Debt Burden Weighing on Canadians, but Optimism for Financial Future Remains Strong

- 71 per cent of Canadians feel good about their financial future

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TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jun 12, 2017) - (NYSE:EFX)

Note to Editors: There is an infographic associated with this press release.

Millennials and seniors are the most optimistic about their financial futures despite some concern across all age groups about ever-increasing debt obligations, according to a new study released by Equifax Canada®. The survey - designed to measure how different age groups view their financial situations - was conducted by Leger in April 2017.

"At Equifax, we see a lot of financial data but we were curious about the story behind the numbers, so we set out to discover the perceptions, behaviours and attitudes influencing Canadians' financial decisions," said Regina Malina, Senior Director of Decision Insights, Equifax Canada. "We discovered that Canadians tend to be uncomfortable with debt but they're doing their best to manage it and are optimistic about their financial future."

How Canadians feel about their debt

Equifax data shows that overall Canadian consumer non-mortgage debt has increased by 4.2 per cent year-over-year since 2016 and specifically, Canadians aged 65 and older experienced a 17.7 per cent increase in non-mortgage debt over the past three years - the highest among all age groups. But the study reveals some additional insights:

  • 41 per cent of Canadians have seen their debt levels increase over the past three years and of those, more than half (51 per cent) attribute it to their expenses outpacing their income. This number is even higher for people aged 25-34, 59 per cent of whom say their expenses have increased but their income has stayed the same.
  • Of Canadians with debt, 54 per cent are concerned about their ability to pay off their debt. This number goes up to 62 per cent for those with children at home versus those with no children at home (49 per cent).
  • Despite these concerns, most consumers make more than the minimum payment on credit cards and Equifax data consistently shows a very low delinquency rate for Canadians.

The overall financial outlook of Canadians

Generally, the youngest and oldest of the age groups surveyed are most optimistic about their financial future with the group in the middle expressing more reservations:

  • 85 per cent of late Millennials aged 18-24 expressed optimism about their financial future, the most of any age group, followed by those aged 65+ at 79 per cent. The 45-54 age group was the least optimistic at 61 per cent which is also when Equifax data suggests they are carrying the heaviest debt load.
  • 61 per cent of Canadians expect to be financially comfortable in retirement with those aged 18-24 (79 per cent) and those over age 65 (75 per cent) showing the most optimism. The number dips for Canadians 45-54 with only half (50 per cent) expecting financial security in retirement.
  • When asked if their current financial situation is better, worse or the same as what they thought it would be at this stage in their life, 40 per cent of Canadians said it was worse and that number increased for Canadians aged 25-54 (between 47 per cent and 53 per cent)
  • 40 per cent of Canadians feel they didn't receive enough education on financial literacy.

Car and home ownership is still important

Despite societal concerns about rising home prices, Canadians of all ages still agree it's a good investment:

  • 90 per cent of Canadians still believe home ownership is a good investment and 78 per cent of those who don't currently own a home say they want to buy one
  • Home ownership still appeals to younger consumers with 84 per cent of those 18-24 and 87 per cent of those 25-34 saying they want to buy a home one day
  • Despite the appeal, half of Canadians who don't already own a home (51 per cent) said they don't think they'll ever be able to afford one.
  • And 83 per cent of Canadians say owning a car is important. This result also skewed high for younger respondents, with 75 per cent of those 18-24 and 81 per cent of those 25-34 saying car ownership is important.

The survey component of this study was conducted online using Leger's weekly OMNI via LegerWeb, capturing a representative sample of 1,583 Canadians from across the country. A sample of this size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.5 per cent 19 times out of 20.

About Equifax

Equifax powers the financial future of individuals and organizations around the world. Using the combined strength of unique trusted data, technology and innovative analytics, Equifax has grown from a consumer credit company into a leading provider of insights and knowledge that helps its customers make informed decisions. The company organizes, assimilates and analyzes data on more than 820 million consumers and more than 91 million businesses worldwide, and its databases include employee data contributed from more than 6,600 employers.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., Equifax operates or has investments in 24 countries in North America, Central and South America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region. It is a member of Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500® Index, and its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol EFX. Equifax employs approximately 9,400 employees worldwide.

Some noteworthy achievements for the company include: Ranked 13 on the American Banker FinTech Forward list (2015); named a Top Technology Provider on the FinTech 100 list (2004-2015); named an InformationWeek Elite 100 Winner (2014-2015); named a Top Workplace by Atlanta Journal Constitution (2013-2015); named one of Fortune's World's Most Admired Companies (2011-2015); named one of Forbes' World's 100 Most Innovative Companies (2015). For more information, visit www.equifax.com

© 2017, Equifax Canada Co. All rights reserved. All marks appearing herein are trademarks or registered trademarks owned or licensed by Equifax Canada Co.

To view the infographic associated with this press release, please visit the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/1096990.pdf



Andrew Findlater
SELECT Public Relations
afindlater@selectpr.ca
(416) 659-1197
Tom Carroll
Equifax Canada
MediaRelationsCanada@equifax.com
(416) 227-5290