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A poll released Wednesday finds your age likely plays a role in why you think other people get into debt.
The national survey by licenced insolvency trustees Bromwich+Smith says nearly six in ten respondents over the age of 55 believe Canadians get into debt because they can’t properly distinguish between their needs and wants.
For the younger generation, half of those polled believe a lack of financial literacy and budgeting skills are the main reasons that Canadians go into debt.
Younger Canadians are also more likely to think the rising cost-of-living, mental health problems and unexpected financial emergencies such as a car accident, divorce or natural disaster contribute to increased borrowing.
“These findings are very telling of how people view debt causes in Canada,” Shaun Stack, vice president of insolvency practice at Bromwich+Smith, said in a release.
He said most indebted Canadians feel a sense of shame for being unable to manage their financial obligations.
While many people may perceive that debt is accumulated because of poor money management skills, Stack said most borrowers encounter unforeseen circumstances including a critical illness, a death in the family, divorce or job loss.
Labour market data shows women and younger Canadians have bared the brunt of job losses during the pandemic since they’re more prone to being employed in hardest-hit “high-touch” sectors such as hospitality, food service and bars.
Stack said those job losses affecting these cohorts’ perception of debt and why they’re more likely to list cost-of-living and unexpected emergencies as reasons for their finances dipping into the red.
“In the K-shaped recovery, where different parts of the economy recover at different rates, the most vulnerable cohort is being pushed even further down. Younger Canadians and women have felt a stronger impact amid the pandemic and tend to have a different understanding of the factors leading to debt, because they are living it,” he said.