46% of Canadians on the brink of insolvency, survey finds
A new survey indicates almost half of Canadians have pushed their finances perilously close to the brink, underscoring the heavy toll that mounting debt loads are taking on households in this country.
Forty-six per cent of respondents to an Ipsos survey conducted on behalf MNP Ltd. said they're within $200 of insolvency every month, compared with 40 per cent who faced such dire circumstances in the previous survey in September.
Nearly the same proportion of respondents (39 per cent) to the latest survey, which was conducted from Dec. 7-12 and is based on responses from 2,154 participants, said they're worried they'll be pushed into bankruptcy if interest rates rise any higher.
“Many [Canadians] have so little wiggle room that any increase in living costs or interest payments can tip them over the edge," said MNP President Grant Bazian in a release.
The Bank of Canada raised its benchmark lending rate three times last year, taking it to 1.75 per cent. The bank left that rate unchanged at its most recent meeting on Jan. 9, but reiterated that rates will "need to rise over time."
Based on the most recent data available from Statistics Canada, a closely-monitored gauge of household debt showed that, on average, Canadians owed almost $1.74 for every dollar of disposable income in the third quarter of 2018.
And as rates rise, some borrowers are second-guessing their financial decisions: the MNP survey shows 43 per cent of respondents regret how much debt they've taken out.
"For most, the cause of trouble appears to be long term accumulated debt," Bazian said. "It may have been acquired over many years and they managed to pay the monthly interest until now. They just can’t carry it any longer at higher interest rates."