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Consumer debt blues brighten slightly

Interest rates are stable and look poised to fall. Inflation is in check. The unemployment rate is at historic lows. We are told wage growth is strong, and households appear to be reducing their debt-load.

Still, many Canadians are worried about making ends meet.

The latest quarterly survey by insolvency trustee MNP suggests 54% of Canadians have growing concerns about their ability to repay their debts. The survey also suggests Canadians have a shrinking amount of money left at the end of the month. Once all the bills are paid the average Canadian has $557.00 to spare. That is down more than $140.00 from the last survey in June. Nearly half of the respondents say they have less than $200.00 left at the end of the month. Of that group, almost one-third say they do not make enough money to cover all of their obligations.

The MNP survey – which tries to track people’s attitudes about their finances – also indicates Canadians are little more upbeat about their situations. Nearly a third say their finances are better than they were a year ago, up by three points. And a similar number say things are better than they were five years ago, a two point increase.

For a growing portion of respondents the future looks even brighter. Nearly 40% believe their debt situation will improve over the next year, up by three points. Half believe things will get better over the next five years, also a three point jump.