Nearly half of Albertans worry rising interest rates could lead to bankruptcy: Poll
|calgaryherald.com 21 Jan 2019 at 13:50|
Nearly half of Albertans are concerned that rising interest rates could lead them to bankruptcy, according to a new poll.
In the latest MNP Consumer Debt Index conducted by Ipsos, about two thirds of Albertans also said they’re feeling the effects of rising interest rates. The number of Albertans indicating they’re struggling due to the increased rates umped by 19 points since September, from 45 to 64 per cent.
At 48 per cent, the number of those concerned that rising interest rates could result in bankruptcy was up 14 points since September, the biggest jump in the country over that time frame.
“A large portion of Albertans do not have enough in the budget to make ends meet, let alone address their underlying indebtedness,” Donna Carson, a licensed insolvency trustee with MNP Ltd., stated in a release.
The new poll says the number of Canadians who are $200 or less away from financial insolvency at month-end has jumped to 46 per cent, up from 40 per cent in the previous quarter, as interest rates rise.
The survey conducted in December also found that 31 per cent of Canadians say they don’t make enough to cover their bills and debt payments, up seven per cent from the September poll.
The results released Monday also indicated that 51 per cent of respondents say they are feeling the pinch of interest rate increases, up from 45 per cent a quarter ago.
MNP’s president Grant Bazian says many Canadians have so little wiggle room that any rise in living costs or interest payments can tip them over the edge.
“Many have so little wiggle room that any increase in living costs or interest payments can tip them over the edge,” said Bazian said in a statement. “That’s what we are seeing happen right now.”
Ipsos, which conducts the quarterly poll for MNP, surveyed 2,154 Canadians online from Dec. 7 to Dec. 12.
The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.
Canadians’ finances have come under increased pressure after the Bank of Canada introduced five rate hikes since mid-2017, in response to the stronger economy. Central bank governor Stephen Poloz kept his benchmark interest rate unchanged earlier this month at 1.75 per cent, but has signalled that more rate increases will still be necessary “over time.”
MNP’s latest survey also showed that half of Canadians surveyed said they believe they could be in financial trouble if rates continue to rise, up five per cent from the previous poll.
“Higher interest rates combined with household expenses that outweigh income mean that some are unable to make any kind of meaningful reduction in their debt and, in fact, continue to take on more especially if they encounter unexpected expenses,” Bazian said.
More than six in 10 Albertans expressed concern about their ability to repay debts, also more than any other province, according to the survey. The number of those who said they don’t bring in enough money to cover their bills and debt payments jumped 15 points over the same period to 37 per cent.
More than half of Albertans say they will not be able to cover all living and family expenses in the next year without going into further debt.
“Higher interest rates combined with household expenses that outweigh income make it hard for people to make any kind of meaningful reduction in their debt and, in fact, many continue to take on more especially if they encounter unexpected expenses,” Carson stated.
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