Paying down debt and planning for retirement top the list of current financial priorities for Canadians: CIBC Poll

Canadians may be missing opportunities to get advice on some of their top financial priorities from a financial advisor

TORONTO, Jan. 6 /CNW/ - Paying down debt is a top priority for Canadians according to a recent CIBC Poll conducted by Harris/Decima, but there's a significant difference in priorities depending on age with retirement planning top of mind for Canadians aged 45 to 64.

When asked to name their top financial priority, the top three responses from Canadians were:

  • Paying Down Debt (14 per cent)
  • Retirement Planning (13 per cent)
  • Managing Day to Day Spending and Budgeting (12 per cent)

Priorities vary across age groups:

  • Among 25 to 44 year-olds, 20 per cent named paying down debt as their top financial priority right now, followed by getting the right advice about their mortgage (13 per cent) and working to build savings for the future (13 per cent).

  • Those 45 to 64 have a strong focus on getting their plans and savings in place for retirement (24 per cent named this their top financial priority) followed by paying down debt (14 per cent).

  • Managing day to day spending and budgeting was also a key theme in the survey across all age groups. Those 65 and over placed a particular emphasis on this, with 22 per cent of those surveyed over age 65 naming this as their number one financial priority.

"It's no surprise to see that the financial needs of Canadians vary at different stages of life, which speaks to the need for individual financial advice based on your personal financial situation and your goals," said Victor Dodig, Executive Vice-President of Retail Distribution & Wealth Management, CIBC Retail Markets. "Clearly younger Canadians are focused on staying on top of their monthly cash flow and working to pay down their mortgage and other debts they may have, while Canadians in mid-career or closer to retirement are more focused on retirement planning."

The survey also revealed that Canadians may be missing opportunities to get advice about their financial priorities. When asked what comes to mind when they think about a conversation with a financial advisor, most Canadians mentioned Retirement Planning (27 per cent) or Investment Advice (22 per cent). While paying down debt was identified as a priority in the poll, only a small percentage thought about debt reduction (4 per cent) or cash flow management (5 per cent) as the topic of a conversation with a financial advisor.

"An advisor can certainly help many clients with their retirement or choosing the right investments, but we're also seeing advisory conversations every day across our branch network on topics related to managing their cash flow using free budgeting tools, or developing strategies to pay down their debt," added Mr. Dodig.

Mr. Dodig commented that taking an integrated view of your finances is critical to accomplishing goals such as paying down debt. "One of the first steps to making progress in reducing your debt is taking a broad view of your finances and looking at strategies that can help you reduce your debt faster."

CIBC Advisors can assist with a range of debt reduction strategies including simple tips and integrated strategies to help you reduce debt faster:

Reducing Interest Expenses- CIBC's Mortgage Switch offer allows clients to transfer their existing mortgage to CIBC at a rate that may be lower than the rate they are paying currently, while providing immediate cash back up front to help mitigate any prepayment charges that may be charged by their current lender. Locking in at a lower rate can reduce monthly interest charges, allowing for more money to be directed to reducing principal, or directed towards other financial goals such as debt reduction or savings.

Consolidating high interest debt and paying your credit card in full each month are also strategies that can reduce interest expenses, improve cash flow, and support accelerated debt repayment.

Using active budgeting tools - Take advantage of services that update you regularly on your monthly spending. CIBC CreditSmart credit management tools help track and manage day-to-day spending by organizing purchases into 10 common categories and will send you Spend Alerts that notify you when you've exceeded your customized budget or are nearing your credit limit. CIBC Mobile Banking gives clients an opportunity to check on their account balance and activity anywhere they can use their mobile device to help them stay on top of their day to day spending when they are on the go, including checking on their account while they are out shopping.

Complete a CIBC Financial Health Check - A CIBC advisor can use the CIBC Financial HealthCheck to help you reach your financial goals. Together you will determine where you are financially, where you want to be, and how to get there. A conversation with a CIBC advisor can help you identify and focus on your goals, assess your current financial situation and develop relevant solutions to help you work towards achieving what matters to you.

Results are based on a CIBC telephone poll conducted by Harris/Decima, via teleVox, which surveyed 2,017 Canadians.  The associated margin of error is +/-2.2%, 19 times out of 20. Polling was conducted between September 23 and October 4, 2010

For more information and advice, visit or your local CIBC branch, or call 1-800-465-CIBC (1-800-465-2422). CIBC 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, 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


For further information:

contact Kevin Dove, Senior Director, Communications and Public Affairs, 416-980-8835 or


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