Financial Fitness regime is the key to healthy spending
TORONTO, Oct. 29, 2013 /CNW/ - Debt levels are on the rise across
Canada, the number of Canadians who report being debt-free has
decreased. Fewer than one-quarter (24 per cent) of Canadians are now
debt free, down from 26 per cent in 2012, according to the 3rd annual
RBC Debt Poll. Canadians are focusing on financial fitness with a
year-round emphasis on spending less and saving more.
As the number of people carrying debt has increased, the average
personal debt (non-mortgage) reached $15,920 in 2013 (up from $13,141
in 2012). Anxiety around debt is still a reality for many, as nearly
four-in-ten (38 per cent) Canadians are very anxious about their debt levels, up from 34 per cent in 2012, but the same
number of Canadians (38 per cent) are comfortable with their debt.
According to the poll, in an effort to practice financial fitness and
reduce personal debt, Canadians have gone back to basics - reigning in
spending by putting off big ticket items including vacations and
"Despite the rising debt figure, there is a noticeable trend to
responsible debt behaviour over the past year," said Kim Taylor,
director, Personal Lending, RBC. "We are also seeing that others need
to take a step back to better manage the debt they are carrying. Before
you start on any new routine, it is always best to set goals and have a
plan in place. Marathon training often begins with a 5k race, and a
financial plan with a path to debt repayment is key to your financial
The RBC Debt Poll found that there was a great divide between Western and Eastern Canada, with debt levels increasing a staggering 35 per cent* in the West
compared to 20 per cent in the East since 2012. Alberta, faced with
regional floods earlier this year, showed a significant increase in
debt load, rising 63 per cent from 2012. Despite the higher percentage
of debt in the West, residents of Eastern Canada (41 per cent) are more
anxious than their Western neighbours (34 per cent) about their debt
*Does not include Alberta data, which was collected after the Alberta
"Regardless of where you live, it remains clear that Canadians on the
whole can benefit from understanding the true cost of debt and
responsible borrowing practices," said Taylor. "If you're uncertain
about debt, talk to a professional and build a roadmap on how to get to
where you need to be. Knowledge is power, and a planner can help
provide you with the tools you need to move forward."
Taylor offers the following tips on getting financially fit:
Get to know your debt: credit cards, loans, lines of credit - how much
do you owe?
Online calculators such as the Debt Reduction Plan are available for you to get a better picture of your exact debt
Schedule an appointment to speak with an Account Manager.
An Account Manager is your best tool to help provide unique solutions
for you to work on your financial fitness.
Look at your options: what do you think makes the most sense for you to
Ask yourself: What are you most comfortable with and what is the best
way for you to pay off your debt? A consolidation calculator can help you determine what's best for you.
Make a plan to reduce your debt and stick to it.
Like any fitness plan, this is no different: you need to stick to it to
About the 3rd Annual RBC Debt Poll
The RBC Debt Poll was conducted by Ipsos Reid. Data was collected from
August 22 to 27, 2013. The online survey is based on a randomly
selected representative sample of 2,108 adult Canadians that was
statistically weighted by region, age and gender composition according
to the Census data. The results are based on a sample where quota
sampling and weighting are employed to balance demographics and ensure
that the sample's composition reflects that of the actual Canadian
population according to Census data. Quota samples with weighting from
the Ipsos online panel provide results that are intended to approximate
a probability sample. An unweighted probability sample of 2,108, with
100 per cent response rate, would have an estimated margin of error of
±2 per cent, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error within subgroups
of the sample will be higher.
About RBC and financial advice, tools and resources
All Canadians can visit the RBC Advice Centre rbcadvicecentre.com for guidance on how to handle their debt. Interactive tools and
calculators, such as the Debt Reduction Plan and Debt Consolidation Calculator, provide customized information covering all facets of saving and using
credit. For RBC personal banking clients, an online financial
management tool, myFinanceTracker, is available at no cost to create a set budget and track their
For further information:
Jill Anzarut, Communications, RBC, 647 534-5118
Ciaran Dickson, Communications, RBC, 647 625-2763