Do you ever wonder how rich you are compared to your friends and peers?
To get right to the point, here’s the answer to what is the net worth by age in Canada:
The median net worth for all households in Canada, regardless of age, is $329,900. Net worth positively correlates with one’s age. For those under the age of 35, the median net worth per household is $48,800; for those 65 and older, it is over ten times as much at $543,200.
What Does Net Worth Mean?
The term “net worth” is commonly used in the media, but not everybody fully understands what the term means and how an individual’s net worth is calculated.
So, let’s start with a quick definition of net worth to give you some helpful context for the rest of the article.
Net worth measures an individual’s financial worth. This is calculated by subtracting their total liabilities (debt, mortgage, car notes, etc.) from their total assets (such as cash, investments, real estate equity, vehicles, etc.).
Net Worth By Age in Canada
Canada’s median net worth figures for different age groups are listed below.
The data was collected in 2019 and released in 2021 and continues to be the most recent and accurate statistics in Canada as of writing.
It is the median net worth of a Canadian household, which includes single-person households as well.
|Age of higher |
|Median net worth |
of household (2019)
|35 to 44||$234,400|
|45 to 54||$521,100|
|55 to 64||$690,000|
|65 and older||$543,200|
As can be seen, the median net worth per household increases with age, with the most dramatic increases being from the under 35 to the 35-44 category (jumping up by $185,600) and 35-44 category to 45 to 54 categories (up by $286,700).
This trend may be obvious, but many different factors can be at play here. Most people will receive pay raises as they advance in their careers by gaining experience and expertise.
Their investments will also have more time to appreciate and gain interest over the course of their life, which can snowball with a combination of compound interest and contributions, growing their wealth at an exponential rate.
Median Net Worth vs Average Net Worth
Something that is good to note is the meaning and purpose of median net worth vs the average.
The average Canadian net worth for all households in 2019 is $738,200, vs the median net worth of $329,000. As you can see, this is a huge difference.
The median of a data set indicates the value lying in the very middle when all the numbers are sorted in an ascending or descending order. The average is simply the average of all the numbers in the data set.
In this net worth comparison, the median is a more meaningful statistic than the average, mainly because top earners of the population – the mega-rich multimillionaires or billionaires – skew the statistic dramatically.
Because of this, the median paints a better picture of an age group’s net worth than the average does.
This is why most net worth statistics list median figures instead of average figures.
Calculating Your Net Worth
Your net worth is simply the difference between your assets and liabilities. That is;
Total Assets – Total Liabilities = Net Worth
Assets include your investments, real estate, savings accounts, and other financial assets.
Liabilities are things like your mortgage, credit card debts, or loans that you owe.
If you don’t want to calculate your net worth manually, you can try using the following online calculators for a simplified approach:
Calculate net worth manually
If your assets are more than your liabilities, you will have a positive net worth. If your assets are lower than your liabilities, you will have a negative net worth. Here are a couple of simple examples to illustrate how this works:
Positive net worth example:
Josh has the following assets and liabilities and a positive net worth of $225,000.
|Net Worth (assets – liabilities)||$225,000|
Negative net worth example:
Jessica has the following assets and liabilities and a negative net worth of $5,000.
|Net Worth (assets – liabilities)||-$5,000|
You can recreate this if you want to calculate your net worth on Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel or simply by using pen and paper.
What’s A Good Net Worth Calculator?
Calculating your net worth is relatively simple if you don’t have a lot of assets or savings. For individuals with multiple assets, registered accounts, and a number of loans, credit cards, and debt, however, a calculator can be helpful.
Personally, I recommend using RBCs net worth calculator.
It has a simple, no-frills design that’s easy for anybody to use. Plus, there are no annoying pop-ups, ads, or other distractions on the page. The best part is that you don’t need to be an RBC customer to use the calculator!
Interesting Net Worth Trends in Canada
Now that we’ve seen the net worth in Canada by age, let’s consider some other angles to get a bigger and better picture.
Net Worth Trends by Regions
In descending order, let’s look at the household median net worth by province:
|Province||Median Net Worth|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||$247,300|
|Prince Edward Island||$211,400|
In Canada, net worth is highest in Ontario and British Columbia, respectively. In 2019, Ontario families reported a median net worth of $434,500 and British Columbians of $423,700.
Now let’s take a look at the net worth by city breakdown:
|Metropolitan Area||Median Net Worth|
of household (2019)
Not surprisingly, larger census metropolitan areas, such as Vancouver, Toronto, and Quebec City, have the highest median net worth. The wealthiest city in Canada is Vancouver, with a median net worth of $521,500.
