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Wednesday, February 21st, 2024

Most Canadians feel their debt situation better than others’

Results of a Royal Bank of Canada survey, released Wednesday, show most people think their debt situations are better than their friends and neighbours. Photograph by: Stock image, ThinkStock

OTTAWA — When Canadians see news about the country’s growing issue with personal debt, it seems most feel it’s other people — not them — causing the problem.

At least that’s the suggestion of a survey done for Royal Bank of Canada, results for which were released Wednesday.

The RBC poll had 75 per cent saying they are in a better position than their friends and neighbours in terms of how much non-mortgage debt they hold.

Such findings come one day after Statistics Canada said the country’s ratio of household debt — including mortgages — to disposable income rose to a record 149 per cent in the second quarter, up two points from the previous three months.

That’s despite warnings from various leaders, including Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney, that personal debt levels are too high.

The RBC survey found 58 per cent happy with debt situations, and 22 per cent reported having no personal debt at all.

“The majority of Canadians feel confident that they are in a better debt position than everyone else, but the reality is that effectively managing credit takes discipline and proper planning,” Richard Goyder, RBC’s vice-president of personal lending, said in a statement. “Taking a realistic look at your financial situation, along with planning ahead, spending within your means and getting the right type of financial advice are the keys to managing debt.”

Other parts of the survey showed the effects debt can have on economic activity. For example, 39 per cent said they had delayed or cancelled plans because of concerns over their financial situations. About one-quarter of respondents reported postponing a vacation over such worries, while 20 per cent are holding off on making a big-ticket purchase.

The survey was conducted for RBC by Ipsos Reid between Aug. 18 and 23 online of 2,011 adult Canadians. The results are considered representative of the population within two percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Postmedia News


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