If you’re wondering whether you have an above-average net worth, you’re in luck: Statistics Canada has done the heavy lifting for you.
But as with any complex financial calculation, there’s a lot more to consider.
How can you increase your net worth? How is it affected by where you live in Canada? And how do you calculate it in the first place?
What is Net Worth?
Your net worth is your total assets minus your total liabilities.
An asset is anything with a value that you own.
The most common types of assets, along with their median value as of 2019, according to Statistics Canada, are:
Family homes: $400,000
Retirement assets: $158,700
Bank deposits and other financial assets: $14,000
A liability is a debt, even if it’s not overdue.
The most common types of liabilities in Canada are:
Vehicle loans: $18,000
Student loans: $12,000
Lines of credit, credit cards, and other instalment debt: $7,000
So while it’s easy to see how much you have in your savings and investment accounts, your net worth is more complex.
Net Worth Calculator
You can find out your net worth by using a calculator online. A good one for Canadians is Sun Life’s, which you can find here.
Canadian Net Worth By Age Group
The latest data on this comes from a 2019 report from Statistics Canada. Here is the median net worth for Canadians, broken down by age.
Under 35: $48,800
35 to 44: $234,400
45 to 54: $521,100
55 to 64: $690,000
65 and older: $543,000
It makes sense that one’s net worth goes up as you age. You’re able to build wealth through savings and investments. And once you buy a home, it almost always appreciates in value.
The average net worth dips after age 64, though, as people start to draw on their retirement savings.
Good news for younger folks, though: StatsCan found that throughout the pandemic, those under 35 saw the biggest gains in net worth.
Their net worth grew by 3.8% in the third quarter of 2021 compared with an average increase of 2.5% for all households.
But bad news for renters: that's largely limited to homeowners. More than 80% of their growth in net worth came from gains in the market value of their real estate.
Canadian Net Worth by Province
Of course, your age isn’t the only deciding factor for your net worth.
Someone who lives in British Columbia is more likely to have a higher net worth than someone in Prince Edward Island, according to StatsCan.
Here’s their data for median net worth by province, from 2019. We’ve arranged them from highest to lowest.
British Columbia: $423,000
Nova Scotia: $257,900
Newfoundland & Labrador: $247,300
Prince Edward Island: $211,400
New Brunswick: $185,000
As you can see, Ontario and B.C. are far ahead of the other provinces. StatsCan didn’t analyze why this is, but there could be a few reasons.
Both provinces have cities with the highest real estate prices in the country — Toronto and Vancouver — meaning much of the population has to have a high net worth in order to afford living there.
And if they bought their home a long time ago, their net worth has skyrocketed.
Most of Canada’s celebrities and mega-rich Canadian live in Ontario or B.C., including Shopify CEO Tobias Lütke, magnate Jim Pattison, media tycoon David Thomson, and Lululemon founder Chip Wilson.
Wages are, on average, higher in Ontario and B.C. than in the lower-net-worth provinces.
According to StatsCan, the average annual salary in December 2021 (calculated by multiplying the average weekly earnings by 52) was:
British Columbia: $58,916
Newfoundland and Labrador: $57,460
New Brunswick: $53,872
Nova Scotia: $51,792
Prince Edward Island: $49,244
Canadian Net Worth by Family Type
Families with two parents have a huge leg up financially on people raising kids alone, StatsCan found.
And same as with single people, senior families — one where at least one of the partners is 55 years old — are richer than younger ones.
This data doesn't include single, unattached individuals.
Senior families: $840,900
Non-senior families: $443,400
Couples with no children: $459,400
Couples with children under 18: $435,700
Lone-parent families: $83,100
Families with two parents can potentially have two income streams, which makes it easier to generate a higher net worth.
They’re also able to share parenting duties, which makes it easier to hold onto high-paying jobs.
And double-parent families can split household bills like energy costs and groceries.
That all makes it much less likely they'll experience poverty.
Canadian Income by Education
StatsCan doesn’t collect data on net worth by education level — but it does on income by education level.
