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CIBC Poll: Debt Free? 14 per cent of Canadians with debt say it will never happen

CIBC Poll: Debt Free? 14 per cent of Canadians with debt say it will never 
happen 
Canadians 65 and over more likely to feel their debt could be with them for 
life; Some Canadians comfortable with current debt level and don't plan to pay 
it off 
TORONTO, July 31, 2013 /CNW/ - A new CIBC (TSX: CM) (NYSE: CM) poll conducted 
by Harris/Decima shows 14 per cent of Canadians carrying debt believe they 
will never be debt free - a number that jumps to 21 per cent for Canadians 65 
years of age and up. 
Key poll findings include: 


    --  14 per cent of Canadians holding debt today believe they will
        never be completely debt free.
    --  Another 10 per cent said they don't know when they'll be able
        to completely pay off their debt.
    --  Collectively, that means 24 per cent of Canadians holding debt
        today have no defined timeline to pay it off.
    --  Age plays a role within the 14 per cent who say they will never
        be debt free - among Canadians 65 and over who carry debt
        today, 21 per cent said they would never be debt free, while
        only 7 per cent of Canadians between ages 18-34 said the same.

"While past research has shown many Canadians are making progress on reducing 
debt, there is a smaller group that feels they won't be able to achieve debt 
freedom in the long run," said Christina Kramer, Executive Vice President, 
Retail Distribution and Channel Strategy, CIBC. "Carrying debt over the long 
term without a plan to pay it off means you are taking a risk with your long 
term financial goals, including retirement."

Too Far in Debt, or Too Comfortable?

Interestingly, the reasons Canadians feel they may carry debt over the long 
term range from financial circumstances, to a smaller group who are actually 
comfortable with the idea of carrying debt for life.

Within the 14 per cent of Canadians who said they would never be debt free:
    --  25 per cent of this group said they are already too far in debt
        to pay it off based on their current circumstances
    --  16 per cent said they can't pay it off because the cost of
        living is too high
    --  12 per cent said they have a comfortable level of debt and
        don't intend to pay it off

"An advisor can help you look at your overall financial picture and develop 
short term targets for debt repayment that will start improving your cash flow 
and reducing your interest costs," noted Ms. Kramer. "Choosing to carry debt 
over the long term may carry risks because your financial circumstances 
tomorrow might make it harder to manage the debt level you have today. That's 
why it makes sense to make progress on debt repayment, even if you are 
comfortable with the debt you hold today."

Canadians 65 and over Holding Debt More Likely to Feel They're Stuck with it

While Canadians 65 and over were among the most likely to say they were debt 
free (42 per cent) in prior CIBC polls, those with debt in this age group were 
among the most likely to feel they would never pay it off completely. In 
contrast, younger Canadians were more optimistic they would get a handle on 
debt over time, with only 7 per cent (aged 18-34) saying they would hold debt 
for life.

"Canadians 65 and over are more likely to be working with a fixed income, 
which can make debt repayment more challenging,' added Ms. Kramer. "The key is 
setting smaller goals and then working towards them, since every dollar you 
reduce in debt also reduces interest costs, and helps your cash flow."

Advice for Canadians Looking to Get a Handle on their Debt

CIBC offers these tips to help Canadians take charge of their finances and 
reduce debt as part of their long term financial plan.
    --  Get Started - even small steps to reduce debt can deliver
        benefits by reducing the interest you pay each month. For those
        Canadians who can't determine when they'll be debt free, it's
        important to get started and then refine your goals as you go.
    --  Pay off higher interest debt first -  Make lump sum payments to
        higher interest debt first to reduce interest costs.
    --  Talk to an Advisor - If you have debt, work with an advisor to
        structure it to minimize your overall interest costs by
        utilizing debt products that offer a lower interest rate and
        having a strategy to pay these balances down in a specific time
        frame.
    --  Increase your Payments - While interest rates remain near
        historic lows, don't ignore the long term benefits of making
        small adjustments to your payment today. Setting your debt
        payment even slightly higher than your required payment can
        reduce your overall interest costs and help you become debt
        free faster.
    --  Use free budgeting tools to help you stay on budget - CIBC
        CreditSmart, available to CIBC credit card holders, allows you
        to set customized budgets and receive spend alerts if you
        exceed your planned budget for the month, helping you stay on
        top of your everyday budgeting and saving.

Additional Data:

Among Canadians with debt, percentage that say they will never be completely 
debt free when looking ahead, by region:

National                14%

Atlantic Canada         18%

Quebec                  10%

Ontario                 15%

Manitoba/Saskatchewan   15%

Alberta                  9%

British Columbia        18%

Among Canadians with debt, percentage that say they are not sure when they 
will be completely debt free when looking ahead, by region:

National                10%

Atlantic Canada         12%

Quebec                  10%

Ontario                  9%

Manitoba/Saskatchewan   11%

Alberta                 10%

British Columbia        10%

Among Canadians with debt, percentage that say they will never be completely 
debt free when looking ahead, by demographic:

National                   14%

18-24 years of age          3%

25-34 years of age          9%

35-44 years of age         15%

45-54 years of age         15%

55-64 years of age         13%

65 years of age and over   21%

Among Canadians with debt, percentage that say they are not sure when they 
will be completely debt free when looking ahead, by demographic:

National                   10%

18-24 years of age         11%

25-34 years of age          4%

35-44 years of age          8%

45-54 years of age          7%

55-64 years of age         13%

65 years of age and over   20%

Results are based on a CIBC poll conducted by Harris/Decima, via teleVox, 
which surveyed 2,002 Canadians. The associated margin of error is +/-2.2%, 
19 times out of 20. Polling was conducted between March 28(th) to April 7(th), 
2013.

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 www.cibc.com.



SOURCE  CIBC 
Kevin Dove, Head of External Communications, CIBC, 
416-980-8835,Kevin.dove@cibc.ca 
To view this news release in HTML formatting, please use the following URL: 
http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/July2013/31/c2534.html 
CO: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
ST: Ontario
NI: FIN ECOSURV  
-0- Jul/31/2013 09:00 GMT
 
 
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