Half (48%) of Canadians are Less than $200 Away Monthly From Being Financially Insolvent

One in Three (31%) Canadians Agree that Rising Interest Rates Could Push them Closer towards Bankruptcy

Toronto, ON - Nearly one half (48%) of Canadians are $200 or less per month away from not being able to meet all of their bills or debt obligations each month, including 26% who say they already don't make enough money to cover their bills and debt payments, according to a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of MNP.

Residents of Ontario (29%) and Quebec (29%) are most likely to say they already don't make enough to cover their bills and debt payments, followed by those living in Atlantic Canada (24%), Alberta (21%), British Columbia (19%) and Saskatchewan and Manitoba (17%).

Moreover, it will take some time for Canadians to dig out of the non-mortgage debt that they have accumulated, with the average Canadian with debt saying it will take approximately 7 years before they are debt free, completely ignoring the 15% who believes that they will never be debt-free.

  • Most likely to say that they will never be debt-free are residents of Atlantic Canada (28%), followed distantly by those in Saskatchewan and Manitoba (17%), Alberta (16%), BC (15%), Ontario (15%) and Quebec (10%).
  • Among those who think they'll be able to climb out of debt, it will take Ontarians the longest (8 years on average), followed by those in Quebec (7 years), Atlantic Canada (6 years), BC (6 years), Alberta (6 years) and Saskatchewan and Manitoba (5 years).
  • Most likely to be debt-free already are residents of BC (50%), and Quebec (45%), followed by those living in Alberta (39%), Ontario (38%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (37%) and Atlantic Canada (31%).

Given the amount of debt that Canadians hold, and the length of time that it will take many of them to pay off their outstanding debts, it's interesting to note that four in ten (43%) `agree' (17% strongly/27% somewhat) that they regret the amount of debt they've taken on during their life. A similar proportion (43%) agrees (15% strongly/28% somewhat) that they are concerned about their current level of debt.

A positive note is that a relatively small proportion of the population appears more relaxed in their attitudes towards debt: just one in three (32%) agrees (6% strongly/26% somewhat) that debt is not a big deal to them - it's just a fact of life, while the vast majority (68%) of Canadians `disagree' (36% strongly/32% somewhat).

Looking ahead in 2016...

Interest rates are garnering a lot of attention recently, given rock-bottom interest rates in Canada. However, interest rates will rise eventually, and many Canadians (31%) `agree' (9% strongly/22% somewhat) that rising interest rates could move them towards bankruptcy. Further, three in ten (28%) `agree' (7% strongly/21% somewhat) that things are so tight that they anticipate needing to incur debt to pay regular household expenses in 2016.

Given the findings of the research, it's not surprising that two in three (64%) `agree' (25% strongly/39% somewhat) that paying down debt is their number-one financial goal, ahead of saving, spending or other priorities. In fact, more generally, eight in ten (82%) `agree' (33%% strongly/49% somewhat) that paying down debt is more important, financially than saving.

Looking to get some help with managing their debt responsibilities, nearly two in ten (16%) `agree' (4% strongly/12% somewhat) that this year they plan to look for information or consult a professional about financial insolvency or bankruptcy, led by Albertans (21%).

Understanding Insolvency and Bankruptcy...

When it comes to the terms insolvency and bankruptcy, Canadians appear to be not as strong in their knowledge as they could be: six in ten (60%) `agree' (21%) strongly/39% somewhat) that they are aware of the differences between insolvency and bankruptcy, while four in ten (40%) `disagree' (15% strongly/25% somewhat), admitting that they're not aware of the difference.

Moreover, many are unaware of the resources available to them, as only a slim majority (55%) `agree' (16% strongly/40% somewhat) that they would know where to turn if they were to become financially insolvent, while nearly half (45%) `disagree' (20% strongly/25% somewhat).

Despite some gaps in their knowledge, four in ten (43%) Canadians `agree' (17% strongly/26% somewhat) that they personally know someone who has become insolvent, with Quebecers (51%) and Atlantic Canadians (47%) being more likely than those in Ontario (42%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (40%), Alberta (40%) and BC (37%) to say so. For more information from MNP, visit http://mnpdebt.ca/en/resources/mnp-debt-blog/pages/details.aspx?post=one-in-three-canadians-feel-rising-interest-rates-could-push-them-towards-bankruptcy

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between January 26 and January 29, 2016, on behalf of MNP. For this survey, a sample of 1,582 Canadians from Ipsos' online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/ - 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Sean Simpson
Vice President
Ipsos Public Affairs
[email protected]

About Ipsos in Canada

Ipsos is Canada's market intelligence leader, the country's leading provider of public opinion research, and research partner for loyalty and forecasting and modelling insights. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in the country, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and online panels. Ipsos' marketing research and public affairs practices offer the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada, all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, Ipsos offers syndicated information or custom solutions across key sectors of the Canadian economy, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, automotive, retail, and technology & telecommunications. Ipsos is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group.

To learn more, please visit ipsos.ca.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks third in the global research industry.

With offices in 86 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across six research specializations: advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, public affairs research, and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of e1,669.5 ($2,218.4 million) in 2014.

Visit ipsos.com to learn more about Ipsos' offerings and capabilities.

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