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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