financial Habits

→ Have you contributed to your TFSA or RRSP in the past year?

  • 61% answered "yes".
  • Notably, 79% of participants with a university degree have contributed.
  • 69% of men and 55% of women have contributed, representing a 14% gender gap.

→ How long did it take or do you plan it will take to save the necessary amount to buy a first property?

  • On average, the participants answered 6 years and 4 months. The differences by subgroup are not significant.

→ Do you budget or use a tool to do it?

  • 50% answered affirmatively.
  • 59% for university graduates, compared to 45% for those with a lower-level diploma.

→ Are you able to pay the full balance of your credit card each month?

  • 40% of respondents are not able to pay their full balance.
  • This situation seems to affect women more (45% of women / 31% of men). The difficulty does not seem to be related to age.
  • In terms of education, 25% of university graduates compared to 50% for other types of graduates.
  • 58% of respondents who are unable to pay their balance do not budget, compared to 44% of respondents who are able to.

💡 The Impact of the Financial Advisor

In general, we note that respondents who have a financial advisor are better financially organized, control their credit better, and are more educated. They also have better financial knowledge and the difference is notable.

Surprisingly, when asked about their level of financial anxiety, 60% of respondents with an advisor indicated a high or very high level, compared to 52% of respondents without an advisor.

→ Do you use the services of a financial advisor to help you?

  • Only 36% of respondents answered yes.
    (50% university graduates / 25% non-university graduates)
  • Interestingly, 70% of respondents with a financial advisor manage to pay their credit card balance, compared to 54% for those without one.
  • 69% of respondents with an advisor make a budget VS only 40% for those who do not have one.
  • Less than 20% of respondents with an advisor failed the literacy quiz VS an average failure rate of 35%.

→ Who is your favourite "business" public personality?

Respondent's choices when asked about their favorite "business" public personality
Respondent's choices when asked about their favorite "business" public personality

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