How Does Your Net Worth Compare With The Average Canadian?

How Does Your Net Worth Compare With the Average Canadian #personalfinance #networth“Am I financially on track?”

Raise your hand if you’ve asked yourself that question.

I know I have.

One way I assess if I’m on track is by calculating my own net worth every month and measure it against my net worth goal for retirement.

On top of that, I enjoy reading net worth updates of personal finance bloggers that are within my age group, and see how my numbers fare in comparison. Granted, family net worth in the personal finance blogging circle tends to skew higher than average, but it’s still a valid data point to consider.

While it doesn’t feel “healthy” to compare our wealth to others, most of us do it subconsciously anyway. We check out the fancy cars on our neighbors’ driveways, the brands of other women’s purses, and our friends’ vacation photos on Facebook. All in an effort to see how we stack up.

Whom you compare your wealth to is very important. After all, wealth is relative.

Using myself as an example, I actually felt much wealthier when I was a university student than I do now.

Back in those days, after I paid off my tuition and bought textbooks for all my classes, if I could still afford rent, food, and the occasional shopping splurge, I would feel like I was on top of the world.

While I was far from well-to-do, most of my friends were also students that had their own fair share of money struggles so I didn’t feel poor by comparison. If instead, I was surrounded by heirs and heiresses, I doubt I’d have felt financially adequate.

Where I lived mattered a lot too: my neighbourhood was full of starter homes, bungalows and apartments for students. There was overall an atmosphere of growth, hard work and hustling to make ends meet. Flaunting wealth was the last thing on these people’s minds.

Looking back, my naïve student self didn’t yet grasp the concept of financial planning, so it was easy to stay oblivious and blissfully content.

In absolute dollar terms, I’m clearly better off today.

I have a home that I love in a city notorious for high cost-of-living, the start of a retirement portfolio that I’m proud of, yet I still feel like I’m constantly playing catch-up.

Why is that?

My peers (who serve as points of reference) have changed to include professionals with established careers, personal finance bloggers who’ve started their financial freedom journey a couple of years earlier, and a small subset of acquaintances who’ve started successful businesses or are otherwise semi-retired.

Is that something you can relate to? Please share your experience in the comments section. I’d love to know!

Getting back to the topic at hand, there is an objectively better way to see if your net worth is on par with the rest: consult official survey data on the average Canadian’s net worth. These data are collected from a random sample of Canadians across all provinces and territories, not just those in your immediate social circle. So hopefully, you get a better sense of how you’re really doing in the grand scheme of things.

I dug up the latest data (2016) from Statistics Canada’s website and compiled the most relevant info into several visually appealing tables, so you don’t have to do the work.

Please bear in mind that the data below reflect the personal net worth of individuals who are not part of a couple.

Source: Survey of Financial Security (SFS) by Statistics Canada

The chart is broken down by age, because the assumption is, the older you are, the more time you’ve had to accumulate wealth and let compound interest work its magic.

If you have surpassed the average net worth figure for your age group according to this chart, feel free to pat yourself on the back.

If not, it’s not the end of the world. The mere fact that you’re visiting a personal finance blog suggests that you’re ready to do whatever it takes to reach your financial goals. Whatever those may be, best of luck!

For those who’re curious, the 2 tables below will show more details concerning the average assets and liabilities for each age group.

Average Personal Assets by Age:

Age GroupCashPrincipal ResidenceRRSP, RRIF, LIRATFSAVehicles
Under 35 years$8,770$59,153$8,483$5,217$9,816
35 to 44 years$4,977$68,174$14,010$2,679$5,468
45 to 54 years$10,113$101,713$33,842$4,075$7,547
55 to 64 years$22,517$164,844$59,579$7,963$10,019
65 years and older$60,416$296,790$100,883$20,155$13,457

Average Personal Liabilities by Age:

Age GroupMortgagesLine of CreditCredit Card DebtVehicle Loans
Under 35 years$45,912$2,295$1,596$4,807
35 to 44 years$38,728$2,098$1,339$2,192
45 to 54 years$39,225$4,549$1,657$3,021
55 to 64 years$43,676$6,929$1,896$2,678
65 years and older$16,235$4,081$1,241$2,327

Want to track your own net worth? Feel free to download my net worth spreadsheet.

Do these numbers shock you? Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts below.

Category: Financial IndependencePersonal Finance 101Retirement

Tags:

10 comments

    1. The numbers don’t reflect a typical mortgage; they reflect an average, including plenty of people who don’t have any kind of mortgage. Since nobody in Vancouver can afford one, it stands to reason the number would be low here too 😛

      (Joking to some degree, obviously)

  1. How can numbers be cute ? I personally think that your net worth and the amount that you need for retirement also depend upon where you live. Someone can accumulate less money in a different province but still be able to live comfortably because their cost of living isn’t as high.

    1. Oddly, despite much lower housing costs outside of Vancouver or Toronto, people do not accumulate any additional wealth or savings than those in high housing cost areas. Real Estate always has been the foundation of wealth for the majority of individuals. Unless you are a tech or business wizard or part of the elite entertainers or athletic group, Invest in Real Estate no matter where you are.

      1. Imagine all the great things those other people can spend their money on though, rather than putting it towards an inflated home price, they can buy a boat, or travel with the family. Savings may be similar, but lifestyles are day and night. Real estate is just a method of forced savings for 90% of the population. Investing in something you pay interest on isn’t always the smart play.

    2. Lol his simply saying those mortgage numbers are nothing compared to the Vancouver/ Toronto area. Which is true if you compare it to other provinces.

  2. Wow, I thought I was poor….
    Forcibly retired at 56 (could not get another job), almost 60 now, and to my surprise I am way above median and average net worth 3 times over.
    So why do I feel poor?

  3. I live in Vancouver. My mortgage is over 350k for a 500ft condo. Where are these tiny mortgage numbers for the under 35 crowd coming from? I’m jealous.

  4. They are tiny mortgage numbers because so few people that age 35 own homes. No home, no mortgage. But since these figures are averages the total mortgage amount outstanding to each age group is divided by number of people in that age group whether they have a mortgage or not.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Article by: Flora Pang

Flora Pang aspires to become someone who plant trees in their spare time, write thank-you notes to strangers, and perform CPRs on unsuspecting elders. But until then, blogging about personal finance remains her only way of contributing to society. You can catch her rambling about money on Facebook, Twitter, and (to a lesser extent) Pinterest.