Is now the time to invest? Canadians are split on that decision – National

Finance

Amid uncertainty in the economy and the still-present pressures of inflation, a new survey shows the country is split on whether now is the right time to be investing.

The survey from investment dealer Edward Jones Canada, which polled 1,003 Canadians 18 and older online between May 14-17, found 43 per cent felt now is a good time to buy things like stocks and bonds, as well as contribute to tax-free savings and RRSP accounts, while 40 per cent had a negative outlook on investing right now.

“So we saw consistency with those that have financial plans. They want to stick to their plan, so continue to invest to meet their goals,” Julie Petrera, Edward Jones senior strategist, client needs, told Global News. “Those that are hanging back, that have uncertainty. They could have either deliberately chosen to hang back to say I’d rather pay down debt than invest … So we are in a period of high inflation, high interest rates and political unrest, so people may just want to sit back and wait and see.”

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Yet, while the country appears evenly split, there’s a wider gap depending on where you live.

The highest number of Canadians who feel positive about investing are centred in Quebec, with 51 per cent saying now is the right time, while 37 per cent in the province feel the opposite.

The same can’t be said for those in Alberta, which had the lowest positive outlook of just 29 per cent, with 45 per cent in the province saying now is not the right time to invest.


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When it comes to other provinces, the numbers continue to vary with places like Ontario and B.C. feeling fairly confident in investing at 43 and 47 per cent, respectively.


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Meanwhile, respondents in Atlantic Canada, Manitoba and Saskatchewan are a bit more hesitant with just 35 per cent holding a positive outlook on investing. On the opposite side, about half of Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents, 49 per cent, are more negative about investing, with 39 per cent of Ontarians and British Columbians, and 46 per cent of Atlantic Canadians feeling the same.

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According to the firm, no data was available from the territories.

The Edward Jones survey also found that long-term goals like retirement and education are a big reason behind 64 per cent of Canadians being in favour of investing, with 37 per cent noting travel and home repairs as their motivation. Another 38 per cent said they want to maximize on the tax advantages that come with investments in their RRSPs or a First Home Savings Account.

When it came to why people were opposed or had a negative outlook to investing, the survey found 54 per cent pointed to economic uncertainty with 43 per cent saying they want to focus on paying down debt.


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“Some people are comfortable with debt and want to take on debt and would prefer to invest because they think that will get them further ahead,” Petrera said. “And some people, even if they thought mathematically that would be a better choice, they’re not comfortable with debt. So no investment returns are worth not sleeping at night.”

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Most did not rule out investing completely. If conditions improve across the country in terms of the economy, 54 per cent of those with a negative outlook said they would likely enter the investment market, with Ontarians among those most likely at 62 per cent.

Whether it’s Canadians who want to invest now, or those who are considering it should economic uncertainty improve, Petrera said Canadians should consider speaking with a financial adviser.

She said they would help you understand your personal goals, determine the impacts inflation may have had on your finances, see if there are tax-advantaged accounts like an RRSP that can assist in making “the decision more clear for you,” and determine what’s best for your situation on whether to invest or avoid doing so.

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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