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Many Canadians at risk in the event of higher interest rates or economic downturn

By The IJ Staff | September 05 2018 01:30PM

Photo: Freepik

While 66 per cent of working Canadians report being in a better financial position than a year ago, they have high debt levels and do not save enough for retirement, putting them “at severe risk in the event of economic changes,” according to a survey by the Canadian Payroll Association (CPA) released today.

The CPA says there have been some positive gains for working Canadians. The level of full time employment stands at 90 per cent and the number of households with a total income of $125,000 or more has increased.

Confidence is also rising. Thirty-nine per cent of working Canadians believe their local economy will improve, which is up slightly from the three-year average of 36 per cent.

Debt level growing

However, in spite of these gains, CPA says debt levels are rising. “Forty per cent of working Canadians feel overwhelmed by their level of debt (up from 35 per cent last year). Thirty-four per cent of respondents said their debt load increased over the year (up from 31 per cent).

In addition, indebted Canadians expect it will take longer to pay down their debt – 43 per cent say it will take more than 10 years to pay it down (up from 42 per cent in 2017 and 36 per cent in 2016). And 12 per cent believe they will never be debt free.

“We would have hoped to see in the survey results that Canadians would do more to alleviate their debt and take control of their financial situation in strong economic times,” says Peter Tzanetakis, president of CPA. “Now is the time to pay down debt, contribute to retirement savings and take control of your financial future. Many Canadians seem to be complacent and are still not focused on the big picture.”

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