Bills Clean Out Canadians' Savings, Says New Poll on Debt

A new Ipsos survey indicates Canadians are sweating more these days about their personal debt, with an increasing number close to being unable to pay the bills every month as higher interest rates start to make an impact.

More than a third of the over 2,000 respondents to an online survey done for the MNP Debt Index reporting having no money left at the end of the month after paying bills and being unable to cover their payments.

In the online survey, conducted by Ipsos in December for insolvency trustee MNP Ltd., nearly half of the Canadians surveyed — 48% — said they are now $200 or less away from not being able to meet their monthly financial obligations.

The 48% figure is eight points higher than the same survey in September.

The survey suggests that households have started to feel the pinch from the Bank of Canada's two interest rate hikes last year and from higher rates from some of Canada's largest banks on both mortgages and lines of credit.

The poll also found that: Canadians have an average of $631 left for discretionary spending at the end of the month once their monthly bills are paid — down 15% from September; nearly half did not think they would be able to cover all living expenses in the next 12 months without going further into debt, and; nearly 40% expressed regret at the amount of debt they have taken on.