Fear Of Rate Hikes Continues To Intensify Among British Columbians

A recent Ipsos poll conducted by MNP LTD., has found that British Columbians are fearful of increased financial turbulence in the wake of future interest rate hikes. The survey found more than one in three B.C. residents now worry future increases could inch them closer to bankruptcy — eight percent higher than the previous measurement in June and the largest increase of any province. Following a seven percent jump, close to half (45%) now say they are already feeling the effects of previous interest rate increases, while two in five (41%, up 3%) are now worried about financial trouble if rates go much higher. Nearly one in two (48%) British Columbians are questioning whether they will be able to service their debts if rates continue to climb.  

More than two in five (41%) B.C. residents say they regret how much debt they’ve taken on in their lives – down just one percent over the past quarter. It’s been a year since debt carrying costs started trending upward, and the pace of borrowing hasn’t slowed. Coupled with the results above, this highlights a palpable anxiety throughout the province when it comes to interest rates, mounting debt and a steadily increasing cost of living.

Two people crunching numbers on a laptop with a notebook on the table

Though, some insights also appear show a streak of optimism in the face of mounting adversity. Three quarters of British Columbians (74%) resolve to be more careful with how they spend their money as rates continue to rise. With one quarter (24%) saying their debt situation now is better than it was a year ago, this is likely fuelling hope for the nearly two in five (38%) who expect their debt situation to improve within the year and close to half (46%) who foresee things improving within the next five years.

It’s positive to see that higher interest rates are forcing people to take a critical view of their debts. However, many people either don’t know where to start or feel helpless to effect change. It’s important to understand that debt isn’t permanent and there is professional help available. A Licensed Insolvency Trustee offers a no obligation Free Confidential Consultation to review debtors’ financial situation and discuss options. Everybody deserves the chance for a financial fresh start, but that begins with understanding the various paths available.

Other poll highlights include:

  • Atlantic Canadians show the most trepidation towards increasing interest rates. Sixty-five per cent of Atlantic Canadians say that as interest rates rise, they are becoming more concerned about their ability to repay their debts — ahead of those in Alberta (55%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (53%), Ontario (52%), and BC and Quebec (both 48%).
  • Atlantic Canadians are most likely to state with rising interest rates they will be more careful with how they spend their money (87%), followed by Saskatchewan and Manitoba (86%), Ontario (83%), Alberta (77%), British Columbia (76%) and Quebec (72%).
  • Concern about rising interest rates triggering a move toward bankruptcy is more pronounced in Atlantic Canada (39%), followed by Alberta, Quebec and Ontario (both 34%), British Columbia (33%), and Saskatchewan and Manitoba (31%).
  • Canadians remain more positive than negative towards their debt situation, as nearly three in ten (28%) rate their current debt situation better than a year ago, and more than one in three (35%) say their debt situation has improved when compared to 5 years prior. Canadians also continue to be hopeful about the future, with four in ten (39%) Canadians believing their expected debt situation a year from now will improve, and half expect their situation to improve within the next 5 years.
  • Albertans (20%) are most likely to say their current debt situation is worse, followed by residents of Atlantic Canada (17%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (15%), Ontario (13%), Quebec (10%), and British Columbia (8%).
  • Quebec residents (49%) are most likely to rate their personal debt situation as good, followed by residents British Columbia (45%), Ontario (38%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (34%), Alberta (33%) and Atlantic Canada (28%).

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.