Poll reveals most Canadians are taking a "do-it-yourself" approach to
managing debt instead of consulting an advisor to map out a strategy
72 per cent of Canadians report holding some form of debt
61 per cent say they are making good progress towards paying down their debt so far
Only 21 per cent of Canadians have talked with an advisor in the last year about how to
better manage their debt
42 per cent of Canadians see their current level of debt as an obstacle to reaching
their future financial goals
TORONTO, Aug. 8, 2011 /CNW/ - A new poll from CIBC conducted by
Harris-Decima shows that while Canadians are taking steps towards
reducing their debt in 2011, many still see their debt as an obstacle
to achieving their financial goals, and may not be using all available
options to help them become debt-free sooner.
Nationally, 72 per cent of Canadians report holding some form of debt, while 28 per cent say they are debt-free.
The 35-44 age group is the most likely to hold various forms of debt,
with 89 per cent of this age group reporting that they hold at least some debt.
Canadians aged 18-24 (49 per cent) and those 65 and up (44 per cent) were least likely to hold debt according to the poll.
Among Canadians who reported holding some debt as part of the poll, 61 per cent say they are making good progress towards paying down their debt so far
in 2011. The steps these Canadians have taken this year include:
46 per cent have made at least one lump sum payment towards their debt
44 per cent have instituted a household budget
46 per cent see themselves as making sacrifices in order to better manage their
According to past CIBC research released in January 2011, paying down
debt was named the top financial priority for Canadians this year.
"Managing debt as part of their overall financial plan is top of mind
for Canadians in 2011, and these latest poll results show that some
progress is being made," commented Christina Kramer, Executive Vice
President, Retail Distribution and Channel Strategy, CIBC. "Taking
simple steps such as making an extra payment or implementing a budget
for your family can make a positive difference in your long term plans
for debt reduction."
Despite signs of progress, the poll also revealed that most Canadians
are taking a 'do-it-yourself' approach to debt management, and may be
missing opportunities to accelerate their debt repayment in the
process. Among Canadians with debt, only 21 per cent have had a conversation with an advisor sometime in the last year about
strategies to reduce their debt faster.
"Canadians often associate getting financial advice with topics like
saving for retirement and investing, but they should also think about
making debt reduction part of a broader conversation with an advisor
about their overall finances," commented Ms. Kramer. "Reviewing your
overall interest costs and determining how best to allocate your money
towards your debt can help take years off your mortgage and reduce the
amount you pay in interest on a monthly basis."
Making continued progress on debt management will be integral to the
long term financial plans of many Canadians, as 42 per cent of Canadians who hold debt see it as an obstacle to their long term
"Building savings and putting money away for life events such as your
child's education or your retirement are important goals for many of
us, and ensuring that you manage your debt effectively while also
working towards those goals is key to long term financial success,"
added Ms. Kramer.
Canadians looking to reduce their debt should consider the following
tips and advice:
Meet with an Advisor and Build a Strategy: An advisor can help to identify opportunities to reduce interest costs
and structure a repayment plan that allows for debt reduction while
also building towards other important financial goals such as building
Pay Higher Interest Debt First: Almost half of Canadians with debt reported making a lump sum payment
to their debt so far in 2011. To maximize the effectiveness of these
payments, direct these extra funds to the highest interest rate debt
you hold to help reduce ongoing monthly interest costs.
Manage and Track Spending: Free services like CIBC CreditSmart can help Canadians stick to their
budget. Free to CIBC credit card holders, CIBC CreditSmart allows
clients to set a budget limit on each spending category on their credit
card, and be notified by phone, email or online message when they
exceed their customized budget.
Stay on Top of your Chequing Account: CIBC Mobile Banking allows you to stay on top of your chequing account
balance anytime, anywhere. You can check your balance and monitor your
daily spending using your smartphone. You can also make transfers to
your savings account, or send and receive Interac Email Money
KEY POLL FINDINGS
Does your current level of debt represent an obstacle in achieving your
future financial goals?
A significant obstacle - 9%
Somewhat of an obstacle - 32%
Not much of an obstacle - 29%
Not at all an obstacle - 28%
How much progress would you say you've made on paying down your debt
Very Good Progress - 26%
Good Progress - 35%
Fair Progress - 22%
Poor Progress - 8%
Very Poor Progress - 8%
Percentage of respondents by region who report being debt-free
BC - 37%
Alberta - 23%
Man/Sask - 30%
Ontario - 26%
Quebec - 29%
Atlantic - 29%
In addition to being the most likely age group to hold debt, Canadians
aged 35-44 were also most likely to believe their level of debt is an
obstacle to achieving their future financial goals at 48 per cent vs the national average of 42 per cent.
Each week, Harris/Decima interviews just over 1000 Canadians through
teleVox, the company's national telephone omnibus survey. These data
were gathered in a sample of 2,008 Canadians between June 30, 2011 and
July 10, 2011. A sample of this size has a margin of error of +/-2.2%,
19 times out of 20.
CIBC (CM: TSX;NYSE) is a leading North American financial institution
with nearly 11 million personal banking and business clients. CIBC
offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive
electronic banking network, branches and offices across Canada, and has
offices in the United States and around the world. You can find other
news releases and information about CIBC in our Press Centre on our
corporate website at www.cibc.com.
For further information:
Kevin Dove, Senior Director, External Communications and Media Relations: (416) 980-8835 or Kevin.firstname.lastname@example.org