Most Canadians have debt, half have trouble saving

By Andrew Rickard | October 05 2016 01:30PM

A recent poll has found that 81% of Canadians have some form of debt, and about half say that it is preventing them from saving. However, only about one in ten have turned to an advisor for help.

AGF Investments released its annual Investor Survey yesterday, and it reveals that many Canadians are struggling to pay down their debts; 48% of respondents said their debts were making it difficult to save money, and this number increased to 54% among Gen Xers and 59% for Millennials. Living expenses (51%), rent or mortgage payments (44%), and student loans (32%) were the most commonly mentioned factors preventing Canadians from saving.

Asked to describe their ideal way to save, 58% of people between the ages of 18 and 49 indicated that they would prefer to pay down debt first and then save.

Canadians are more likely to turn to family and friends for advice

"We want Canadians to know that it doesn't have to be an either/or situation," says Judy Goldring, Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer at AGF Management Limited. "Regardless of how much life gets in the way, saving while paying down debt can have a significant impact on your personal balance sheet".

In addition, the poll reveals that Canadians are more likely to turn to family and friends than professionals for advice. While 25% of the respondents have asked family and friends for guidance on debt management, only 14% have approached a financial advisor.

AGF points out that advisors provide valuable services to their clients, and notes that a study conducted by the Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC) several years ago found that people who worked with financial advisors accumulated 2.5 to 3 times the wealth of those who did not.

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