Young Canadians more anxious about debt, more likely to miss a bill payment: Equifax

By Rosa Saba in Toronto

Young Canadians are more anxious about their personal debt and more likely to have missed a bill payment this year, according to Equifax Canada.

“This has been an incredibly stressful time for Canadian households, just managing day-to-day expenses,” said Julie Kuzmic, senior compliance officer of consumer advocacy at Equifax Canada. 

Younger adults “appear to be feeling the financial pinch more acutely than their older counterparts,” the report said. 

In the survey, conducted in September, 36 per centof younger adults reported having missed a bill payment this year, compared with 23 per cent overall.

Meanwhile, 52 per cent of those surveyed between the ages of 18 and 34 are anxious about their personal debt, compared with 39 per cent overall.

The credit reporting agency recently noted Canadians’ credit card debt hit an all-time high in the second quarter, with lower-income households having a harder time reining in their spending. 

“It’s no secret that credit card debt comes at a higher interest rate, and therefore can be more stressful to people who are forced to resort to credit cards in order to meet their daily requirements for living,” said Kuzmic. 

“It certainly isn’t a surprise to see that the anxiety level across Canadians around their personal finances is relatively high. And unfortunately, there is very much likely to be a link between that those higher balances we’re seeing on credit cards and that anxiety that people are feeling.”

Housing is a top concern for Canadians, Equifax Canada said, with three in 10 respondents saying they’ve had to seek additional income in order to cover higher mortgage or rent payments. 

She expects this anxiety will continue to rise, as many households have yet to renew their mortgages at significantly higher interest rates, with the Bank of Canada’s overnight rate now sitting at five per cent.

Almost 20 per cent said they’re in a precarious financial situation and may need to move due to affordability issues. 

The survey found younger Canadians are more likely to look into second or third jobs or ‘side hustles’ in order to meet their financial obligations. 

“A number of people have agreed that higher mortgage or rental payments have forced them to find additional income,” said Kuzmic. 

banner image: The Canadian Press

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