Nearly half (47 per cent) of Canadians said that financial wellness means living without financial stress, according to a new survey by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

It found 28 per cent of respondents also used financial wellness as a top descriptor for overall wellness and 41 per cent said financial wellness comes from being able to afford what they need in life, such as housing, food or transportation. When asked about maintaining wellness, more than two-thirds (70 per cent) said work-life balance is now more important than ever.

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Among Canadians who took on more debt in 2021, 37 per cent said it was because expenses exceeded their monthly income. And while 20 per cent of all respondents said debt repayment is their top financial priority for 2022, they also identified several secondary financial goals for the coming year, including saving as much as possible or growing an emergency fund (28 per cent), avoiding taking on more debt (26 per cent), saving for retirement (16 per cent), growing investments (16 per cent) and keeping up with bills (15 per cent).

While Canadians’ economic worries are focused on inflation (66 per cent) and uncertainty due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic (36 per cent), 40 per cent of homeowners and 31 per cent of non-homeowners are also worried about rising interest rates.

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And while 80 per cent of Canadians said they expect their financial goals will remain the same once the pandemic is over, only 27 per cent expect their financial situation will improve in 2022. Half (50 per cent) of respondents wished they were better at saving, while 49 per cent said they need to get a better handle on their finances in the coming year.