Nearly two-thirds of Canadians in debt

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by Community Wire

The Credit Counselling Society (CCS), Canada’s leading accredited non-profit credit counselling service, today announces the release of their 2020 Consumer Debt Report. The report, conducted by CCS among members of the Angus Reid Forum, illustrates the impact COVID-19 has had on the personal finances of Canadians, and highlights the attitudes,
perceptions and behaviours around savings, debt and personal finance management
that Canadians hold.

“Through the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve seen, firsthand, that this year has been a financial wake up call for Canadians and many are feeling anxious about their financial situation,” said Scott Hannah, President and CEO of The Credit Counselling Society. “We’ve been supporting Canadians with debt management strategies for over two decades but, through this report, we can confidently confirm that it’s never been more important to proactively tackle your debt than it is right now.”

The Credit Counselling Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping consumers manage their money and debt better. CCS provides free, confidential credit counselling, debt repayment options, budgeting assistance and financial education.

The 2020 Consumer Debt Report, conducted by CCS among members of the Angus Reid Forum, found that Canadians have an inflated perception of their financial management skills with only 17% saying they need help with their finances, but 27% saying their personal finances make them feel anxious and 86% of Canadians think they can improve on one or more aspect of financial planning.

These are the findings of a survey conducted by the Credit Counselling Society from November 9 to November 12, 2020 with a representative sample of 1,805 online Canadians who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. The survey was conducted in English and French.

The survey also found that 64% of Canadians are carrying non-mortgage debt. 31% of Canadians are having trouble paying down their debt (making only the minimum payment or less) and this number is even higher for those living in Alberta (40%). 44% of Canadians have 1-month or less of emergency savings. One quarter of Canadians with non-mortgage debt have leveraged government supports (27%) and/or tapped
into personal savings (26%) during COVID-19. 95% of Canadians under 55 feel they
could improve on one or more aspects of financial planning.

The report also revealed how COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted Canadians under the age of 55, including those in lower income brackets (under $50,000 per year), and those experiencing employment change due to the pandemic.

The Credit Counselling Society conducted this 2020 Consumer Debt Survey to obtain a deeper understanding of how Canadians are doing when it comes to their money. The findings, based on a survey of nearly 2,000 people, provide important insights into the debt, perceptions, feelings, financial management skills, future outlook for Canadians. This information will guide how the non-profit credit counsellors, advisors and educators provide services and resources to their clients.

For more information about CCS or to learn more about the free services, visit www.nomoredebts.org

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