Personal debt levels still a concern despite improved finances

Two thirds of working Canadians say their finances are in better shape now than they were a year ago but many are concerned about their debts.

A poll from the Canadian Payroll Association shows that 44% would struggle to meet their financial obligations if their pay cheque was delayed by a week, rising to 47% of Gen-Xers.

Faced with an emergency, 1 in 5 respondents said they could not come up with $2,000.

Forty per cent of working Canadians feel overwhelmed by their level of debt (up from 35% last year) with 34% saying their debt load increased over the year.

More respondents than last year are expecting to take longer to pay down their debt with 43% saying it will take more than 10 years to do so (up from 42% in 2017 and 36% in 2016). 12% believe they will never be debt free.

Mortgages hardest debt to clear
Most (94%) of respondents have some debt including mortgages (28%), credit cards (18%), and car loans (18%). 1 in 5 have a line of credit.

Mortgages were deemed most difficult to pay down (30%) followed by credit cards (25%).

"We would have hoped to see in the survey results that Canadians would do more to alleviate their debt and take control of their financial situation in strong economic times," says Peter Tzanetakis, President of the Canadian Payroll Association. "Now is the time to pay down debt, contribute to retirement savings and take control of your financial future. Many Canadians seem to be complacent and are still not focused on the big picture."

When asked about the best way to improve their financial well-being, the number one response is higher wages (25%), versus spending less (19%).

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