Canadians ages 18 to 34 are struggling the most with increasing interest rates and inflationary pressures, found the 2024 Consumer Debt Report prepared for the Credit Counselling Society (CCS) and released Feb. 13. The report is based on data from an Angus Reid survey fielded between Jan. 4 to 15, 2024. 

Fifty-four percent of these younger Canadians say they have taken on more debt to keep their finances afloat, the report revealed.

Moving back in with parents 

One in five Canadians ages 18 to 34 report having had to move back in with their parents or other relatives because of higher interest rates and inflation, while another 21 % says there is a significant chance that they could be obliged to do the same.

Meanwhile, 20 % of younger Canadians surveyed said they have taken on a second job or started a side gig to deal with the higher cost of living. Another 42 % said they believed there is a “significant possibility” they might have to do so.

Spending more on essentials  

Among all respondents, the survey revealed that 85 % of Canadians who reported being worse off financially now compared to one year ago, attributed this situation to “spending more on essentials as a leading cause.” 47 % cited an increase in debt, and 38 % mentioned emergency expenses as contributing to this decline. 

"For the third year in a row we've seen a decrease in how confident Canadians feel about their current financial situation," states Peta Wales, President & CEO of the Credit Counselling Society. "These are challenging times for a lot of folks. Taking on more debt, or eroding your savings to get by, will spell even more hardship in the future." 

Wales urges those who are anxious about their finances to seek out expert help. "Don't let fear paralyze you, or worse, cause your overall mental health to suffer. Be proactive and get help, you'll feel better for taking action and can look forward to a more stable financial future."