Reducing debt tops
TORONTO—Paying down debt remains the top financial priority of Canadians, although a new poll says slightly fewer have made it their top pick compared with the previous two years.
The poll, conducted for CIBC by Harris/Decima, found that overall 16 percent of respondents said lowering debt was their No. 1 priority for 2014.
However, it was five percentage points better than the 11 percent who said they would focus on building savings, up slightly from 10 percent over the last several years.
Next in order of importance were managing day-to-day spending and getting current bills paid, both selected by eight percent of respondents.
Retirement planning was the top focus of seven percent of those surveyed—the same as last year but down from 11 percent in 2012.
“For the fourth year in a row, Canadians have told us their top financial priority is paying down their debt as we enter a new year,” said Christina Kramer, executive vice-president, retail distribution and channel strategy, at CIBC.
“While the intent to reduce debt is clear, we also know that some Canadians are not yet making the progress they want to on reducing their overall debt levels, which speaks to the importance of having a clear action plan in place to reach your goals in 2014,” she added.
Among other findings, the poll revealed that less than half (47 percent) of Canadians surveyed said they had met with a financial adviser in the last year.
And of those surveyed, only six percent identified debt management as a topic of a conversation they would have with an adviser.
“Despite being top of mind for 2014, many Canadians don’t think about sitting down with an adviser and having a conversation about how to reduce their debt,” Kramer noted.
Although a do-it-yourself approach can work for some people, “most Canadians would benefit from taking a broader view of their finances with an adviser, including looking at their debt and then working out a realistic plan to start repaying that debt over time,” she remarked.
Harris/Decima said the results were gathered from a sample of 2,060 Canadians conducted Oct. 25-Nov. 4.