Canadians have slightly more debt compared to the same time last year, but more are free of non-mortgage debt, according to a poll by RBC.
The poll shows that Canadians are carrying an average of $13,141 in personal debt, an increase of $84 compared to last year.
Ontario holds the highest debt level at an average of $15,361, while its neighbour to the east, Quebec, holds the lowest at $10,171.
On the positive side, the poll found that the percentage of Canadians not carrying non-mortgage debt has gone up from 22 percent in 2011 to 26 percent this year.
The poll also found that 92 percent of Canadians say that paying down debt is more than or equally as important as saving and investing.
“It’s encouraging that the results show more Canadians have become debt-free over the past year and that those who still have debt want to do more to reduce it,” said Richard Goyder, vice-president of personal lending at RBC.
Anxiety Over Debt
According to the poll, 40 percent of Canadians indicate that they’re comfortable with their current personal debt level, but 34 percent say their debt is causing them anxiety.
Some people are cancelling purchases or plans, such as taking a vacation, due to fear of adding to their debt level.
Residents of Atlantic Canada were found more likely to indicate they are anxious about their debt level, with 42 percent claiming anxiety, compared to the national rate of 34 percent.
The poll also found that over three-quarters of Canadians think they have less debt than their friends and neighbours.
“Whether you feel you’re in good financial shape or facing some challenges, it’s important to have a strategy for managing debt,” said Goyder.
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