It’s clear that the more education you have, the higher the likelihood you’ll land a higher-paying job.
Even though higher education is more expensive than ever, it still appears to be your best bet to a higher income bracket, and thus a higher net worth.
This data on average salary comes from 2016:
Didn’t finish high school: $26,824
High school diploma or equivalency: $35,017
Apprenticeship or trades certificate or diploma: $47,651
College, CEGEP and other non-university certificate or diploma: $47,259
University certificate or diploma below bachelor level: $50,157
University certificate or degree at bachelor level or above: $69,418
It’s a bit strange that StatsCan doesn’t break the data down between those who have bachelor’s degrees, compared to master’s and PhDs. But that’s what we’re working with.
Canadian Income by Career
Like education, StatsCan doesn’t collect data on net worth by career field — but it does on income by career.
This data on average hourly wages comes from 2018. The average hourly rate for all Canadians with jobs was $26.92.
Natural and applied sciences: $36.62
Education, law, and social, community, and government services: $32.87
Business, finance, and administration: $26.72
Trades, transport, and equipment operators: $26.53
Natural resources and agriculture: $24.95
Art, culture, recreation, and sport: $23.31
Manufacturing and utilities: $22.78
Sales and service: $17.64
How To Increase Your Net Worth
Pushing your net worth higher is a matter of paying down your debts and increasing your wealth. That’s easier said than done, of course. But here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Pay off Debts
If your net worth is low, or even negative, there’s a good chance your debts are dragging you down.
Getting debt-free by paying off credit card debt, student loans, and other debts is a great first step to putting yourself in a position to grow your net worth.
Putting aside money in a savings account won’t do much for your net worth in the long run.
Thanks to compound interest, putting that cash in a low-risk exchange-traded fund (ETF), mutual funds, or another well-diversified portfolio is a popular way for Canadians to achieve net worth increases.
3. Start a Side Hustle
Do you love thrifting? Why not try selling some of your killer finds on eBay? Really good at putting together IKEA tables? You could try being a TaskRabbit.
The rise of the gig economy has changed our economy — for better or worse, depending on who you ask — but it’s also provided some easily accessible ways to make money on the side.
4. Get a Raise or Higher-Paying Job
If you’ve been at your job for a while, consider asking for a raise. And take some time to check out other places that might hire you.
If you’re comfortable, apply for a few, even if you don’t fully intend to jump ship. You might get an offer that will surprise you.
And even if you still don’t want to leave, you can use an offer from another company as leverage in negotiations with your current one.
5. Get More Education or Training
The number one proven way to move up in the professional world: upskill.
Canada is facing a massive shortage of skilled labour right now. That means high-paying trades are in high demand. The federal government and some provinces, like Ontario, might help pay for your education.
Even if you’re not interested in blue-collar work, see if your company will pay for some relevant training. You can always use that to move up the ladder down the line.
6. Move Somewhere Cheaper
Canadian real estate is out of control in many major cities. But Canada is a huge country, and many areas still have affordable homes.
Especially if you’ve transitioned to working from home during the pandemic, why not give another part of Canada a try?
Frequently Asked Questions
What net worth is considered rich in Canada?
The Kickass Entrepreneur crunched the numbers based on bank data and Canada's population and found that the top 1% of Canadians have net worths of about $9.2 million each.
He found there are about 764,033 Canadians with between $1-5 million USD, or about 2% of the population.
How many millionaires are there in Canada?
According to Credit Suisse, there were 1,681,969 millionaires in Canada at the end of 2020. That’s about 5.6% of the adult population.
It can be complex to figure out your net worth. Luckily, there are calculators that can help you.
And Statistics Canada is always collecting data to help you figure out comparables based on your age, location, education, and other factors.
If you’re below the average net worth for your age range, don’t fret.
There are many ways to increase your net worth, including paying down debts and leveraging side hustles, training, and job offers to maximize your income.
And investing in a well-diversified portfolio is likely the easiest way to set aside some money that will almost definitely grow over time.