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How to take the stress and strain out of your finances

Posted by Medavie Blue Cross on November 15, 2021

Life can change in an instant. What would happen if you faced a life-threatening condition like cancer, a heart attack or stroke?

Would you be financially prepared to stop working? Are you protected from a loss of income? Could you keep up with your mortgage payments?

Survey reveals financial worries of working Canadians

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you’re not alone. Medavie Blue Cross recently commissioned a survey of 1,000 working Canadians to learn more about how they view their group benefit coverage and the impact of a serious health challenge on their financial wellbeing.

The majority of survey respondents (57%) would have to cut back expenses, while nearly half (48%) would have to dip into their savings. Another 57% would only be able to manage for six months or less before going into debt.

Results suggest there’s a wide gap between the health insurance protection Canadian workers have and should have in place. Further, two-thirds of respondents agree that the pandemic has made it even more important to protect their financial future with critical illness, life or accidental death & dismemberment coverage. Yet only 40% have critical illness coverage; 55% have accidental death & dismemberment insurance and 70% have life insurance.

The survey’s findings are captured in an exclusive Optional Benefits whitepaper, available online.

This whitepaper and other consumer research studies also show the pandemic is weighing on the minds of working Canadians.

The 2021 Benefits Canada Healthcare Survey found that personal finance was the #1 stressor for Canadian employees insured under a group benefit plan, with 36% citing money as their main source of stress, followed closely by workload at 34%.

The events of the past two years have only added to their financial worries. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) reports that about half of Canadians have been impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic, with women being disproportionally affected.

Take charge of your finances with these top tips

We turned to the Agency for expert advice on how Canadians can reduce their financial stress and boost their financial resilience. Here are some of their top tips for those who are facing financial hardship and/or who want to take charge of their finances:

  • Use a budget planner to plan and manage your budget. The FCAC offers a free, interactive online budget planner including tips, advice and alerts to help you keep your finances in order.
  • Set money aside to pay for unexpected expenses in an emergency fund. In general, it’s recommended that you save the equivalent of 3 to 6 months of your regular expenses.
  • Plan to pay the total amount owing on your credit card by the due date to avoid interest charges. If this is not possible, pay as much as you can — at least your minimum payment.
  • Avoid taking cash advances on your credit card and getting charged interest immediately.
  • If you’re having trouble keeping up with your payments, be proactive and ask your financial institution what options they may have available for you.
  • Get money from your Home Equity Line of Credit, which could potentially be a good replacement for emergency savings, under certain circumstances.
  • Avoid taking on more debt. If you must borrow money, borrow only what you need, or look into options with your financial institution that can help you consolidate high interest debt such as credit card balances.

Get more financial advice at

We also recommend you take a look at our Optional Benefits product, which includes options to top up your current coverage with Critical Illness, Life and AD&D insurance. Should the unexpected occur, you will receive a lump sum, tax-free cash payment ― to spend as you choose ― so you can focus on your recovery and not your finances. It’s a smart, easy and affordable way to secure your finances and help protect your hopes for the future.

Speak to your human resources representative to see if your plan includes these flexible coverage options or learn more below.

We also invite you to learn more about our Optional Benefits survey in another Living Well Hub blog, which clears up common misconceptions about critical illness and life insurance, including that it is too expensive, too complex or takes too long to sign up. Thanks to our leading-edge platform, you can explore our options, calculate your rates, make a purchase and have added financial protection — all online, within minutes.

*Data is from a Medavie Blue Cross-commissioned Leger survey of 1,004 Canadians who are employed full time and have opted into their employer health benefits plan. It was completed between March 8-16, 2021, using Leger’s online panel.

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