Nearly half of Canadians now struggle to pay basic living expenses
Levels of financial instability are growing ever higher in Canada, according to the results of a new Ipsos survey, with roughly 48 per cent of people across the country now claiming to have less than $200 left over at the end of each month after covering debt payments and basic living expenses.
More worrisome still: Some 47 per cent of survey respondents don't expect to be able to cover the cost of living next year without taking on even more debt.
Should they be struck by an unexpected setback, such as unemployment, a serious illness, auto repairs or a death in the family, more than 70 per cent do not feel confident that they'd be able to make ends meet.
Furthermore, nearly 30 per cent of the 2,002 Canadians surveyed by Ipsos for MNP LTD. in September are already unable to make their minimum debt payments, rendering them financially insolvent.
Our latest MNP Consumer Debt Index says that Canadians find themselves with less money each month, more than half concerned about their ability to repay debts. #MNPcdi— MNP 310-DEBT (@MNPdebt) October 28, 2019
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These figures are concerning, according to experts, and telling of where citizens stand ahead of a major policy announcement from the Bank of Canada on Wednesday.
"Although the Bank of Canada has stated that it will keep interest rates stable until next year, this may come as cold comfort to those in precarious financial situations who are already having a difficult time making their debt payments at the current interest rate," reads a release accompanying the Ipsos report.
"It is understandable then that many remain worried, even considering the central bank's announcement.... these concerns have a real impact on everyday Canadians' lives."
Eight in ten survey respondents indicated that they plan on being more careful with how they spend their money in the coming months, based on financial concerns.
This rate remains unchanged from the last time the MNP Debit Index survey was conducted in June of 2019, though the average amount of money Canadians have left at the end of each month has gone down by $142 in just one quarter, to $557 after bills and other financial obligations.
The Titanic debt bubble economy is coming to a grinding halt. No better indicator than this:— Sebastian Pasnik (@PasnikSebastian) October 28, 2019
Canadians ‘drowning in debt’ as 47% struggle to cover costs: MNP https://t.co/kH4SFNBa6Y
Despite all of this, Ispos says Canadians are "still generally positive about their personal financial situations."
Some 40 per cent of Canadians indicated that they would rate their personal debt situations as "excellent," in fact, based on their beliefs that things would get better for them financially over the next five years.
There's also the issue of "good" debt that many believe will pay off later in life — things like mortgages, home repairs and spending on education.
"No one knows what the future holds for them and it seems that while Canadians may seem generally hopeful that their financial future will be better than the present, there are cracks around the edges that could lead to a bigger problem if left unaddressed," cautions Ipsos.
A full third of Canadians are still worried that rising interest rates could push them into bankruptcy, with those aged 18-34 showing the most concern.
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