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Pandemic Paused but hasn't Derailed Canadians' Ambitions: CIBC Poll

Over half of Canadians admit to reevaluating what's important in their lives, while travel
and becoming debt free remain top long-term ambitions

TORONTO, Oct. 18, 2021 /CNW/ - With the pandemic forcing many people to press pause on their goals, over half of Canadians (58 per cent) say they have re-evaluated what is truly important in their lives and a quarter (25 per cent) say the pandemic has even inspired them to create a bucket list of goals and ambitions. Those are some of the key findings of the 2021 CIBC Ambitions Survey.

"Throughout the pandemic, we saw many Canadians delay their dreams and ambitions out of necessity, but as people look forward, we're beginning to see bigger dreams return as priorities again," says Carissa Lucreziano, Vice-President of Financial and Investment Advice at CIBC.

While the pandemic has changed the world in many ways, a majority (73 per cent) affirm that their goals are much the same as before.  The top long-term ambitions remain travel (29 per cent) and eliminating debt (21 per cent). Making positive lifestyle changes, getting back on track after the pandemic, and saving for retirement round out the top five ambitions identified by respondents.  

Just under half of Canadians (42 per cent) surveyed say they had to put larger ambitions on hold during the pandemic and the majority (73 per cent) are now more focused on smaller, practical ambitions. Primary goals are split almost evenly between realizing one of their big ambitions (28 per cent), paying off debt (32 per cent) and saving for the future (30 per cent).

"Canadians are staying true to their long term ambitions, and while the pandemic may have set some back in pursuing their goals, they remain focused on taking the right steps to make their ambitions a reality," added Ms. Lucreziano.

The most common challenges standing between Canadians and their goals, according to the survey, are money (37 per cent), managing everyday commitments (17 per cent), time constraints (11 per cent), not knowing where to start (8 per cent), and confidence (8 per cent).

"While these challenges might feel overwhelming, creating a plan to achieve your goals doesn't need to be," Ms. Lucreziano says. "Taking small but impactful steps towards your goals is the most effective way to do it. Having the right conversations with your external support system - friends, family, mentors, and advisors - can help you see the necessary steps to take, and make the process easier."

When it comes to effective solutions for achieving goals, roughly half of Canadians (48 per cent) agree that when you share your ambition with someone, it is more likely to happen. However, only one in four (25 per cent) say they seek help and guidance from others, such as friends, colleagues, mentors, and experts, when looking to achieve their goals and ambitions.

With financial wellbeing month around the corner, CIBC is helping Canadians achieve their financial ambitions through the following:

  • CIBC is hosting free virtual events in French and English on November 4, 2021 on how to get ready for retirement, featuring financial experts from CIBC and retirement coaches. This event will provide valuable, timely and relevant advice to help clients build their knowledge and confidence in preparing for life in retirement, and help educate attendees about both the financial and emotional aspects of retirement.
  • A recently launched website, Smart Advice, which offers digital tools, resources and articles on a range of personal financial planning topics to assist Canadians with their overall financial wellbeing.
  • An Ambitions Toolkit that provides parents with resources to help educate their children about money and saving for the future.

Additional findings from the 2021 CIBC Ambitions Survey:

  • 64 per cent of Canadians say they are confident they will achieve their list of big ambitions and 56 per cent consider themselves an ambitious/goal-oriented person
  • More than half of Canadians choose to take an informal approach to achieving their goals: 64 per cent have never sought out mentorship and 52 per cent have never written down specific goals
  • More than half of Canadians (53 per cent) consider big and smaller/practical ambitions equally important
  • One-quarter (27 per cent ) say their ambitions have been impacted by Covid. Some have put larger ambitions on hold (42 per cent)

For more information and to learn more about CIBC's purpose and renewed brand, visit


Disclaimer: From August 13th to August 15th 2021 an online survey of 1,516 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Maru Voice Canada panelists was executed by Maru/Blue. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been weighted by education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) to match the population, according to Census data. This is to ensure the sample is representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About CIBC

CIBC is a leading North American financial institution with 10 million personal banking, business, public sector and institutional clients. Across Personal and Business Banking, Commercial Banking and Wealth Management, and Capital Markets businesses, CIBC offers a full range of advice, solutions and services through its leading digital banking network, and locations across Canada, in the United States and around the world. Ongoing news releases and more information about CIBC can be found at


For further information: Tom Wallis, CIBC Communications & Public Affairs, 419-980-4084 /