In Canada, Discussions, Money

What is the average net worth of a Canadian (By age and province)?

I am obsessed with net worth and money. In a good way.

It of course does not define who you are — just look at all the jackasses who are super rich and aren’t decent human beings because they think their money protects them. In a certain way, I will concede that they are right — they can buy their way out of being a human, but at what cost?

Anyway, back to the point of this post — NET WORTH.

Here are all my net worth roundups by the way if you are interested; I do them monthly & yearly.

I also track my net worth, budgeting, spending and money LIFE here with The Budgeting Tool.

I always read about net worth for Americans but there is nothing about Canadians, so I thought I’d mosey on over and create some charts so you can see what it all looks like:

Source: StatsCan

As you can see, the average net worth by age for Canadians peaks at their peak earning years from 55 to 65, and then goes down as they start to head into retirement. Perhaps early retirement in there as well.


Source: StatsCan

I have to also say that in retirement you also need less money than you think. No more expenditures on style, fashion (no really, I am expecting it so that is why I am enjoying all the style & shopping now in my 30s!), and traveling gets harder.

You aren’t really able to walk as far or as long as when you were younger, so honestly, you won’t have as much energy for a lot of these grand plans in retirement.

Enough about that.

This is how it breaks down by province:

ALBERTA

BRITISH COLUMBIA

MANITOBA

NEW BRUNSWICK

NEWFOUNDLAND

ONTARIO

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND (PEI)

SASKATCHEWAN

NOVA SCOTIA

And looking at major cities, it looks like this:

MONTREAL, QC

QUEBEC CITY, QC

TORONTO, ON

VANCOUVER, BC

WINNIPEG, MB

CALGARY, AB

EDMONTON, AB

TWO OBSERVATIONS

The bigger cities and provinces have higher net worths

Stands to reason. Montreal, Toronto, these are all bigger cities that make more money, and have higher salaries.

In the less-populated provinces, you also see lower net worths overall.


I would have thought with MORE people there would be lower salaries as there is more competition, but it sort of makes sense the other way as well — it attracts companies, executives and higher net worths if it is a bigger city like Toronto or Vancouver.

And yet….

Montreal surprised me at $900,000 as their net worth peak

$900,000 was the biggest average net worth in that peak earning age range for salaries. I thought it would be higher, closer to a million.

But we are closer to Winnipeg’s net worth, which I find to be a smaller more mid-sized city.

Montreal has a population of 1.75 million people, and Winnipeg is at 700,000 or less than half of that.

Just strange. I wonder why that is.

Is it accounting for the fact that French is a language barrier? That people mostly gravitate towards Vancouver and Toronto?

So, what do you think?

Update: July 12th 2019

A great reader commented with a link to another StatsCan page I did not know existed, that very simply lists out the net worth medians.

As I did not have those numbers they are using to generate these files, I was using the averages of the averages on the other StatsCan page, to haphazard net worths.

Here they are, simply via StatsCan directly for 2016:

—–

Can’t get enough? I have all of my Canadian Net Worth Series posts here.


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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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29 Comments

  1. K
    Kris

    Why are these numbers so different than the ones on Stats Can here? These numbers seem high to me

    https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/171207/t001b-eng.htm

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I had no idea this chart existed! I was trying to calculate / haphazard guesses from this chart — Survey of Financial Security Assets

      I ought to use this chart 🙂

      Reply
    2. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Also for each province’s graph, I broke it down by age group x province. That wasn’t on the chart you linked to.. again, half-guessing based on ANOTHER chart on StatsCan, inputted into Excel with averages.

      Thanks for the link.

      Reply
    3. E
      E

      The Averages are way higher than the Medians because there’s some really rich people skewing the data set upwards lol. The median is more representative of what the “Average Canadian” net worth would be as it represents the middle number.

      For example: Five people with net worths of: $10, $12, $14, $16, & $200… Average is ~$50 but Median is $14. With $50 clearly not representing the group.

      That’s why averages across the board seem very high. For example: the Average Canadian under 35 has ~$179K net worth, but the Median is ~$35k (50% of people ion that group have 35k or less)

      Avg Under 35 (bottom right cell)
      https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=1110001601&pickMembers%5B0%5D=1.1&pickMembers%5B1%5D=3.3&pickMembers%5B2%5D=5.6&pickMembers%5B3%5D=4.1

      Median Under 35 (bottom right cell)
      https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=1110001601&pickMembers%5B0%5D=1.1&pickMembers%5B1%5D=3.3&pickMembers%5B2%5D=5.5&pickMembers%5B3%5D=4.1

      Reply
      1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

        Thank you very much – I appreciate the help in clarifying and the links!!! <3

        Reply
  2. z
    zed duffy

    Is this average per adult? Does this mean average for a couple is these numbers * 2 (dependent on age group?).
    similarly average family networth would be the sum of the averages of each family member?

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      It is actually both. It is what is considered a household. Some numbers might have 2 people living in said household with average of $500K net worth, and other numbers may have been a single person heading one household, with the same average $500K net worth.

      Reply
  3. M
    Mia

    If you have young children, you need the least savings in Quebec, right? Because they have heavily subsidized daycare.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Actually they changed the laws. It is now based on income. The “heavily subsidized”, is only really for those who very little. Otherwise, if you are in higher income brackets, you get some reimbursements, but not much.

