Despite household debt in Canada remaining near record highs, two-thirds of Canadians are comfortable with the amount of debt they have, finds a CIBC poll.
The survey found that nearly a third (31%) of those with debt have gone deeper in debt in the past year, citing a mix of necessary and discretionary purchases, which included buying a new car, going on vacation, and repairing or renovating their homes.
Highlights of the poll include:
- 66% of Canadians say they are comfortable with their debt level, comprised of:
- 25% who say they are very comfortable and could take on more debt if needed
- 41% who say they are fairly comfortable but would prefer not to take on any more debt
- 34% of Canadians say they are uncomfortable with their debt level, comprised of:
- 23% who say they are somewhat uncomfortable — they are making it work but any change to their current situation would present a problem; and
- 10% who say they are very uncomfortable — they have more debt than they can handle and are feeling financially squeezed.
A CIBC poll conducted earlier this year found that more than half of all Canadians have struggled with financial decisions and two-thirds agreed that they would benefit from additional advice on financial matters.
The comfort level with debt increases with age, with 81% of Canadians with debt who are 65-plus saying they are comfortable compared to 62% of 18-to-24 year olds.
Those 65 years and over were less likely to hold a mortgage (16%) than other age groups and were more likely to be debt free (56%). Among younger Canadians 18-to-24 years just starting out and with generally lower salaries, the most common type of debt was student loans (37%) and credit card debt (20%).
The poll also looked at how Canadians view debt in general, finding that 67% of Canadians think debt is okay if it is managed carefully, while 28% say debt should be avoided at all costs. Another 5% think debt is a tool to help them get the things they want.