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According to a recent Ipsos poll conducted by MNP LTD., Canadians continue to fear increasing financial turbulence as the prospect of another interest rate hike looms. The most recent MNP Consumer Debt Index indicates debt anxiety has intensified over recent months, as one in three people across the country worry rising interest rates could move them towards bankruptcy – up six percent since June. More than half of Canadians (52%, up 3%) are concerned about whether they will be able to afford their debts as rates climb. And, with a seven percent jump, the number of people who say they're feeling the effects of previous rate increases is now more than two in five (45%) – while the same number (45%) admit future increases could place them in financial trouble.
It appears younger Canadians are feeling the brunt of the growing rate uncertainty, as nearly two thirds of millennials (63%) aged 18-34 say they worry about the impact on their debt repayment – versus three in five gen x'ers (62%) and two in five Baby Boomers (40%). They're also the most likely to say they've felt the effects of previous interest rate increases (half of millennials contrasted with 48% of gen x'ers and 38% of Baby Boomers).
It's now been a year since the first interest rate increase in nearly a decade. As the effects have had time to soak in, more people are feeling the pinch. The MNP Consumer Debt Index hit a record high in June 2018, but it has fallen three points over the past quarter to its current score of 103. This suggests that while attitudes and experiences of debt have improved modestly, Canadian debtors have yet to find calmer waters.
In fact, the data shows that if household debt doesn't begin to drop, the increasing pace of rate increases will continue to tighten the grip on consumer finances. Of particular concern is there's an entire generation of Canadians who never experienced a higher rate environment. They're not used to navigating expensive debt or negotiating unexpected costs with anything other than credit.
Despite the downward trend, however, there may still be cause for optimism. Eight in ten (79%) Canadians resolve to counter rising interest rates with more cautious spending habits. This is perhaps what fuels a positive outlook – with three in ten (28%) saying their debt situation has improved over the past year, four in ten (39%) saying they expect their debt situation to be even better in a year's time and half (50%) saying things will improve within the next five years.
With more than two in five (43%) admitting they regret how much debt they've taken on in their lives, it's good to see that rising interest rates have caused Canadians to take a more critical view of their debt and spending habits. However, many are still reluctant to seek professional help to manage their situations. Whether they don't know that it's available, don't realize they qualify or may fear the consequences – it's important to understand that there are a great many opportunities to rebuild their finances and get the financial fresh start they deserve.
Other poll highlights include:
About MNP Debt
MNP LTD, a division of MNP LLP, is the largest insolvency practice in Canada. For more than 50 years, our experienced team of Licensed Insolvency Trustees and advisors have been working with individuals to help them recover from times of financial distress and regain control of their finances. With more than 230 Canadian offices from coast-to-coast, MNP helps thousands of Canadians each year who are struggling with an overwhelming amount of debt. Visit www.MNPdebt.ca to contact a Licensed Insolvency Trustee or get a free checkup for your debt health using the MNP Debt Scale.
About the MNP Consumer Debt Index
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 or 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 September 10 and September 17, 2018. For this survey, a sample of 2,003 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 sixth 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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