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According to an Ipsos survey conducted on behalf of MNP LTD., the majority of British Columbians feel they can cover next year’s living expenses without incurring more, despite concern about mounting consumer debt in Canada. Fifty-seven per cent said they won’t need to take on more debt next year for basic household costs, while the rest anticipate that some increase in personal debt will be unavoidable.
The survey found that confidence is lacking when it comes to the prospect of coping with unexpected expenses. Only a minority of British Columbians are confident that they wouldn’t incur more debt if faced with a change in their relationship status like a divorce (33%), unexpected auto repairs or purchase (24 per cent), having to take three months off work due to illness (27%), a job loss or wage decrease (24%), a death in the family (23%), or paying for someone’s education (19%).
The results of this survey point to a lack of ‘rainy day’ savings. It’s clear British Columbians are not ready to cope with any sort of unexpected expense. This puts them in a very risky position because one emergency could leave them in a financial crisis and why MNP recommends having between three to six months of expenses saved.
Nearly three in ten British Columbians (27%) are concerned that they or someone in their household could lose their job. With so many families already in the red, unexpected life events like a job loss can throw household finances into a tailspin.
These unexpected expenses often a catalyst for bankruptcy. Just one emergency can drain a family's bank account, making it impossible to cover current debts and pay basic living expenses. As debts continue to go unpaid, many can end up on the brink of filing for bankruptcy or a consumer proposal.
A rainy day fund isn’t just a ‘nice to have’, it’s a must-have. Unanticipated emergencies like home and car repairs, time off work due to layoffs or family emergencies are things that happen to virtually everyone at some point in their life so it’s critical plan ahead and save.
Despite British Columbians’ apprehension about 'rainy-day' scenarios, most are broadly optimistic about how their debts have evolved over time and the future direction they’re likely to take. One in three British Columbians (33%) think their debt situation has gotten better rather than worse compared to five years ago, while nearly half (45%) say it’s about the same. Moreover, nearly half (46%) expect their debt situation to be improved five years from now. When it comes to their retirement years, more than half (54 %) agree they’re confident that they will be debt-free.
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*310-DEBT doesn’t operate in MB, NW ON and QC.
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