Homeowners More Comfortable With Debt Than Previous Generations

par Andrew Rickard | June 19 2014 07:10AM

A recent Manulife Bank of Canada survey reveals that four in ten homeowners are more comfortable with debt than their parents, compared to just one in eight who feel they’re less comfortable. The gap in comfort level was greatest among homeowners in their fifties, who were nearly five times more likely to say they are more at ease with debt than their parents.

The survey also suggests that the definition of debt is in flux. Almost half (45%) of those surveyed said they would consider themselves debt-free even if they had a mortgage, although this varies significantly by demographic. Two thirds of homeowners in their twenties (68%) don’t include their mortgage when they think about their debt, compared to 60% of those in their 30’s, 48% of those in their 40’s and just 29% of those in their 50’s.

“This may reflect a difference in focus,” comments Jason Daly, VP Product, Marketing & Business Development at Manulife Bank. “Younger homeowners are more likely to carry higher-interest consumer debt, which they’d be smart to focus on paying down. However those in their 40s and 50s may have already tackled their consumer debt and are becoming more focused on paying off their mortgage before retirement.”