      Reply
  4. A
    Amyl Ghanem

    Being from the Atlantic Provinces I noted the interesting distribution for Newfoundland with the lower age bracket doing very well. I’m guessing there are Newfies who work in the oil patch but really live in Newfoundland?
    Also one plot was labeled PEI on your title but Quebec in the legend, FYI.

    Very interesting!!

    Wrt Montrealers net worth, the real estate market previously has not been as hot as Toronto or Vancouver, maybe that is part of what you’re seeing?

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Errg.. Sorry. I was going cross-eyed doing these 🙂 Thanks for the catch.. it may never get fixed :S

      The real estate market in Montreal is still not as hot, so you’re right, it is definitely a reason for why net worths are not so high. I have another post coming up with housing assets versus liquid soon enough.

      Reply
  5. B
    Bob Lin

    Considering how we keep hearing about people not saving enough for retirement, high levels of debt, and poor financial literacy, these average net worth values seem extremely high. I know of may people in the over 55 category, and they struggle to keep up with their mortgages, car loans, and funding their kids education. Those in unionized jobs are doing better, but still, they’re a long way off these averages.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      These are averages right.. not median values. So you can imagine that someone like us with zero debt, and high levels of net worth at our age ranges, are being offset by people who have OUR debt (basically double what you see), to average it out to what it is.

      Reply
      1. P
        Patrick Wahle

        These stats do not reflect the real net worth. Taking the value of real estate into consideration is not right.
        How do you classify home owners who are “house poor”. I know several people living in million dollar house but can’t afford or own anything else. They have no debt but struggle to pay their property taxes, hydro bills, insurance premium, can’t afford the basic maintenance and live at the edge of poverty. Until they sell their home and downsize, their asset is almost a liability. These people are mostly seniors and the nextt municipal assessment is their “death sentence” in the form of selling and moving out.

        Reply
        1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

          This is an average. It means people like me who live with no debt, with their house paid, and about 50% of their net worth are “making up” for these house poor folks.

          If we were able to get demographics by age, city, neighbourhood, etc, that would be great, but unfortunately Stats Canada doesn’t have it.

          I always say – your house isn’t yours until it’s paid – the bank owns it.

          Reply
  6. R
    RBull

    Is there a reason you completely left out one province? There are 10 provinces. Nova Scotia is not listed.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      No, zero excuse, I just completely missed it!

      Just updated the post:
      Average Canadian Net Worth by Province

      Average Net Worth Nova Scotia Canada

      Reply
  7. V
    Valérie

    The numbers for Quebec seem odd. Can you explain why ppl in Quebec City climb from $292k to over a million by the time they’re in their mid50s? Are they better investors because i don’t think it can be accounted for in real estate values climbing that high? it’s astronomically higher in Quebec City compared to Montreal! or how is it that Montrealers in their forties hit the $400k mark in net worth but don’t climb as quickly past that in their fifties? really curious.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I have no real facts to substantiate this, but I suspect it is because in Québec City as it is the capital of Québec, a lot of politicians live there… and they make a lot of money. That’s the only thing I can see being really different between the two cities. The salaries are just higher, but perhaps the cost of living is about the same.

      Reply
      1. M
        Mia

        Unless Canada is different from the US, state-level politicians don’t make very much money. Not even in California, which is the richest, most powerful state.

        Reply
        1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

          They make good money, over 6-figures here, and have a lot of perks paid…. so if you can imagine very low expenses with a high income, they are raking in a lot more than you think.

          Reply
      2. M
        Mia

        I’d be way more interested in the medians than averages. I think Vancouver has an average that is dragged up because there are some super rich there.

        Reply
        1. G
          George

          Great item. I’m always interested to see how I am doing compared to others. I am also interested in seeing what the median values are compared to average. There was a U.S. report/item a few years back that gave median values at way lower values than the average. I suppose the reason is that the few Trumps and Warren Buffetts and a few other super billionaires will increase the average to a higher number.

          Reply
          1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

            Yes, it is hard as you have to really flush out the outliers like those trillionaires…

  8. GYM

    Love these stats! I have some catching up to do in Vancouver 😉 I wonder why age over 65 the net worth goes down? Maybe they are drawing down on their savings/ investments? 65 and up is a huge range though, and can include someone who is 98 years old!

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Well it includes retired folks. 🙂 When you are retired, no more income, means you start spending and it is OVER 65.. not necessarily income-earners…

      Reply
  9. C
    Christy

    I think the reason the peak net worth in Montreal is so much lower than other places, is that the price of real estate is comparatively low. So much of people’s net worth is tied up in their houses, and from what I have seen (I don’t live in Montreal but have immediate family that do) Montreal is a much more affordable city.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      OH! Yes. But then .. the salaries are lower then too. Winnipeg is also affordable, I would assume on par with Montreal… or cheaper… so I don’t really see how we have so many people here, double Winnipeg, and yet have the same net worth averages.

      It is lower salaries, more affordable housing, but why so low? French-language I am guessing is the barrier to more people coming here and higher income folks choosing to be here.

      Reply

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