Debt repayment tops 2013 resolution lists

By Staff | January 2, 2013 | Last updated on January 2, 2013
2 min read

Canadians have again named paying down debt as their top resolution in 2013.

This is the third year in a row debt has topped the list of financial priorities across the nation, says an annual CIBC poll. It also finds retirement planning has fallen out of the top three priorities nationally.

Along with servicing debt, people are focusing on building savings (10%) and managing daily budgets (8%).

Read: How to make up for a holiday splurge

“Having been named the top priority three years in a row, there is an opportunity for more Canadians to turn awareness of debt management into action and outline some clear steps towards paying it down in 2013,” says Christina Kramer, executive vice president of retail distribution and channel strategy, CIBC.

The first step will be seeking help for many, with only half (46%) having met with an advisor in the last year. Of those, a mere 6% discussed debt management.

A key finding of the poll is older clients are putting aside retirement planning in favour of debt reduction. The number of respondents actively planning for retirement fell from 24% to 12% since last year.

Read: Canadians will be more frugal in 2013

Kramer warns against neglecting long-term plans, however. She says, “While it’s important to address immediate financial needs, it’s equally important to keep long-term goals in sight.”

She adds, “Even small contributions can make it easier in future years to reach your retirement savings goals.”

It’s crucial for clients to remember that all their financial goals are connected. For instance, a reduction in debt can free up funds to go towards savings. And similarly, renewing your mortgage at a lower interest rate can generate an improvement in cash flow that can be used to start making RSP contributions earlier in life.

Read: Faceoff: Mind your mortgage

Top financial priorities in 2013 (by region):

Debt Building savings Managing spending Retirement
National 17% 10% 8% 7%
Atlantic Canada 20% 10% 8% 7%
Quebec 14% 6% 5% 7%
Ontario 19% 11% 9% 6%
Manitoba and


19% 11% 10% 6%
Alberta 19% 11% 6% 8%
British Columbia 17% 14% 9% 9% staff


The staff of have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.