More than a third of Canadian homeowners say they have been unable to pay their monthly bills at least once in the past year.

A poll by Manulife, conducted in February 2016, shows that 4 per cent of respondents struggle every month and 60 per cent are not confident in having enough money saved for their retirement.

Mortgage debt has increased to $181,000 on average from $175,000 in a similar poll last autumn.

“Our research has consistently found that becoming debt-free is among the top financial priorities for Canadian homeowners.  They must also find a balance between debt repayment and saving for retirement so they don't end up house-rich and asset poor,” said Rick Lunny, President and Chief Executive Officer, Manulife Bank of Canada.

More than a quarter of homeowners predict their home equity will comprise 80 per cent or more of their household wealth at the time they retire. A further 17 per cent believe it will make up between 60 and 80 per cent of their household wealth. Notably, almost one quarter (24 per cent) of homeowners in their fifties expect their home equity will make up 80 per cent or more of their wealth when they retire.

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