Nine in 10 Canadians will spend the same or less on the holidays than they did one year ago, according to the 2015 Sun Life Financial Annual Check-Up, released today. Almost four in 10 (37 per cent) plan to spend less and just one per cent said their spending will be substantially higher this year.

"It seems Canadians have a more realistic view of their financial situation this year," says Cindy Crean, Managing Director, Sun Life Global Investments. "A majority realize spending more this holiday season might not be the best tactic."

The Annual Check-Up survey asked Canadians to compare the current state of their personal finances to that of last year. Survey highlights include:


  • 54 per cent are not financially better off than they were a year ago;
  • 66 per cent say their debt level is the same or worse than it was at this time last year; and
  • 64 per cent do not work with a financial advisor.

Debt continues to weigh on Canadians and is often to blame for the decreased spend.


"Canadians will spend less during the holidays this year because they are tapped out from a debt perspective," says Sadiq Adatia, Chief Investment Officer, Sun Life Global Investments. "This decreased spending has negatively impacted the Canadian economy and is in contrast to what is happening in the United States where economic growth is being driven by increased consumer spending."

Though 67 per cent of Canadians are optimistic about 2016, only 13 per cent said paying down debt is among their top three New Year's resolutions. Just four per cent rank savings as a top resolution.

"Reducing debt and increasing savings might not be at the top of the resolution list, but they should be. The sooner people can address these financial goals, the better off they will be in the long run," Crean added. "Working with a financial advisor and building a plan can put Canadians on better financial footing for the new year."