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Sun Life survey: finances contribute significantly to high stress levels

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Personal and household finances are a significant contributor to high stress levels, new research reveals.

Sun Life Financial Inc., Toronto, released this finding in the company’s “2012 Canadian Health Index Report,” which measures the attitudes of Canadians towards healthy lifestyles and reports these in the form of an index. The index is based on findings of an Ipsos Reid poll of 3,113 Canadians, ages 18 to 80.

More than 6 in 10 (61 percent) unemployed individuals say that personal and household finances are a significant contributor to high stress levels, as compared to only 44percent of Canadians who are employed full-time, the report states.

Survey respondents identify both emotional and physical benefits associated with work. The top three, the report indicates, are keeping active (identified by 25 percent of the respondents), socializing (7percent) and remaining stimulated or challenged (also 7 percent).

The report adds that 30 percent of unemployed individuals say they have “always or usually felt overwhelmed by stress in the past month” This compares with just 21percent of full-time workers and 16percent of the self-employed.

Nationally, the report states, more than three-quarters (72 percent) of Canadians are experiencing excessive or uncomfortable levels of the stress—and the youngest Canadians are most likely to feel the effects.

Just 10 percent of Canadians say that nothing is causing them excessive or uncomfortable levels of stress. And only 20 percent of Canadians ages 25 to 44 say the same.   This compares to 49 percent of Canadians ages 65 and over, the report adds.

Turning to life expectancy, the report notes that Canadians expect to live on average to age 81. More than two-third of Canadians (69 percent) anticipate reaching age 80.

Additionally, 43 percent think they might live from ages 80 to 89. More than a fifth of the respondents (21percent) expect to live into their 90s. And 5 percent expect to attain age 100.

More than half (46 percent) of the respondents, the survey adds, believe that a major health event would have a significant and permanent impact on their personal finances.

Additionally, nearly three in 10 Canadians (29 percent) who expect to live past age 80 worry about outliving their retirement savings. And one-third of the respondents worry about the cost of drugs and medical treatment in retirement.


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