CIBC Poll: New Year, Same Plan - Pay Down Debt

Paying Down Debt once again tops the list of financial priorities for 
Canadians entering 2013, while Retirement Planning declines in importance 
TORONTO, Jan. 2, 2013 /CNW/ - Canadians have named paying down debt as their 
top financial priority entering 2013 - the third year in a row that debt has 
topped the list of financial priorities across the nation. The annual poll 
conducted for CIBC by Harris/Decima also shows that retirement planning has 
fallen out of the top three priorities nationally, as age groups traditionally 
focused on retirement planning have turned their focus to debt repayment and 
other priorities in 2013. 
Over the last three years of this CIBC poll, Canadians identified the 
following as their top financial priorities:   
|                                      |2013|2012|2011|
|Paying Down Debt                      |17% |17% |14% |
|Building Savings                      |10% |10% |10% |
|Managing Day to Day Spending/Budgeting| 8% |14% |12% |
|Retirement Planning                   | 7% |11% |13% |
"These results highlight that Canadians are well aware of the importance of 
good debt management and remain focused on reducing debt in the year ahead," 
commented Christina Kramer, Executive Vice President of Retail Distribution 
and Channel Strategy for CIBC. "Having been named the top priority three years 
in a row, there is an opportunity for more Canadians to turn awareness of debt 
management into action and outline some clear steps towards paying down their 
debt in 2013." 
One of those steps could involve seeking advice about how to accelerate debt 
repayment. About half (46 per cent) of Canadians surveyed said they had met 
with an advisor in the last year, however only 6 per cent of those surveyed 
thought about debt management as a topic of conversation with an advisor. 
"Many Canadians are missing an opportunity to get advice about debt management 
as part of their broader financial plan," noted Ms. Kramer. "As you repay 
debt, you reduce interest costs which can free up some of your income to be 
directed towards other goals, such as building up your savings account or 
having a better monthly cash flow." 
Some are Delaying Retirement Planning to Focus on Debt 
A key finding of the poll is that age groups where retirement planning was 
traditionally a top priority have now shifted to a focus on debt reduction. 
For example 

    --  Two years ago, 24 per cent of respondents aged 45-64 named
        retirement planning as their top financial priority, which fell
        to just 12 per cent in this year's survey.
    --  At the same time, debt management increased as a priority from
        14 per cent two years ago to 18 per cent today for this age

"While it is important to address immediate financial needs such as debt 
reduction, it is equally important to keep long term goals such as retirement 
in sight," commented Ms. Kramer. "Even small contributions today can make it 
easier in future years to reach your retirement savings goals."

While it can be challenging to keep multiple financial goals top of mind, Ms. 
Kramer added that getting advice can help to keep the two in balance.

"It is possible to make debt repayment a priority while still keeping up 
regular investments into your retirement plan, and that can be made easier by 
having a clear plan with an advisor that outlines the steps you can take each 
month to get closer to your goals over time," added Ms. Kramer.

Advice on Delivering on Financial Priorities
    --  Recognize that your finances are all connected - Making
        progress on one aspect of your financial goals can lead to an
        opportunity to improve in others, meaning you don't have to
        focus on just one priority at a time. For example, a reduction
        in debt can free up funds to go towards savings, or to further
        accelerate debt reduction. Renewing your mortgage at a lower
        interest rate can generate an improvement in cash flow that can
        be used to start making RSP contributions earlier in life which
        can grow over time.
    --  Talk to an Advisor - Most Canadians don't think about making
        debt reduction the topic of a conversation with an advisor, but
        it can help you make progress on paying down debt by looking at
        your overall financial picture and putting realistic steps in
        place to reduce interest costs and accelerate debt repayment.
    --  Stick to your Plan - Once you have a plan in place, stick to
        it. If you fall off track, get back to your plan as soon as
        possible and keep making progress towards your goal.


Percentage of Canadians, by age, who named either paying down debt or 
retirement planning as their number one financial priority entering 2013: 

|Age Bracket|Paying|Retirement |
|           | Down | Planning  |
|           | Debt |           |
|18-24      |  12% |      0%   |
|25-34      |  24% |      5%   |
|35-44      |  28% |      4%   |
|45-54      |  21% |      11%  |
|55-64      |  13% |      13%  |
|65+        |   7% |      4%   |
    Top Financial Priority entering 2013, by region:   

|                |Paying|Building| Managing |Retirement|
|                | Down |Savings |Day to Day| Planning |
|                | Debt |        | Spending |          |
|National        |  17% |   10%  |      8%  |      7%  |
|Atlantic Canada |  20% |   10%  |      8%  |      7%  |
|Quebec          |  14% |    6%  |      5%  |      7%  |
|Ontario         |  19% |   11%  |      9%  |      6%  |
|Manitoba and    |  19% |   11%  |     10%  |      6%  |
|Saskatchewan    |      |        |          |          |
|Alberta         |  19% |   11%  |      6%  |      8%  |
|British Columbia|  17% |   14%  |      9%  |      9%  |
|                |      |        |          |          |

Percentage of Canadians who have met with an advisor in the last year, by 
|National        |46%|
|Atlantic Canada |36%|
|Quebec          |46%|
|Ontario         |49%|
|Manitoba and    |40%|
|Saskatchewan    |   |
|Alberta         |45%|
|British Columbia|47%|
Each week, Harris/Decima interviews just over 1000 Canadians through teleVox, 
the company's national telephone omnibus survey. These data were gathered in a 
sample of 2,009 Canadians between October 25th and November 4, 2012. A sample 
of this size has a margin of error of +/-2.2%, 19 times out of 20. 
CIBC is a leading North American financial institution with nearly 11 million 
personal banking and business clients. CIBC offers a full range of products 
and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, branches 
and offices across Canada, and has offices in the United States and around the 
world. You can find other news releases and information about CIBC in our 
Press Centre on our corporate website at 
Kevin Dove, Head of External Communications and Media Relations, CIBC:  (416) 
PDF available at: 
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CO: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
ST: Ontario
-0- Jan/02/2013 11:00 GMT
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