Many Canadians aren’t achieving debt reduction goals, says Manulife Bank survey

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Being debt-free is a priority for 64 per cent of Canadians, according to a survey released Nov. 23 by Manulife Bank of Canada, however only 31 per cent actually met their debt reduction goals over the past year.

Despite this reality, more than half of Canadians claim to have “good knowledge of debt management (54 per cent). Only 41 per cent of those surveyed said they were comfortable with their level of debt.

Knowledge does not equal power

"When it comes to debt, knowledge alone does not equal power," said Rick Lunny, President and CEO of Manulife Bank. "There is a clear gap between what Canadians say they know about managing debt, their good intentions, and their ability to do something about it."

The survey also revealed that 24 per cent of Canadians are embarrassed to talk about how much debt they have. Forty per cent could not say they knew whom to talk to about debt management, while 55 per cent said they seldom discuss debt with friends or family.

Looking for guidance

More than seven in ten Canadians (71 per cent) said they would like to gain confidence about financial decisions and most look for guidance from their banks to help pay down debt. However, only 16 per cent believe banks help them reduce debt. Forty-six per cent of respondents said they do not know how their bank could help.

"People should feel confident that they have allies when it comes to managing and reducing debt,” says Lunny. “Beginning to talk about debt, especially with a financial advisor, is a very important first step. Canadians who do not have a financial advisor are encouraged to seek out somebody they can trust," says Lunny.

As published in The Investment & Insurance Journal by The IIJ Staff Nov. 23, 2017 01:30 p.m.

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