A Canadian Payroll Association survey notes that nearly 60 per cent of Canadians live paycheque to paycheque and admit they would be in financial difficulty if their pay pack arrived a moment later than expected.

I know what this is all about. No savings. More specifically, no emergency savings. Lots of people do have savings-- group pension plans, RRSPs, RESPs, but they’re reluctant to tap that money if the washing machine breaks down.

Most financial planners advise employed homeowners with children to set aside three months of net income -- six months for the self-employed. So, if you clear $32,000 annually you should have roughly $8000 in an emergency account, twice as much if you’re self-employed.

“Good luck with that,” you say.

You’re right. I’d settle for a single month.

Part of the reason to save is to protect from job loss, but also to cover out-of-the-ordinary expenses. Typically, when you’re living paycheque to paycheque, those unexpected expenses slide over to credit cards, credit lines, overdrafts or buy now pay later plans.

I find this is often a financial tipping point for a family. A large debt goes on the credit cards and suddenly you feel like there’s a noose around your neck getting tighter all the time.

Unfortunately, there are only two ways to solve this problem; make more money or cut spending. For most, the latter is the only practical way to break the paycheque to paycheque cycle.

The good news here is that 60 per cent of those surveyed said they were trying to save more money. All you folks get a 10. For the rest of you there is some serious remedial work ahead.

Next week I’ll motivate the sluggards with some saving tips and tricks.