Consumer concerns

A new survey suggests the volatile economy is hitting close to home for Canadians.

Manulife Bank’s semi-annual Financial Healthy Survey, released Wednesday, found that almost 90% of Canadians are concerned about the rising cost of living, and 70% are worried about their overall financial positions.

According to survey results, 84% of Canadians think the country is either already in a recession or heading into one within the next year.

“We’ve been in a period of economic volatility for a number of months, and that it is not likely to change any time soon,” said Alex Lucas, president of Manulife Bank, in a release. “Despite slowing inflation, our data indicate that close to two-thirds of Canadian households still need to renew their mortgages at higher rates, which will undoubtedly put a lot more pressure — and stress — on household finances.”

According to the survey, 85% of people who have to renew their mortgages in the next 12 months are worried about affording payments, while 32% fear they may have to sell their homes if interest rates increase further.

Only 37% of Canadians say they feel financially prepared to weather more interest rate increases.

Additionally, almost half of indebted Canadians are not comfortable with the amount of debt they have, while 79% are increasingly worried about making their debt repayments — an increase of 14 points compared to one year ago.

“While the results of our survey are eye-opening, there are often options available to help free up cash flow, pay down debt and help ease some of the stress,” Lucas said in the release.

Now in its 13th year, the Manulife Bank poll surveyed 2,001 Canadians between ages 20 and 69, weighted by gender, age, region and education, with household incomes of more than $40,000. The poll was conducted online by Ipsos between Oct. 5 and Oct. 11.