How Does Your Net Worth Compare With The Average Canadian?

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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.

That’s why I calculate 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.

But let’s not forget, 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 Frappuccino and $35 H&M dresses, 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 broke 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 that needed a touch of TLC, and tiny student apartments. Everyone was 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 own 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’re now my new points of financial 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.

All of a sudden, my own financial achievements don’t seem that impressive anymore.

Is this something that resonates with you? 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.

Want to know your net worth? Feel free to grab my net worth spreadsheet, which helps you calculate and track the growth of your net worth in a single, organized document.

I dug up the latest data (2016) on net worth from Statistics Canada’s website and compiled the most relevant info into one single table, so you don’t have to do the work.

Please bear in mind that the data below reflect the personal net worths of individuals who are not part of a couple. If you’re interested in the data on Canadian couples, please check out my blog post How Does Your Net Worth Compare With The Average Canadian Couple.

Without further ado, here’s what you’ve been waiting for:

Age GroupMedian Net WorthAverage Net Worth
Under 35 Years9,70062,100
35 to 44 Years76,000*214,000
45 to 54 Years88,000*290,400
55 to 64 Years227,800505,500
65 Years and Older277,000493,400

*: figures are not as reliable as the rest of the table

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.

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

If you have surpassed the average or median net worth figure for your age group according to this chart, feel free to pat yourself on the back. Keep up the good work!

If not, it’s not the end of the world. Building your wealth is all about earning ambitiously, spending smartly, saving diligently, and investing wisely.

As long as you got these 4 things figured out, you’re good.

Earning ambitiously: The sky’s the limit for you, my friend. Be proud of your lofty goals, and go after them with all you’ve got.

Spending smartly: Say goodbye to consumerist overlords. Living frugally is cooler than bucket hats, self-driving cars, and non-alcoholic spirits combined, if you ask me.

Saving diligently: As the saying goes, a penny saved is worth two pennies earned. The future you will be grateful that the today you is putting money aside. Not sure where to start? EQ Bank Savings Plus Account might be your answer.

Investing wisely: From robo-advisors to discount online brokers like Questrade to peer-to-peer lending, technology makes investing easier and more accessible for the everyday investors. You too can benefit from the power of compound interest.

Last but not least, I want to end this article on a hopeful note.

No matter where you are on your financial journey, the mere fact that you’re reading a personal finance blog suggests that you’ve overcome the No. 1 hurdle to getting rich – desire, and that you’ve got what it takes to achieve your financial goals.

Whatever your goals may be, I’m here to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out.

Category: Financial IndependencePersonal Finance 101Retirement

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15 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)

    2. We all feel poor in Canada because we are taxed heavily. My retirement goals involve spending half the year in another country, my money will go further and the winters will be warmer. I have done much better with real estate than with my RRSP’s because of leverage. If you buy a live in rental property you can have the bonus of getting rental income to help with retirement, forget about the perfect house with the white picket fence, buy a triplex and live happily ever after.

  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. I don’t think real estate investing is superior to investing in liquid assets especially in this current market. There’s a lot of costs to real estate even with the monthly rent as well as the aggravation.

    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.

    1. Don’t get frustrated with others because of your own choices.

      I earn dollars and live in Mexico and have never had a better lifestyle. I own my modest home outright and it also generates enough in rental income to cover my basic cost of living.

      I am still working in Canada for now, half of the time, but saving or investing virtually all of my paycheques and will leave my job next year to be in Mexico full time chasing interest, curiosity and waves.

      How did I do it?

      Sold my home in Victoria at an outrageous profit, of course. Something you may also have the option to do.

      We all have choices, and each of them their own set of consequences, some good some bad.

  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.

  5. Net worth might be an interesting number and certainly banks and lending institutions will want to know its value, but as for helping one get to where they want to be, let’s say financial secure during retirement, its an after the fact number, at least to me.
    I now preach, to anyone who wants to listen, that one should invest to generate Income. The idea is to maximize your income, by investing in quality dividend growth companies and take advantage of investing opportunities to grow your income whenever possible.
    If your investment income continually grows at a reasonable rate, why worry about net worth. Once your income exceeds your annual expenses or meets your income goal, your there. Financially secure, because the income will continue to grow even when you stop adding money to your investments.

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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.