Statistics Canada states that the geographical differences in net worth are often linked to strong housing markets in certain parts of the country, such as Vancouver and Toronto.
Living and working in the financial industry in Vancouver for some time myself, I saw firsthand the effects of the soaring housing market in that city.
For instance, StatsCan reports that the median value of principal residences in Vancouver rose from $366,000 in 1999 to $900,000 in 2019.
This is over double the median value reported in Montréal, which rose from $175,700 in 1999 to $350,000 in 2019.
The effects of this trend are highlighted in the table above, with the stark differences in median net worth in the two metropolitan cities.
Average Net Worth Of Seniors In Canada
The average net worth of Canadian seniors (65 and older) is around $1,058,788, according to the latest data from Statistics Canada, released in January 2023.
Conversely, the median net worth of seniors in the same age group is just $543,200, according to the latest median report by Statistics Canada, released in late-2019.
Net worth trends by demographics
Now let’s take a look at some demographic-specific trends in net worth. I find these numbers to be quite interesting and eye-opening.
Seniors are more financially vulnerable in comparison to the late 1990s
While their net worth remained high in 2019, seniors are less likely to be debt-free during retirement compared with two decades ago. Although 56.7% of senior-led families reported being debt-free in the latest study, this rate was down from 72.6% in 1999.
Moreover, over 1 in 10 senior-led families (12.1%) still had a mortgage on their principal residence in 2019. This is a huge increase compared with 6.6% in 1999.
Lone-parent families have a lower median net worth
StatCan reports that lone-parent families reported a median net worth of $83,100 in 2019. This was less than one-fifth of the median net worth of couples with children at $435,700.
Further, lone-parent families were less likely to own their own homes, have pension assets or own a vehicle than couples with children.
Renters nearing retirement have lower net worth than homeowners. For instance, homeowners reported a higher median net worth ($685,400) compared with renters ($24,000).
Change In Disposable Income 2020-2022
Another interesting statistic to look at is the change in Canadians’ disposable income over the past couple of years. The global pandemic dramatically changed the financial landscape of the country, and resulted in some considerable changes.
Here’s how Candians’ disposable income amount has changed, by percentage, according to the most recent reports from Statistics Canada:
|Age Group||2nd Quarter 2020 to 2nd Quarter 2022|
|35 years old or younger||-0.6%|
|35 to 44 years old||4.8%|
|45 to 54 years old||3.3%|
|55 to 64 years old||-4.1%|
|65 years old or older||-7.5%|
Looking at the chart, individuals between ages 35 and 54 saw an increase in their amount of disposable income, while those older than 55 saw a noted decrease in disposable income.
net worth Growth in Canada
The median net worth of Canadian households in 2019 was $329,000.
Despite growing steadily through the years, the growth in net worth was slower over the 2016 to 2019 period. It was up only by 1.8% in that time period. By contrast, from 2012 to 2016, net worth grew much faster. The rate was 3.5% per year during that time period.
As I mentioned above, net worth is the difference between a family’s assets and debts. The slowing down of the rate of net worth growth could therefore be attributed to two things:
- An increase in the rate at which Canadians took on debt
- A decrease in the rate at which Canadian’s accumulated assets
I find this to be very interesting. Looking at your finances over the past couple of years, what can you say about the rates at which you accumulated assets or debt, and how would you say that it would compare to those in your age group, geographical area, or demographic?
In a practical sense, if your net worth is higher than the median net worth for your age group, you are considered to be faring better than more than 50% of those in your age group and thus are considered to have a high net worth.
There is also, however, an official term and definition for those with a large number of liquid assets: a high-net-worth individual (HNWI). This formal term, usually used in the world of finance, is an easy way of referring to individuals who own liquid assets valued between $1 million and $5 million.
On the other hand, very-high-net-worth individuals (VHNWIs) are considered to be people or households with liquid assets valued between $5 million and $30 million, and ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) holding more than $30 million in liquid assets.
Most of us want more money. But if your current net worth is less than the median net worth for your age group, that is completely okay.
When arriving at your net worth, many different factors can be at play. Your financial history, income, assets, expenditures, and money management practices all make a difference. These are all habits that can be improved upon in the future.
Don’t forget that the median highlights the middle point of a data set, meaning that 50% of individuals will fall below it, and 50% will fall above it.
At the end of the day, as long as you have financial security and are comfortable enough to cover your basic needs, such as rent, food, and other necessities, more money does not equate to more happiness.
Nor does it determine your inherent worth. You can work to get there if you desire to, and as the statistics show, you are much more likely to have a higher net worth as you age than the other way around.
