Debt free at 53: Prairie residents expect to reach debt freedom earliest,
according to RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook

Job anxiety remains low in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, but is starting to rise

TORONTO, Feb. 1 /CNW/ - The January RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook report finds that Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents expect to be debt free by age 53, earlier than anyone else in the country and four years ahead of the national average of 57 years old. Prairie residents are least likely to be concerned about their current debt levels (50 per cent, well below the national average of 58 per cent).

The survey also finds that job anxiety in Saskatchewan and Manitoba is among the lowest in the country at 19 per cent, second only to Atlantic Canada at 18 per cent. However, job anxiety in the Prairies is significantly higher than last month (seven per cent in December). Job anxiety has risen across the country, with the national average at 26 per cent, up from 21 per cent in December.

"Prairie residents are exceptionally optimistic compared to other regions of the country," said Rob Johnston, regional president, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and North Western Ontario, RBC. "A great way to preserve that optimism is through a solid financial plan that reduces debt and builds financial security."

    Regional highlights include:

    -   National Economy: Respondents from Saskatchewan and Manitoba have the
        best assessment of the current economy, with 68 per cent rating it as
        good, compared to 48 per cent nationally. Prairie residents (along
        with Quebecers) are the least likely to be optimistic when
        considering the economy over the next three months, with 30 per cent
        expecting conditions to improve, plummeting from 50 per cent in
        December. A slight majority (51 per cent) think the Canadian economy
        will improve in the next year, a significant drop from 64 per cent in

    -   Personal Financial Situation (Overall): More Prairie residents
        indicate that their financial situation improved over the last three
        months than anywhere else in the country (31 per cent, compared to 20
        per cent in December and 21 per cent nationally). Forty-eight per
        cent of respondents from Saskatchewan and Manitoba expect their own
        personal financial situation to improve over the next year, a rise of
        17 per cent from last month and second only to Quebec (49 per cent).

"The optimism of Prairie residents is well-founded, as the economic indicators in Saskatchewan and Manitoba are strong," said Craig Wright, senior vice-president and chief economist, RBC. "We expect Saskatchewan's economy to grow by a strong 3.9 per cent in 2010 and our forecast for Manitoba's real GDP growth is 3.2 per cent in 2010."

About The RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook Index

The RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook Index, benchmarked as of November 2009, is based on the results of an online survey of 1,014 Canadians, ages 18 and over, conducted by Ipsos Reid between January 8 and 14, 2010. This data represents the most timely and comprehensive snapshot of consumer attitudes regarding their finances and the economy in Canada. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and 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. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100 per cent response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/-3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults in Canada been polled.


For further information: For further information: Rina Cortese, RBC Corporate Communications, (416) 974-6970; Gillian McArdle, RBC Media Relations, (647) 400-8464

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