I received an e-mail yesterday regarding a recent study by Mackenzie Investments into the spending habits of Canadians. Not surprisingly, the study found trends of overspending, particulary among younger Canadians. The study used a "Burn Rate" questionnaire to determine the respondents' level of overspending. The questionnaire consists of ten questions, each of which is in the form "have you [INSERT IRRESPONSIBLE SPENDING HABIT]?"
I took the test myself, and came up as an "Overspender". The main reason for this, however, is the "have you..." form of the questions. It would be nice if there were some questions along the lines of "how long has it been since you..." or "how many times in the past six months have you..." to gauge your current behaviour. I took the test again, this time interpreting each question in a "do you..." context, and came up as a "Controlled Spender". That's a big difference. I understand that past behaviour can be indicative of underlying attitudes and personality, but the questionnaire seems a bit simplistic.
Still, the results of the study do show an alarming prevalence of irresponsible spending among Canadians.
You can read the press release or take the test yourself.