Culture & Entertainment

Financial forecast: Young Canadians to be worse off financially than their parents

By: Stephanie Zolis
Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

Financial forecast: Young Canadians to be worse off financially than their parents

By: Stephanie Zolis
Young Canadians to be worse off financially than their parents It's no secret that young Canadians are facing adverse economic conditions and professional challenges. Coming out of a recession, the job market hasn't been kind to the ambitious yet inexperienced set. Unemployment rates are stable, but underemployment is rampant for the recently graduated. Competition for the limited jobs that are available is fierce. Meanwhile, inflation has driven the cost of living up, while salaries, particularly entry-level, have remained stagnant over the past decade. Factor in the burden of student loans and, for many, living with parents is the only way to get by. Being a 20-something, I know the plight of these hungry Canadians. I graduated in 2008, the year of the global economic meltdown. Luckily, I found employment in my field of study within two months of graduating. For that, I've always been grateful. But that's not to say that it's been smooth sailing for me. I have six years of post-secondary education, a bachelor of arts and post-graduate certificate under my belt. I took on two unpaid internships during my journalism studies. And when I earned my first paying job, my starting salary wasn't much better than what I was making as an administrative assistant at a small family-owned business. But it gave me a chance to write, so I took it. Being a contract employee at the onset, I wasn't eligible for raises regardless of my performance. I looked for employment externally in the hopes of advancing, but it seemed the job market had deteriorated since I got my start, at least in my field. Even though I spent many evenings and weekends writing for my publication's website (for free), it wasn't enough. If I wanted the experience required for a better paying and more coveted gig, I was expected to freelance for other brands and take more publishing courses on the side to beef up my résumé. After three years of hard work, a maternity leave contract opened up and I earned a much-deserved promotion. Before that contract ended, I was given a permanent position. Since then, I've moved on. I'm lucky I've maintained my full-time status, complete with benefits and all. Others in my class weren't so blessed. Sound familiar? You're not alone. According to the Manulife Financial's latest Investor Sentiment Index, young Canadians have been hit the hardest by recent economic adversity. Forty-six percent of Canadians aged 25 to 34 indicate their finances have taken a turn for the worse in the past two years. And while they remain optimistic—62 percent of respondents said they felt they'd be in better financial standing in two years—they still have another disadvantage compared to other generations: small to no inheritance down the line. The index shows that 43 percent of Canadians haven't considered how much cash or assets they'll leave to their heirs, while 13 percent say they plan to leave nothing at all. "The reality is that young Canadians will be the first generation to not be better off than their parents," said Paul Lorentz, executive vice-president with Manulife, in a press release. "Young Canadians might need some of the financial discipline of their great-grandparents, those who lived through the Depression, coupled with modern financial solutions." Struggling to make ends meet? Follow our 10 money-management tips here. (Photo courtesy StockMonkeys.com)
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Financial forecast: Young Canadians to be worse off financially than their parents

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