Survey finds Canadians carry more debt; but pay it off

“Canadians are carrying more debt now than a year ago, but it seems like many have a better handle on paying it back, says a newly-released study.  Statistics from credit monitoring firm Equifax Canada show that consumer debt, excluding mortgages, rose 3.7 per cent in the third quarter to $507.1 billion from $489 billion a year earlier, posted The Canadian Press on the Cbc’s website early yesterday morning.” “Despite the increase in debt load, however, the overall delinquency rate — bills more than 90 days past due — dropped to a record low of 1.13 per cent in the three months ended Sept. 20. That was down from 1.22 per cent in the same period last year.  ‘People are gaining confidence and they see they can maintain more or less their lifestyle yet are more aware of the financial choices they’re making,’ said Regina Malina, director of modelling and analytics at Equifax.” “Meanwhile, overall consumer debt, including mortgages, continues to grow. In the third quarter, Canadians owed $1.36 trillion, up from $1.3 trillion a year earlier.  Malina said the data shows that Canadians have more control over their debt — from car loans to credit card purchases — even though debt levels have continued to increase over the past few quarters.  ‘It’s not like we can relax and not pay attention to the pattern because delinquency is low, but the conclusion is that consumers have learned to behave more responsibly,’ she said.” Read the full article here. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS

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