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According to a recent Ipsos poll conducted by MNP LTD., Canadians’ pocketbooks are continuing to get lighter as a result of recent interest rate increases. The latest results from the quarterly survey indicate a worsening situation foreshadows more trouble ahead. Up five percent over the last six months, more than two in eight (43%) Canadians say they’ve felt the pinch of higher interest payments, and more than half (51%) are now concerned past and future hikes could impact their ability to repay their debts. Also up five percent, a full third of Canadians now believe this trend could push them towards bankruptcy.
While the number of Canadians who report being within $200 of making ends meet has improved slightly – down two percent to 46 percent – other figures indicate that may be short-lived. On the one hand, nearly a third (29%) indicate their budget is already maxed out at the end of the month. While almost half (47%) of households expect to take on more debt over the next year just to cover basic living expenses - four percent increase since December.
A lack of emergency savings also continues to be a pressing concern. Across the board, confidence in Canadian’s ability to handle an unexpected expense has dropped. For required auto repairs or replacement, only 28 percent believe they could do so without requiring debt – down three percent. The trend is similar for taking three months off work due to illness (28%), paying for their own or someone else’s education (24%) and the death of an immediate family member (26%). The only category to note an improvement is a change in relationship status such as a divorce (32%), though at one percent, the increase is only minor.
Canadians are in an extremely vulnerable position right now. Though a surprising number expect their financial situation to improve in both the near and long term, with 33 percent predicting it will be better within the year and 47 percent within five years – certain trends appear to argue against such optimism. Most notably, almost half of all outstanding mortgages will require interest rate renewals within the next year. Meaning many homeowners who enjoyed the benefits of unprecedented and record low borrowing costs will soon contend with a significant spike in monthly payments.
Anyone who is only making the minimum payments, relying on credit to cover basic expenses or is struggling to make ends meet would likely benefit from the help of an accredited professional. The sooner the reach out, the more options they will likely have to improve their situation and prevent it from deteriorating any further.
The MNP Consumer Debt Index measures Canadians’ attitudes toward their consumer debt and gauges their ability to pay their bills, endure unexpected expenses, follow a budget, and absorb interest-rate fluctuations without approaching insolvency. Conducted by Ipsos and updated quarterly, the Index is an industry-leading barometer of financial pressure /relief among Canadians. Visit www.MNPdebt.ca/CDI to learn more.
The latest Index data was compiled by Ipsos on behalf of MNP LTD between March 12 and March 16, 2018. For this survey, a sample of 2,001 Canadians from the Ipsos I-Say panel was interviewed online. The precision of online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the results are accurate to within +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had all Canadian adults been polled. Credibility intervals are wider among subsets of the population. This represents the fourth wave of the MNP Consumer Debt Index.
To learn more about the survey and how MNP can help you manage your debt challenges, contact
Grant Bazian, CIRP, LIT, President, MNP Ltd., at 1.877.363.3437 or
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