Manitoba Residents Increasingly Pessimistic About Their Ability To Absorb Higher Interest Rates And Cover Monthly Bills

2018-01-15   minute read

MNP Consumer Debt Index

According to a recent Ipsos poll conducted by MNP LTD., Manitoba residents are increasingly worried about their ability to repay their debts. Since interest rates first rose in July, households across the province have noticed their budgets tightening as they struggle to keep up with expenses and manage other rising costs. Jumping 11 percent since September, one-third (32%) of Manitoba residents now say they are unable to cover their monthly bills and debt repayments. At the same time, nearly half (48%) say they are $200 or less from not being able to meet their monthly financial obligations.

Disposable income has also declined noticeably over the previous two Consumer Debt Index surveys. Though the average Manitoba resident notes a minor increase in money left over after bills and debt payments since September – increasing two percent over the past quarter – that number has still dropped 23 percent drop since June. Decreasing from $819, households are now left with $623 to cover any irregular or unplanned costs. This has led almost half (48%) to express concern if interest rates go up much further they may find themselves in financial trouble and one in three (33%) to worry it may move them towards bankruptcy; a 10 percent increase since September.

While three-quarters (75%) of Manitoba residents resolve to be more careful with how they spend their money, four in ten (43%) still anticipate going further into debt just to cover basic expenses over the next year. They're not out of the woods yet, but a two percent reduction in expected credit reliance over the past four months indicates people are beginning to realize they're overextended and are taking steps to change their situation. 

Reflecting on their situations, Manitoba residents are among the most concerned about their current debt levels, with more than two in five (41%) saying they are concerned about their current debt situation and 45 percent admitting they regret how much debt they've taken on. They are also the most likely to say they're worried about the potential fallout of higher interest rates and to be feeling the effects of the most recent increases.

This all indicates rising debt costs are ramping up the financial pressure across the province. Manitoba residents are more stretched financially than they have ever been before and most lack the wiggle room needed to offset rising costs to service their debt. If big changes can't be made soon, we may be headed toward an unfortunate tipping point for many people.

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 /relief among Canadians. Visit to learn more.

The latest Index data was compiled by Ipsos on behalf of MNP LTD between December 8th to December 13th, 2017. 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 third wave of the MNP Debt Index.

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