When asked to classify themselves as either a
spender or saver, 55% of Canadians said they were spenders, versus 46% who
said they were savers. However, in digging a little deeper into Canadian
savings habits it was revealed that even spenders save regularly: 55% of
Canadians said they save regularly while many practice the most common sense
approach to saving, ‘paying yourself first’. Almost forty percent (38%)
indicated they use some form of automatic plan to save their money.

Contrary to the opinion that Canadians are no longer savers, a new
research study released today by ING DIRECT reveals that good, old fashioned
savings habits are alive and well in Canada. And whether we realized it or
not, those healthy habits were nurtured during our upbringing.

Fifty-six per cent of Canadians said they were raised in a family that
encouraged saving versus spending (10%). Of those that were raised to be
savers, more than half (54%) feel they are still good savers today, versus
less than a third (31%) who were brought up in homes where spending was more
prevalent. The research conducted online by Ipsos-Reid surveyed 1,582
Canadians with a bank account at a financial institution.

The research also revealed that 57% of respondents opened their first
savings account before they reached their 15th birthday. And, 43% indicated
their mothers or fathers were most influential in teaching them about saving

Despite the good habits that are practiced by many, the survey also
reveals that not all Canadians are taking advantage of some very practical
ways to save. For example, only 72% have a savings account. Furthermore, of
those that do have a savings account, almost half (48%) do not have one that
pays a high-interest rate of 3% or more. In fact 32% said they save using a
chequing account. Another sixty-one per cent of Canadians feel that they pay
more in service charges than they receive in interest.

“We were the first to offer the Investment Savings Account in Canada and
have been encouraging all Canadians to save their money for more than a
decade,” said Mark Deep, Head of Marketing at ING DIRECT. “While we’re
encouraged the message is getting through to many, we know we still have a lot
of work to do in helping Canadians understand the value in having a
high-interest savings account that has no fees, service charges or minimums.
Regardless of how much people are able to save or what they’re saving for,
there are many ways to make the most of the money they have. It was surprising
to learn that many Canadians are still saving using low rate savings accounts
and chequing accounts which pay virtually no interest with fees that eat away
at any interest they earn.”

The survey also revealed what Canadians are saving for. For example, 58%
indicated that they were saving for retirement followed by travel (38%), a
vehicle (25%) and a house/condo (24%). And contrary to the spending culture we
often hear about, 57% of those surveyed said they save for the things they buy
and only buy if they have the money to pay for it (56%) versus the 20% who
believe in buying now and paying later.

“Thirty-four per cent of respondents told us it’s getting harder for them
to save and almost half said they want to save more but don’t have enough
money left over,” said Deep. “But there are some encouraging signs. When we
asked if they were prepared to make any changes to their lifestyle to help
them save money, many indicated that there were several small things they
could do to save more. Simple things like not buying that morning coffee every
day or eating out less often can easily generate a few extra dollars in
savings every month. Add an account with a great interest rate, and no fees,
and then you’re really saving your money.”

Signs You’re a Good Saver

– You have a regular, automatic transfer set-up into a savings or
investment account. (38% of respondents)

– You save regularly. (55%)

– You save up for the things you buy. (57%)

– You make time to think about and plan for your savings goals. (53% of
people have time)

– You have a high-interest savings account, with no fees or minimums
that pays at least 3% interest. (35% of those with savings accounts)

Signs Your Saving Habits Need Help

– You live by the phrase, “Buy now. Pay later.” (20% of respondents)

– You don’t have a savings account. (28%)

– You don’t have a savings account that pays high-interest. (48%)

– You use your chequing account to save. (32%)

– You pay more in fees than you receive back in interest. (61% of
Canadians believe this to be the case)

– You don’t have enough time to think about or plan for your savings
goals. (17%)

– You don’t save – regularly (25%), at all (11%).