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Living cheque to cheque? You're not alone

More in Manitoba than rest of Canada

Debt is a growing problem for Manitobans, and many hold significant credit card debt.

RYAN REMIORZ / THE CANADIAN PRESS ARCHIVES

Debt is a growing problem for Manitobans, and many hold significant credit card debt.

If you feel like you've got a financial gorilla on your back whichever way you turn, welcome to Manitoba.

There are more employed people in the Keystone province living cheque to cheque (69 per cent) than anywhere else in Canada, new research from the Canadian Payroll Association released Wednesday found.

That's significantly higher than the national average of 51 per cent and up from the province's three-year average of 55 per cent.

It gets worse.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/9/2014 (1108 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

If you feel like you've got a financial gorilla on your back whichever way you turn, welcome to Manitoba.

There are more employed people in the Keystone province living cheque to cheque (69 per cent) than anywhere else in Canada, new research from the Canadian Payroll Association released Wednesday found.

That's significantly higher than the national average of 51 per cent and up from the province's three-year average of 55 per cent.

'People have to learn to live within their means. There's only so much you can spend. Manitobans (have) lost the ability to save'— Charlie Spiring, Winnipeg-based vice-chairman of National Bank Financial

It gets worse.

Manitoba is also tied with Atlantic Canada at 58 per cent for the highest percentage of employees who are spending every penny they earn — or more.

And that's affecting their ability to save for their golden years. Manitobans are predictably nowhere near reaching their retirement goals. The CPA said 84 per cent of employees in the province have put aside less than one-quarter of the nest egg they believe they will need when they finally retire, compared with the national figure of 75 per cent.

And while debt can be daunting for anybody, it's particularly so in Manitoba, where 60 per cent of employees feel they are "overwhelmed" by debt, against 39 per cent across the country.

Makes those month-long trips to the Caribbean and the Greek islands you've dreamed about seem a lot farther away, doesn't it?

Charlie Spiring, Winnipeg-based vice-chairman of National Bank Financial, said he was a little surprised by the the numbers in Manitoba, but wasn't shocked by the trend lines.

"People have to learn to live within their means. There's only so much you can spend. Manitobans are part of the problem; they've lost the ability to save," he said.

But as bleak a picture as the CPA paints, your destiny doesn't necessarily include having rain barrels in your closet where clothes used to be.

"Those who are trying to save but finding it hard to succeed should consider directing a portion of net pay into a separate savings account and/or a retirement savings program," said CPA president and CEO Patrick Culhane. "They can speak to their organization's payroll practitioner to arrange this."

Spiring agreed and said every financial adviser worth his or her salt will recommend going through your monthly expenses and cutting out the luxuries while leaving the necessities intact.

"You've got to pay yourself first. If you want to be a saver, you've got to put aside something, whether it's two per cent of your income, five per cent or 10 per cent," he said.

It's never too late to start, either.

"It takes 10 years to learn how to play the piano, so if you missed yesterday, start today. It's the same principle with your RRSP. Start now," he said.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

How do you compare to the statistics on how Manitobans handle their money? Join the conversation in the comments below.

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History

Updated on Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 6:39 AM CDT: Adds question for discussion

7:04 AM: Adds charts

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