How a Canadian family of five is dealing with the highest inflation in years

With inflation at its highest point in almost 40 years, Canadians are feeling the financial strain. In a six-part series this summer, The Canadian Press talks to people at different stages of life to see where they’re being hit the hardest. This story details the experiences of mid-career adults and their families.


Myron Genyk didn’t think much about food prices a year ago.

But now, the 43-year-old father-of-three is suffering from label shock as his family’s grocery bill skyrockets.

“No. 1 is increased food,” said Genyk, a businessman from Mississauga, Ontario. “My children are growing up, so they eat more, but food prices have skyrocketed as well.”

With inflation rising at its fastest rate in nearly 40 years, the cost of everything from food to gasoline has skyrocketed.

Canadians across the country feel pressured, but large families with multiple children sometimes bear much of the higher costs, and changing demographics and consumption patterns have left some more exposed to inflation than in the past. previous generations.

Some are facing skyrocketing grocery bills to feed insatiable teenagers or are helping older kids pay for college or buy their first home.

Others face rising costs related to helping aging parents.

Then there are those who do both: the so-called sandwich generation.

“Some still have kids at home and they’re also helping with aging parents,” said Elena Jara, community engagement partner at bankruptcy firm Bromwich and Smith.

“Inflation only makes it more difficult.”

Middle-aged adults have traditionally had the benefit of entering their prime earning years, removing some of the sting of inflation. But as milestones for many Canadians occur later in life, this pattern is changing.

First-time homebuyers are getting older, for example, with the median age now around 36 years old.

That means mid-career Canadians are more likely to have a large mortgage, leaving them vulnerable to higher interest rates.

Canadians are also having children later in life. Over the last five decades, the average age of a new mother has steadily increased, from 22.6 years in 1969 to 29.4 in 2019.

Adult children also live longer at home. The new census data found that nearly half of young adults in Ontario cities such as Toronto, Oshawa, Windsor and Hamilton lived in the same household as at least one parent.

That leaves parents in the roughly 40-60 age range potentially covering more daily costs or unable to downsize.

“Having a larger household with a lot of mouths to feed would definitely increase your food spending and make you more sensitive to food inflation,” said Rebekah Young, vice president, head of inclusion and resilience economics at Scotiabank.

Higher costs could also push Canadians in their best earning years to cut back on savings, potentially delaying retirement later to pay bills, he said.

But inflation is even worse for low-income Canadians, as they spend more than their disposable income on essential items, Young said.

The situation has left Canadians feeling increasingly pessimistic about their finances, according to a series of recent polls.

More than half of Canadians aged 55 and over said they delayed retirement due to rising inflation this year alone, according to respondents to a recent survey by Bromwich and Smith and Advisorsavvy.

Another survey by TransUnion Canada found that 60 per cent of Canadians surveyed lack optimism about their household finances over the next 12 months, and nearly a third are worried they won’t be able to pay their bills in full in the coming months. .

For Genyk, who runs his own asset management company on Bay Street, he is hopeful that high inflation will be a “time lag” in his financial journey.

Still, he feels pressured by higher prices.

“I’m definitely spending more money this year than I did last year on commodities,” said Genyk, CEO and co-founder of Evermore Capital Inc., a Canadian asset management company that focuses on affordable retirement investments.

“That has a direct impact on how much I can save for retirement.”

Inflation is also shaping your spending habits and even changing your vacation plans.

For example, the Genyk family is planning a trip to the Rocky Mountains with their three children, ages seven, 11, and 13.

A few years ago, the family flew to Calgary and rented a van for two weeks for $1,900.

This summer, the rental price for the van was $8,000.

“We got creative and found that if we flew into Edmonton, we could rent a five-seater SUV there for a much more reasonable price,” he said.

“When you have a growing family, you also need more space. When you get a hotel room, the days of a room with a roll away crib are over.

“All these things add up.”

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 10, 2022.

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