Paying down debt is the top financial priority for Canadian consumers in 2017, according to new research from CIBC.
The bank found that reducing or eliminating debt was at the highest level since 2010. It was the number one financial concern for 28% of the 1,507 Canadian adults questioned, up from 26% a year ago.
Other financial priorities for the coming year included: keeping up with bills or getting by (16%); growing existing savings or investments (11%); saving for a vacation or travel (8%); and saving for retirement (6%).
Of those prioritizing debt repayment, the vast majority (76%) were most concerned with paying their credit card and line of credit debts.
The survey also revealed that 70% of Canadians did not take on any new debt in the past 12 months, while 28% did. Among those incurring new debt, almost a third (32%) cited managing day-to-day expenses beyond their monthly income as the primary reason.
"With debt loads continuing to climb, it's encouraging that repaying debt remains a top priority for Canadians," commented Scott Wambolt, senior vice president of Retail and Business Banking at CIBC. "However, with some Canadians saying they are taking on debt just to cover day-to-day expenses and too few actually seeking advice on how to build a repayment plan, it's clear there is a gap when it comes to taking action on debt reduction."
CIBC found that just over half of those surveyed (52%) plan to reduce their spending on non-essential items to meet their 2017 financial goals. Yet only a quarter (26%) will actually set a household budget, and fewer still (12%) will meet with a financial advisor to get professional advice on how to reduce their debt and meet their financial goals.
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