How Increasing Credit Card Debt Could Affect Canadians’ Net Worth
In March 2023, Statistics Canada reported that Canadian credit card debt had reached a record high of $91.5 billion, marking a 13.8% year-over-year increase between December 2021 and December 2022.
Some believed that this was part of a “hangover” from the holiday shopping season combined with the leftover debt from the pandemic. Others point to the increased cost of living and inflation the country has been experiencing.
No matter the case, Canadians’ mounting consumer credit card debt could significantly impact the average household net worth and overall financial health of future generations as follows:
- Credit card debt carries high interest rates
- This interest compounds over time, making it more difficult to pay off
- Household net worth decreases as assets are overshadowed by growing debt
- When payments are missed, credit scores drop
- Low credit scores can make it more difficult to obtain a mortgage, qualify for small business loans, etc.
- This strain can affect a household’s ability to progress economically, potentially affecting the entire family and community
To be clear, I’m not saying that credit cards are bad. If used properly, they’re an excellent way to build your credit history. However, if you let your credit card debt get out of hand, the consequences can be long-lasting.
- Related Reading: Increase Your Credit Score By 100 Points
What Is The Average Savings By Age In Canada?
Curious about the average savings by age in Canada? An individual’s total savings are a key factor that plays into their total net worth.
You can read my full post here, which details the most up-to-date savings statistics for Canadians.
For quick reference, though, here’s what the average savings by age looks like in Canada, according to the latest reports from Statistics Canada:
|Age Group||Private Pension Assets||Financial Assets||Total Average Savings|
|35 to 44||$192,600||$47,900||$240,500|
|45 to 54||$406,700||$110,000||$516,700|
|55 to 64||$567,500||$130,800||$698,300|
|65 and Older||$405,600||$166,800||$572,400|
Tips To Increase Your Savings And Net Worth
Thankfully, we live in a country that offers a fair amount of social mobility. We have the choice to live somewhere more affordable, pursue a better-paying career, go back to school and earn better qualifications, or even start a business.
All of these actions can put you in a better place to increase your net worth, pay off bad debts, and start building wealth for you and your family. With that in mind, here are a few actionable tips to consider if you want to increase your net worth.
1. Pay Off High-Interest Debt ASAP
High-interest debt from credit cards, short-term loans, or even bad credit auto loans can really add up over time. The compounding interest can result in you paying double the original principal amount.
Prioritize paying off high-interest debt over other expenses, and you’ll save a lot of money.
2. Get a Second Job Or Start A Side Hustle
Picking up a side job or entering the gig economy as a rideshare driver or courier is a great way to generate some extra money that can be invested, saved, or put towards high-interest debt.
3. Lock Down Your Budget
Take a close look at your monthly spending and saving. Analyze where you’re spending the majority of your money and try to identify areas where you could cut back and save.
Once you’ve done the math, stick to your spending budget, and put the additional savings into your investment account, retirement savings, or pay off debt.
- Related Reading: Best Free Budgeting Apps
4. Use Tax-Advantaged Accounts To Save
If you’re serious about saving money, I encourage you to open a tax-free savings account (TFSA). Although these accounts have an annual contribution limit, they can be used as investment vehicles to help your savings compound over time.
TFSAs can be used to hold stocks, bonds, ETFs, GICs, and other investments. The best part is that any profits realized within the account are tax-free, which means you don’t have to pay capital gains tax on them.
- Related Reading: Best ETFs For TFSAs
FAQs About Net Worth By Age In Canada
To wrap things up, here are a few quick-fire answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about net worth and some of Canada’s highest-net-worth individuals.
Although Ontario is home to Canada’s wealthiest city (Toronto), the province of Alberta is the wealthiest province in Canada. This is largely due to the booming oil industry in the region. Alberta also has the lowest tax rates, compared to other Canadian provinces and territories.
Canada is home to a growing number of ultra-wealthy billionaires. As of June 2022, 60 billionaires are estimated to live in Canada. While the number may seem a bit high, statistically, billionaires represent 0.00015% of the total population in Canada.
While billionaires represent an incredibly small percentage of Canada’s population, the country’s millionaires account for 4.4% of the population. According to the Global Wealth Databook of 2021 published by Credit Suisse, Canada has 1,681,969 millionaires.
It is telling to look at the median net worth numbers in Canada to gauge where you are at in your financial journey, but try not to get too hung up on the numbers.
Don’t feel bad if your net worth is below average. You can reach or exceed that number with proper planning and determination.
For related reading, check out the average income by age in Canada here.