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The New Year Brings New Hope

Happy new year! And as Synergy Merchant Services brings in 2010 with upbeat optimism and best wishes for Canadian consumers and business owners alike, it appears as if the nation is already off to a good financial start.

Before the holiday season, there was a lot of talk about Canadians spending cautiously in order to combat the hardships brought upon by the recession of 2009. It was assumed that they would be spending significantly less on gifts although a Moneris survey that we blogged about before the new year proved otherwise.

Today, the QMI Agency reported in The Toronto Sun that “Canadians are starting 2010 off on a prudent financial note, with most paying off their holiday shopping bills and avoiding January sales”.

Previously, it appeared as though the biggest concern for Canadian shoppers was the accumulation of debt in the new year, due to the traditional increase of spending during the holidays – no matter how cautious the spending would be. However, according to the Royal Bank of Canada’s Canadian Consumer Outlook Index for December, 75% of Canadians plan on paying off their holiday spending avoiding the dreaded long process of escaping severe debt.

In addition, the report indicates that more than half of Canadians have no plan to search for post-holiday deals this month. As the QMI Agency suggests, there is less worry over the nation’s employment situation now than there has been over the past year. Says the report, “Job anxiety was down considerably from the bank’s last index by about 6% with only 21% of Canadians reporting one member of their household was worried about losing their job.”

British Columbia was the only province that showed no change where job anxiety was concerned. Interestingly, however, RBC found that just more than half of Canadians have a “good” impression about the health of the nation’s economy.

Says David McKay, head of Canadian Banking at RBC: “Canadians are becoming more optimistic but as this index shows, their focus remains on managing day-to-day expenses with many finding it hard to save for their retirement or their children’s education.”

The new year has certainly brought about a new sense of optimism throughout the nation. In fact, today’s report indicates that more Canadians are expecting their financial situations to improve over the course of the next three months.

RBC notes that the Canadian economy is expected to grow in 2010. With that, the optimism of Canadians should continue to experience growth as well. Happy new year, indeed.

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