Discretionary spending out of control

Many Canadians are taking a carefree approach to spending, acknowledging in a new poll* commissioned by Edward Jones that they keep track of fixed expenses, but when it comes to discretionary spending, they aren’t paying as close attention. One in three Canadians only keeps track of fixed expenses, such as mortgage, rent or car payments. A further 32 percent of Canadians do not keep track of their expenses at all.

According to Statistics Canada, Canadian household debt-to-income ratio reached a new high of 164.6 percent in the third quarter of 2012, which means for every $100 in after-tax income, Canadians owe $164.60.

“Failing to keep track of expenses could be keeping Canadians in hot water,” said Blaine J Davidson, an Edward Jones financial advisor in Cranbrook. “Having a better understanding of where your money goes, from mortgage payments to a dinner out, can help to identify your current spending habits, so you can adjust them as necessary to achieve your financial goals.”

According to the poll, family status is a driving force when it comes to our diligence to keep track of spending: Canadians with children are more likely to monitor their expenses compared to those without children (73 percent versus 65 percent).

Davidson notes, “Money priorities can change at different life stages, whether saving for a home, expecting a baby or living in retirement. Regardless of family status, it’s important for Canadians at all life stages to identify where they stand financially and build a solid plan to meet their financial goals.”

To help track discretionary spending, Davidson recommends using tools, such as the new Edward Jones mobile retirement savings calculator. The easy-to-use calculator identifies the cost of everyday items and calculates how spending less on these items could translate into savings towards financial goals, such as retirement or a down payment on a home. Access the calculator from your smartphone at:

A financial advisor can also help you to evaluate your current spending and build a solid plan to reach your financial goals.

For more information about Edward Jones, please contact Blaine J Davidson, Edward Jones in Cranbrook, located at 535 Victoria Avenue North, at (250) 417-2910.

*A total of 1,500 Canadians completed an online survey between October 1st and October 4th, 2012 using Leger Marketing’s online panel, LegerWeb.

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