There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the global economy these days.  There’s the debt crisis in Europe, and a myriad of economic problems in the United States.  Here in Canada, household debt has reached an all-time high and record low interest rates continue to drive up real estate prices across the country, specifically in Vancouver and Toronto.

So, what will 2012 bring for our troubled economy?  No one knows for sure.  During times of uncertainty it helps to focus on things that are within our control rather than trying to guess how these macro-economic factors are going to affect our personal finances.

I’m aiming to be better off financially next year by carrying out my financial plan, which is made up of short term objectives and long term goals.  I’m not worried about the direction of the stock market, the price of gold, or when interest rates will rise.

What I am focused on is increasing our savings rate, aggressively paying off our mortgage, fully funding our tax free savings account, and topping up my RRSP.  We’re going to keep improving our finances, one month at a time.

Will you be better off financially next year?

According to a new ING DIRECT survey, by Angus Reid, 36 per cent of Canadians think they’ll be better off financially in 2012 compared to this year:

  • 20 per cent think they will be financially worse off next year, Ontarians (23 per cent) and British Columbians (22 per cent) are among the most pessimistic
  • Canadians between 18-34 are most optimistic with 48 per cent saying they expect to be better off financially in 2012

Personal finance concerns for 2012:

  • Thinking of the New Year, Canadians are most concerned about the amount of debt they have (19 per cent), followed by not having an emergency fund or an adequate one (16 per cent)
  • Canadians who earn less than $50,000 a year are most worried about paying their bills (21 per cent) next year, while those in the $100,000+ income bracket are most concerned about not being able to save enough for retirement (18 per cent)

Financial priorities for 2012:

  • Paying off credit cards and lines of credit is a priority for most Canadians (22 per cent) for 2012, followed by sticking to a budget (17 per cent ), spending less money and saving more (14 per cent)
  • Canadians aged 55+ have paying off credit cards and lines of credit at the top of their list (17 per cent), with a close second being spending less money than previous year (16 per cent)
  • Following a personal budget (22 per cent) is the top priority for those who earn less than $50,000 a year

What are some of your financial priorities for 2012?  Do you think that you’ll be better off financially next year?

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14 Comments

  1. Emily Hunter on December 21, 2011 at 5:44 am

    I think that I’m going to be better off financially for next year, and it’s all because of the planning that I’ve been doing for this year. I’ve finally gotten to the point where I know what I want to do, and I know where I’m going and have a solid determination to get there. Paying off all of the bills is going to be a treat, but we’ll do it. Looking forward to seeing what you have in store for next year, too! 🙂

    • Echo on December 22, 2011 at 11:06 pm

      @Emily – Good planning is the key to success. Best of luck with your goals next year!

  2. W on December 21, 2011 at 8:15 am

    I’m did pretty well this year, but I expect to be much better off next year on two fronts: I believe my salary and bonus from my engineering job with increase about 20% in 2012, and I’m hoping to really ramp up my trading profits outside of work using the strategies I’m documenting at http://www.offroadfinance.com . Here’s to a $200K 2012!

    • Echo on December 22, 2011 at 11:07 pm

      @W – A 20% increase in salary would be huge!

  3. Ross B. on December 21, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    I’m happy to say that we did well this year despite our move from one big city to another (Riyadh > Toronto) 🙂 We don’t have credit card debt and have enough money saved. I believe next year would be a much better year. With continued focus on saving and living within our means plus anticipated increases in our salaries, by God’s grace 2012 would be a really great year!

    • Echo on December 22, 2011 at 11:11 pm

      @Ross B – Moving definitely puts a strain on your finances. I can’t imagine moving all the way from Saudi Arabia to Canada. Good luck to you in 2012!

  4. krantcents on December 21, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    In 2011, I earned additional income because I tauht an extra class. I will try to replace that income in 2012. I am optimistic about the economy because it is an election year.

    • Echo on December 22, 2011 at 11:12 pm

      @krantcents – Are election years typically good for the U.S. economy?

  5. Gillian on December 21, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    I think I’ll be holding steady next year. I’ve been helping a friend with school expenses and that, combined with some slower times at work (as a freelance technical writer, if I don’t work, I don’t get paid) means that my income is lower and my expenses are higher.

    • Echo on December 22, 2011 at 11:15 pm

      @Gillian – it’s difficult to know exactly where your finances will be when you are self-employed. Good luck next year!

  6. David on December 21, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    What stuck out for me in your article was the part where you said that following a budget is one of the top priorities for those earning under 50K. My first thought was shouldn’t having a budget be one of the priorities for *everyone* ?? Although many people with lots of money know how to handle it well, you always hear of some people that come into a lot of money (e.g. lottery winners, inheritance, etc.) and they spend it all and are left with nothing, because they didn’t budget it.

    • Echo on December 22, 2011 at 11:16 pm

      @David – I agree. Sometimes the more money you make, the more money can fall through the cracks if you aren’t paying attention.

  7. Hank Lu on December 21, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    Every one want to be better in 2012 if it is not the “End of the world”

  8. Funny about Money on December 31, 2011 at 6:02 am

    LOL! I figure I’ll have to be better off next year, ’cause things sure couldn’t get much worse!

    Mercifully, the blog is starting to earn a little money. If that continues, there’s an outside chance my business can start paying me a small salary, which would help quite a lot.

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