Serious Debt Not a Serious Problem for Canadians

By Andrew Rickard | September 02 2014 02:11PM

Those who are most deeply in debt say they are not worried about it.

On August 27th, the Bank of Montreal (BMO) released its Psychology of Debt Report. The report examines how much debt Canadians plan to take on within the next year, how long they expect to carry debt, and how it affects their lives.

The survey revealed that, on average, Canadians are currently $76,140 in debt and expect to take on another $19,534 in the the coming twelve months. They believe they will be able to pay off these debts in seven years. Those aged between 35 and 54 have the highest level of indebtedness; they owe an average of $92,476 and expect to incur another $25,415 of debt in the next year.

"Household debt levels at various ages reflect the financial obligations and milestones at different times in one's life," comments Tony Tintinalli, regional vice president at the Bank of Montreal. He points out that Canadians aged 35 to 54 are "in the middle of their financial milestones", and may still be still carrying both student loans and mortgage debts while also facing payments for their children's education and their own retirement.

Although people in the age 35 to 54 demographic have the most debt, the BMO survey revealed that only 39% consider it major personal problem. Millennials, on the other hand, were the most concerned about their indebtedness: 50% of those aged 18 to 34 said they are ashamed of the amount of debt they carry, 59% describe their household debt as a major personal problem, and 66% say their debt has caused them to miss out on things like social gatherings or trips. The average debt load for the Millennial demographic is $73.305.