Toronto, ON – Nearly one half (48 per cent) of Canadians are either $200 or less per month away from not being able to meet all of their bills or debt obligations each month or they already don’t make enough money to cover their bills and debt payments (26 per cent), according to a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of MNP Debt. For three in ten Canadians, things are so tight that they plan to take on more debt to pay regular household expenses in 2016.
“Many Canadian households have come to rely on the continued availability of cheap credit in order to cover basic expenses. That makes them tremendously vulnerable to interest rate hikes,” says Grant Bazian, President at MNP Debt where he leads a national network of Trustees who have been working on the front lines of Canada’s record-setting consumer debt levels.
The poll underscored Canadian’s vulnerability to interest rate increases revealing that one in three (31 per cent) feel that any increase could move them towards bankruptcy.
Given the weakening economy and the expectation that interest rates will rise in the coming years, it is unsurprising that four in ten (43 per cent) regret the amount of debt they’ve taken on and an equal number are concerned about their current level of debt.
Despite their concerns, only 16 percent said that they plan to look for information or consult a professional about financial insolvency or bankruptcy. Nearly half do not know where to turn if they were to become financially insolvent.
“So many people feel helpless when it comes to their debt and that is clearly exacerbated by the fact that many do not know where to turn for help. By the time people end up in my office they are often in an absolute crisis situation; their homes are at risk, their accounts have gone to collections, their wages are being garnished. Had they sought out help earlier, there would be far more options for them. The biggest mistake you can make is to wait too long before seeking help with your debt,” says Bazian.
According to the poll, the average Canadian debtor estimates that it will take it approximately 7 years before they are debt free and fifteen per cent believe that they will never be debt free.
“Seeking out professional help can resolve financial difficulties sooner and make the process of getting out of debt far less stressful. Government licenced Trustees are the only debt professionals that can that guarantee legal protection from creditors through proposals and bankruptcies,” adds Bazian.
Other key poll highlights include:
- Two in three (64 per cent) feel that paying down debt is their number-one financial goal, ahead of saving, spending or other priorities. In fact, more generally, eighty-two per cent feel that paying down debt is more important, financially than saving.
- Albertans (21 per cent) are the most likely to look for information or consult a professional about financial insolvency or bankruptcy.
- Most likely to say that they will never be debt-free are residents of Atlantic Canada (28 per cent), followed distantly by those in Saskatchewan and Manitoba (17 per cent), Alberta (16 per cent), BC (15 per cent), Ontario (15 per cent) and Quebec (10 per cent).
- Among those who think they’ll be able to climb out of debt, it will take Ontarians the longest (8 years on average), followed by those in Quebec (7 years), Atlantic Canada (6 years), BC (6 years), Alberta (6 years) and Saskatchewan and Manitoba (5 years).
About MNP Debt
For more than 50 years, MNP Debt has helped individuals resolve their financial problems by offering life-changing debt solutions. With government licensed Trustees located in over 70 offices in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario, MNP helps thousands of Canadians each year who are struggling with an overwhelming amount of debt.